Chapter 1: Wants and Needs
By AmyAmy, based on an idea by John Hynden
Maeve plugged Brian’s USB stick into her laptop. She waited for the icon to show up, clicking the refresh button repeatedly. When the drive appeared, the bar said ninety-five percent full. That couldn’t be right. Brian had said the drive was empty, so he must have given her the wrong stick.
She clicked it open and her computer stopped responding. She made a small angry noise. The cursor span, so it hadn’t crashed, or probably hadn’t crashed. Waiting. Waiting. How long could it take? Then, at last, the window filled with image files. The names were jumbles of odd characters and numbers. She scrolled down. A few of the files had something she could recognize, sometimes, women’s names with numbers on the end, sometimes cryptic words or phrases like clear, walk or wetrubber.
Her fingers rested on the track-pad, numb, and distant. She leaned forward, clicked open a file at random. There was a picture of a woman dressed in a shiny black rubber suit. A tight-fitting hood of matching rubber covered her head and face, with minimal openings for her eyes, mouth and nostrils. Her waist was impossibly narrow. She was wearing some kind of corset, as black and shiny as the suit, but it still had to be Photoshopped.
Maeve scrolled to the next image. The same woman again. This time with her hands between her thighs, framing her rubber-covered crotch. The next image showed her fingering herself, through the rubber with her gloved hands. Another, with her feet pulled up, revealing boots with feet like leather ballet shoes. Typical porn shoes, no use for walking about in at all. And after a dozen more images, the subject changed to a different woman. She wore a translucent honey colored rubber suit, and was playing with her nipples, which poked out through little holes in the top. The suit’s zip was padlocked.
Maeve ought to stop looking, this was Brian’s private stuff, and looking at it was like reading his diary. But she had a good reason to investigate. These pictures were a part of his sex life, a part she hadn’t seen before, but it was definitely her business. Wasn’t it?
She kept on scrolling, image after image, woman after woman, act after act. Rarely, there were men in the pictures too. Big, muscle-bound men, all covered in polished black rubber, huge penises in black-rubber-sheaths, never naked. Their members jutted like tree-branches, or were buried in the genitals of a matching rubber-clad woman. The colors were bright and super-saturated. Each tiny patch of exposed flesh looked incongruous next to the glossy rubber that surrounded it. Like human skin spoiled the composition, or simply didn’t belong in that rubber world.
She kept on scrolling. The pictures were eerie in their consistency, the figures invariably enclosed in rubber, and more often than not, the women’s eyes were hidden behind goggles, or a gas-mask, reflective glass lenses making blank circles that gave an inhuman, insectile quality to their appearance. Most of the women wore the impractical ballet boots she’d seen earlier, or conventional stiletto heels that were almost as bad.
The rubber came in a range of colors, black, white, red, blue, green, and translucent brown or yellow. Combinations and variations beyond counting, and yet the outfits all looked the same in some way that she couldn’t identify. The build of the models hardly varied either, with skinny, slender limbs contrasting with their well-rounded hips. Their waists were always cinched or corseted to wasp-like proportions. There was one area where they tended to opposite extremes, some had small, barely noticeable boobs, while others had gigantic dome-like protrusions, more like warheads than anything human. Probably they were intended to be easily recognized as fake. As if that were part of the appeal. Though the woman had breasts of variable sizes, they were always at one extreme or another, never ordinary.
Now and again she’d come across a woman with a few extra accessories, a heavy collar around the neck, immobilizing it and lifting her chin, with a metal-d-ring attached, or metal wrist bands, clipped together, or other metal items, even more restrictive. Some of the hoods lacked eye holes, or a mouth hole, or both. Some were gagged with brightly colored balls. Others were armed with whips. Some wore wrist and ankle cuffs in leather, or heavy rubber, and some wore shiny metal belts with additions that covered the crotch, padlocked in place. Were those chastity belts? Actual metal chastity belts? She’d never realized such a thing even existed.
Despite the differences, despite the huge number of files, there was always something familiar, that connected them all. She couldn’t put her finger on it right away, but it would come to her. These things always did.
She glanced down at the clock. Nearly an hour had passed. When had that happened? She shook herself and backed her chair away from the computer desk.
Brian would be here soon. What would she say to him, after discovering his fetish. If it was actually his? Those images, the faceless woman, inhuman, alien. It didn’t matter who they were underneath that perfect artificial skin. In the pictures they were all the same, not even people. But she could hardly resent that he had stuff like this. All men seemed to enjoy looking at pictures, fixating on images. Maybe they didn’t all like stuff like this, but each was as peculiar in his own way, and if her time in the force had taught her anything, it was that. And Brian, he hadn’t made her look. It was unlikely that he’d wanted her to do it. Unlikely, but not impossible.
The worst case was the least plausible of all.
It’s simply impossible that he’s found out about my past.
* * * * *
Maeve groped the crotch of Brian’s shorts, searching for his balls with her fingers.
He arched his back off the weight-bench, and produced an embarrassingly high-pitched yelp.
Maeve let her hand drop, grinned.
Brian’s eyes were wide, his face flushed. He gasped several breaths before speaking. “Shit. Sorry. Sorry. Didn’t know you were there. Scared the crap out of me.”
Maeve almost laughed, but stopped herself, a compressed snort escaped from her nose. “I shouldn’t have done that. You could have dropped the weights.” It was too hard to look him in the face, what with that lump in his pants to stare at. “I didn’t think. Just couldn’t resist that big beast.”
Brian settled the weight bar onto the rest. “So it’s ok for me to grab you like that?” he said, swinging his legs over the side of the bench.
She brushed her bottom lip with the edge of her teeth, suddenly conscious of her mouth. “Sure. That’s fair. Grab me however you like.” She held her palms at shoulder height and flexed her fingers suggestively as if molesting boobs. “But not at work. Obviously.”
“Obviously,” he said. “I know you have to deal with those guys at work. I’d never do anything to make it worse.” He sat up and leaned towards her. “At least not on purpose.”
The towel she’d wrapped around herself was slipping down her chest, she hitched it back up into place.
“Work.” She sighed. “It is what it is.”
“Fighting the good fight, one day at a time,” he finished for her. They exchanged glances. Traces of a smile were visible around his eyes.
Little beads of sweat were running down his face, down his neck, his shoulders, finding the lines between the muscles, the dips and hollows in the hard landscape of his physique. It would feel wonderful to press herself against him. His body hot from the exercise.
“So, using my weights? You got enough on there?” she said.
“It’s probably a bit light.”
“How many sets?” she said.
“That was the first one, ten reps.” He grabbed the towel hanging over the end of the bench and wiped the sweat off his face, ruffling up his hair into glossy spikes, black and wet.
She laughed, “That’s every weight I own, right there.”
He looked away. “I’m bigger, that’s all.”
The way he’d handled them earlier, he could bench that weight easily.
The towel she’d put on when she came out of the shower was slipping down again. She pulled it off completely and paused to watch his reaction.
He flushed a beautiful red color.
She knelt next to his crotch. It would be nice to run her tongue over those rock-hard thighs of his and taste his sweat.
“Lie back and keep going. Take your time. As long as you’re lifting I’ll keep sucking,” she said.
At first it didn’t seem to register, then his mouth dropped open a bit, snapped closed, then opened again.
“If you can do another three sets of ten, I’ll swallow at the end.”
“You’re joking,” he said.
“As if. Get pumping and I’ll prove it to you.” She gave him a wink. “But if you don’t make thirty more, you have to finish yourself off, and I get to watch you do it, and give directions.”
“I don’t think I can lose here,” he said. He lowered himself back onto the weight bench. “But you don’t have to swallow, unless… you know? Like it?”
He always said things like that. But she did like it. Not the taste, but knowing it was his. Something of his. Admitting that detail would be embarrassing though, she’d rather pretend to like the taste, if it came down to it. Not that she’d ever met a guy who would even ask.
She peeled back his shorts, folding them down, like a collar freshly ironed.
“Well, get pumping,” she said, and wrapped her hand around his shaft. She held it gently, like it was made of brittle glass, but it was nothing like glass, it was firm, but yielding, and hot, and it pulsed and twitched in her hands, alive. The head had escaped from the foreskin and was swollen and purple. It smelled intensely of musk and man sweat.
He lifted the weight bar off the rest. “But if you swallow, you’ve got to let me return the favor. This time.”
The strength went out of her legs. It was a good thing she was kneeling down, and had something solid to hold on to. “It’s a deal,” she said. He’d never gone down on her before. But her fantasy had been him asking to do it, and now he had.
* * * * *
Maeve stared up at the ceiling. There was a cobweb, so old and dusty that it couldn’t possibly be inhabited. She’d never noticed it before, and yet, there it was, right above her head. How had she managed not to notice it until now?
“Hey, is this not working for you?” Brian’s voice was muffled, coming from between her thighs.
“No. No. It’s fantastic. You’re doing great,” she said. But he wasn’t, and perhaps, she shouldn’t have let him ‘return the favor’, as he put it, after she’d swallowed his ejaculation. But he’d made his bench press target, and she’d finished him off. It was really sweet that he wanted to do something in return. Her fantasy, in fact. But maybe fantasy and reality were too far apart?
He peered over the top of her hips. “You’re sure?”
She looked back, and their gazes met. She smiled. Could he spot the lie? The fake smile? It was all reflex, she hadn’t been able to stop herself.
He grinned. “You taste great.”
“When did you get so good at this?” she said. “I thought you said this was the first time you’ve done it?”
“Beginner’s luck, I guess,” he said.
“Don’t stop. You promised me an orgasm.”
He laughed. “Yes, ma’am.” She sensed his amusement was as fake as her smile, trying to cover nerves. Failing. It hadn’t occurred to her that male performance anxiety could extend to more than a penis.
This might take a while.
Maeve let her head flop back. There was the cobweb again. It would be embarrassing if Brian noticed it. So untidy.
She had to help him, get him past his nerves. If she didn’t, then it would become a thing, and then the thing would lead to arguments, and the arguments would leads to fights, and then they’d start to avoid each other, making excuses not to meet up, and that would be that, the end. So she had to help him, had to build his confidence. Somehow.
She faked a moan, then whispered, “Up a little bit.”
He shifted his tongue, pressing on her clit. It was better.
She moaned again, almost for real this time. Only half fake. “Oh yes, that’s the spot. Right there.”
It was like bondage without the restraints. Lingering frustration, clinging to the edge, no control, unable to do what was needed to orgasm when she wanted, unable to do anything but wait and hope? And with no way to end it. Like a roller-coaster, locked in until the end of the ride.
Whatever he was doing, it was certainly focusing her mind on the idea of an orgasm. She’d never wanted one quite this much in a while, but as for getting there? Maybe later, when she had his wonderful penis inside her.
The image of the steel chastity belt popped into her head. It had been so tight. The wearer would be constantly reminded of what they couldn’t have, had given somebody else control. Locked in, until the end of the ride.
She could end this farce whenever she wanted, however she wanted. She could get her orgasm, the way she wanted. But Brian was more than a human dildo. He wanted to do this for her, and it was her fantasy, one that she’d been clinging onto for months. Wasn’t this romantic? Wasn’t building real love more important than a single orgasm?
Instead, curiously, the act of deciding that she would let him stay in control, was exciting in itself. Not him being in control, but her decision. The decision was the thrill. How odd. If her mind was made up, it was no different to a physical restraint. It was all up to him. She was feeling considerably wet, even if his efforts at cunnilingus were inconsistent.
She moaned, plunged herself into the sensation. He didn’t need to know it was from frustration, not pleasure. He didn’t need to know it was the thrill of her own choice holding her stronger than chains.
She lifted her head again. “This feels selfish. I’m afraid you’ll get bored down there. You want to sixty-nine?” All she could see of him over her propped-up hips was the top of his head.
“No. This should be about you, about your pleasure. You worry too much about everyone else. It’s ok to put yourself first for once.”
Maeve swallowed, a lump in her throat. “Sorry.” She let her head fall back onto the mattress, thoughts spinning.
He started again, this time his mouth was covering her sex, clamped onto her with suction, his tongue found her clit.
Much better. Sure, he’s doing everything he can to be more attentive to my needs, except he didn’t ask me what I really needed. He probably read something on the Internet about what women want, and ignored the bit about asking them first. Hasn’t figured that the asking itself might be the part they want most.
There was something she’d seen again and again. Men didn’t ask what you wanted very often. Mostly, they tried to make you do things. Persuading, cajoling, bullying. They’d do whatever it took, as long as they got their way.
What she wanted just now was his penis inside her, his lips on hers, his fingers rough on her breasts, his solid muscular body crushing her beneath him. Ironically, he probably wanted that too. But he hadn’t asked.
There was nothing for it. This was the first time she’d ever had to fake it with Brian, the first time. Just once wasn’t so bad. What would really be a bother was if she had to make a habit out of it.
She bucked her hips and gave a big moan. “Oh wow. Right there. Right there. Do it like that.” It wasn’t as if she was lying completely, he’d done pretty well just then. He just needed to… “Harder. Do it harder.”
A twinge in her belly. It wasn’t bad. It would help if he could suck her nipples too, but that was physically impossible with just one Brian. There was nothing in the personal rules she’d just made about her doing it though, was there? Well, she couldn’t reach her nipples with her tongue. Her boobs were too small and her tongue wasn’t grotesquely long, but she could still use her hands.
If only he had the skills to turn her to jelly with his mouth, play her like an instrument, make her beg, plead, whimper, writhe in desperation. Wasn’t that how she was supposed to feel? At least he was trying.
She tickled her nipples with her finger-tips, but she was past that, there was nothing for it but to take a firm grasp and squeeze hard. Pinching her nipples between thumb and forefinger, the pain was also pleasure. She squeezed tighter, didn’t let go.
Brian was getting better. Gradually. She was really wet now, and he must have noticed. Maybe it had boosted his confidence and that had made him better too.
Her next moan wasn’t fake, but there was something self-conscious about it. It was going to be a while, but she would get an orgasm from this if it killed her.
* * * * *
Maeve let the last vestiges of the little orgasm wash over her, clinging on to it as it faded to nothing. After a weak one like that, she would have no problem having another soon. Maybe even a big one.
“Please, Brian. I need you inside me,” she said.
Down between her legs, he lifted his head up, grinned. It had been worth enduring a little frustration, worth a little make-believe, to see that grin. She was grinning like an idiot herself. He shimmied into place on top of her, then lowered himself, pinned her down with his weight.
“I want to get inside you too,” he said. “But I can’t do it before giving those cute little nipples of yours the proper attention they deserve.”
He arched his body, dipped his head down and took her left nipple between his lips. No teeth. More sweet frustration. Hey? Had he been doing that on purpose after all?
She grabbed hold of his rock-hard quads and squeezed. His muscles were amazing. She could do whatever she wanted to him without being afraid of hurting him. Her finger nails were too short to dig in, and she wasn’t strong enough to hurt him otherwise. He was a lot bigger than her. Stronger, yes, but sweet too. Just like now, he was handling her forcefully, but with a gentle touch that made her melt. She ought to treasure this sweetness.
First one nipple, and then the other, and she was just about ready to beg him to put his penis in already, and then he sucked practically her whole boob into his mouth at the same time as he slid into her. She gasped. No need to fake it, and she hadn’t meant to do it, but it sounded like somebody else, a sharp girlish sound.
As always, his penis was everything she could wish for. It was hard to breathe, his weight on top of her, the wonderful scent of him thick, like an aphrodisiac, thick enough to drown in, but one hundred percent natural.
It wasn’t long before they came together, and as usual he slumped on top of her as soon as he was done.
She shoved him off with a laugh. “Don’t you dare go to sleep on top of me.”
“I’m not sleeping,” he mumbled.
He nuzzled her ear, then whispered. “Goddammit Maeve, I love you. So damn much.”
“That so? I love you more. But you’re too perfect. I’m not sure I deserve you.”
He laughed. “No. I’m the unworthy one.”
“You weren’t imagining me in rubber were you?” She gave a low chuckle, just in case he didn’t guess she was trying to get a rise out of him.
“What? Why would I imagine that?” His voice was tight and high. Was the tense electric feeling between them coming from him, or her?
“That memory stick you gave me. That was your collection, right?”
“What the fuck?” Anger in his voice, irritation in his eyes, it radiated off him like in a cartoon, impossible to ignore.
She put her hand on his chest, stopping him from sitting up. “Don’t worry. Don’t worry,” she said. “I didn’t know it was private until it was too late. I’m sorry.”
He gave a long sigh, like a collapse. “How could I have made such a stupid mistake?”
“No. It’s your business. I shouldn’t have looked. I really am sorry.”
He shook his head. “I wish you hadn’t. I’m such an idiot. You’re disgusted with me, right? I know it looks bad. Looks… But it’s just a…” He closed his eyes, massaged his temples with his hand.
“Disgusted? I see actual disgusting things. Every day. And you are nothing like that. The only thing I’m a bit put out by is that you might be wasting time and effort wanking off when you could be giving me a big stiff one.” She’d prepared for this, but it had gone wrong. She’d made a mistake. Probably. “Look at me. Do I look disgusted? Outraged?” she said. “No. Aren’t I kind of pathetic? Jealous of a jay-peg.”
He didn’t look at her. “I feel guilty. The women in those pictures, at least some of them were exploited. Had to be. And I knew it, and I collected them anyway. You, of all people, aren’t you furious? Don’t I make you sick?”
If she said no, would he believe her?
She sighed, shook her head. “It is what it is. Consenting adults, who probably got paid for some photographic work. Some of them might have a few self-esteem issues, but they’re a long way down my list of people that need saving. People do worse things on Friendface just to get clicks.”
“Even so. I know there’s something a bit seedy about wanking off in front of a computer. But… I know it’s hard to believe, but I haven’t looked at them since we got together. I’d forgotten they were on there.”
“It’s none of my business,” she said.
A bit seedy? He would have done better not to suggest that image. And she didn’t believe him, but saying so wouldn’t help. Couldn’t help. Maybe there was a better reality where she’d avoided this conversation altogether. A part of her had wanted him to say she’d look fantastic in one of those rubber outfits. Why was she so consistently awful at social situations that other women seemed to handle effortlessly? Was there some part of her essential feminine credentials that was missing?
He reached for her hand. “You shouldn’t have had to see those pictures. They’re not something I’m proud of, but I really am moving on from that.”
“If there are things you need from me, that you want from me, that you’re not getting. Please ask, at least. Please?”
“You might have seen some sort of … bondage … pictures. I’m definitely not into that. I only had them in there because of the rubber.”
She kissed him on the cheek, and then a second time. “It is what it is,” she said.
He returned the kiss, on her lips.
She broke away, took a deep breath. “You’re turning me on, lover boy. Let’s go again. Now.”
He sighed, rolled over, picking up his phone from the nightstand. “I know it sounds like a rejection. I wish I could stay. I want you more than ever.” He gestured down towards his crotch. “Check if you want.” He paused, sighed quietly, continued. “I can’t stay tonight, and I won’t be in until after lunch either.”
“What? I need you here to keep my brains fucked out. Sorry. I mean safe at night.”
Brian laughed, practically spraying through his nose. “Me? Keep you safe? More likely the other way around.”
“But you’re so big, so strong.” Maeve gave a big cheesy fake grin. “So manly.” Her grin cracked into a laugh.
“Yeah. That’s funny. I’m not the one who teaches the self-defence classes, or runs the marathons,” he said. He paused, looking at her in a way that demanded she meet his gaze. “Anyway. I have an interview tomorrow, for a job outside the division.”
Had she heard right?
For a few seconds, there was nothing but a kind of empty ringing noise in her head. It was replaced by an odd feeling in her chest, like her heart had stopped beating.
She’d been waiting, hoping for this, for weeks, months. Now it was happening.
It had to mean he was planning to stay with her, that he understood her career was important. Unless she’d misunderstood. She hadn’t misunderstood had she?
“Somewhere nearby though?” she said, trying to sound nonchalant.
He put down his phone, turned to look directly at her.
“Of course. It has to be close. I know you’d never ask me to leave the division, but it is what you want isn’t it?”
“Yes, but I didn’t ask because it’s not up to me. I don’t want you to do anything you’d regret.”
“Nah. It’s not a big deal. And if I don’t get this one, which I probably won’t, I’ll keep looking. So we can be together. Properly. Without any work awkwardness,” he said. “I mean, eventually. I don’t suppose I’ll find a job overnight.”
She pulled an exaggerated sour face.
“But soon. Soon.” He laughed.
He was going to get a job outside the division. He was really doing it. He did so much for her, but did she do enough for him? Did she really deserve this? Her eyes were stinging from an urge to cry. Was this what people called tears of happiness? Whatever it was, she couldn’t let him see. She blinked, swallowed, repeated. Started to count.
Ten. She couldn’t let him see how much this meant. Then he’d feel obligated and she’d feel guilty. Neither of them would be happy.
Nine. But she had to say something.
Eight. And if he found a new job, she’d have to do something special to thank him.
Seven. But what could she do? She had some money saved, maybe they could go on holiday?
Six. And did this mean that he was ready to move in with her? Was she ready to move in with him? She’d probably have to give up her flat.
Five. But it would be ok, they could get somewhere bigger together. Somewhere nice.
Four. And that meant…
Three. But he was looking at her, expecting something.
Two. And she hadn’t thought of anything to say.
She breathed in deeply. “Good luck. Let me know how it goes,” she said. Her words tumbled over the top of each other, coming out stiff and insincere, though they weren’t.
He leaned over, kissed her on the forehead. She pulled him closer, it was her turn to respond with a kiss on the lips. It would be nice to stay like this. Nice to not let go.
When she finally allowed him to break the kiss, he got out of bed like he was making a dash for it, dressed, left, all with barely a word.
He’d probably been afraid that she wanted to talk it over.
* * * * *
Alone, Maeve sat up in bed, staring at her reflection, distorted in the mirrored wardrobe doors. She inspected the little wrinkles creeping in around her eyes, pulled the skin back and compared the difference. She was still in good shape, wasn’t she? She’d be thirty next year, but there were still no traces of gray in her auburn hair, her green eyes were still clear and bright, her pale skin, with its dark freckles still firm to the touch. No cellulite on her thighs, lean from running. Her bust wasn’t at much risk of sagging, a B-cup at most, no sign of it losing to gravity yet, and her waist… It was probably still twenty-two inches. Her jeans weren’t any tighter, so it couldn’t have got much bigger, could it?
I’ve aged well. I think. But nobody would mistake me for a teenager. Those days are gone.
Some girls she’d gone to school with had children now, children already at school themselves. If she wanted to be a mother, she ought to have started already, while the risks were low. She shouldn’t dwell on it. She’d chosen work instead. People said that was alright, and she read articles telling her it was fine. It didn’t make her cold or selfish. It didn’t mean she was dead inside, and not a proper woman. She wasn’t rich, not wealthy enough to have it all, work and a family. To succeed at her job, compromise was impossible. She had to be one-hundred percent focused.
Besides, there’d just never been a guy she wanted to have children with, and it wasn’t her fault if they’d always been something wrong with them. The phrase “maternity leave” meant death in her line of work. They never came back, or if they did, they didn’t stay long after being pushed down into dead-end admin jobs. Jane had put on weight, and they’d used that as an excuse to keep her behind a desk. Carrie had a C-section. Major surgery. Doomed. She’d needed months of extra time off, and of course, they’d made her redundant before she could come back, despite being against the guidelines. At least she’d got a payout.
She turned off the bedside light, lay down, and tried to sleep again. The women in Brian’s porn collection weren’t having sex. At least most of them weren’t. And most of them weren’t with men either, so what exactly made it pornography? She couldn’t put her finger on it, and yet, there was obviously something, or several somethings. It was self evidently porn. They were instantly recognizable as wank material. Those pictures had been made for men, and only for men, and somehow, anyone could tell.
They weren’t exactly fashion ads, but the rubber outfits made the models look so sleek, slender and fit. She couldn’t compete with that inhumanity. Sometimes two women were together, close, in some vaguely suggestive way. Though they were rarely doing anything specifically erotic, she felt excluded somehow.
I’m pretty sure that when I wore rubber, I just looked silly, not sexy.
Brian had never directly asked her to wear anything like the clothes in those pictures, though there’d been times he’d commented admiringly on celebrities in rubber fashion outfits. He hadn’t wanted her to see the pictures. No, he wasn’t a manipulative man. If he’d planned it, it had been subtle, by his standards. And tonight, he’d fulfilled two of her fantasies. Given her exactly what she wanted. He was getting a job outside the division, so would it be unfair of her not to give him something in return? Was she being dense now, not understanding that there was some long-planned implicit bargain that he thought she’d agreed to? Or was he oblivious to it? Was it just in her head?
Maybe she shouldn’t have mentioned the pictures. Had she in some way created the impression of an exchange, where no idea of one had existed before? By mentioning the files when he’d planned to raise the issue of changing job… Had she bound the two things together? Was it her way of manufacturing an excuse to wear rubber again?
Did she even need an excuse? It wasn’t as if she would mind doing it. That wasn’t the problem. If Brian wanted to do it, she would be happy for his happiness. She wanted to do things for him. Ached to do them, but wasn’t she too old for this? To feel like a dizzy teenager? But it wasn’t as if she was able to do much for him, usually, and more often than not, it was as if the relationship was skewed in her favor.
But the idea of it being a deal? That made is dirty. The idea that it was some sort of devilish bargain tainted everything.
Ridley had wanted her to wear rubber, and she’d done it for him. Or not just for him, it had been fun. Up to a point. But that had been a long time ago, and she’d been younger and skinnier then, more naïve… Insecure. Eager to please. She’d liked the way she’d looked in the rubber, like the way it had made her flat chest irrelevant. But she’d never been sexily pornographic, like those pictures, and it had always been a bother to get on and off, to look after, and God forbid that Ridley wash all of that rubber stuff, dry it, talc it, put it away himself. He only liked to polish the suits while they were wearing them. Her toes would wrinkle up from the pooling sweat.
The heating had gone off at some point, and the room had turned cold. After sitting and stressing, the sweat had turned into a chill on her skin, and she was stiff all over. She stood up and stretched. Her back ached. She’d been so relaxed after they’d made love, all of her joints loose. She should have got back under the covers.
She wrapped herself in a bathrobe, and walked into the living area, where some warmth lingered. The television was still on, sound down, a Victorian costume drama showing on the hundred-inch wall-screen. She gestured for the sound to turn back up. It didn’t work. She grumbled wordlessly under her breath, resisting the urge to curse technology that never seemed to work right.
“Television, increase volume,” she said.
The green volume bar flickered for a moment, and the sound returned.
What would she wear for Brian? One of those rubber cat suits? Not black for him, but some other color, something pretty. White? White would be good, but with no hood, no mask, and pink trim. Not unless he asked for them. There was something a bit sinister about the insect women, with their gas-mask-snouts and glittering circles of glass for eyes. They didn’t seem human, instead, silent, secretive ghost-beasts, living some delicate and intensely private existence, briefly glimpsed, always beyond reach, somewhere through through the looking-glass barrier of the computer screen. She couldn’t get into their world, no matter what mask she wore.
But that was because it wasn’t real.
The girls in the pictures created the illusion of steamy romance, sultry submission, holding each other by the zipper tag, or caressing matching padlocks, but that was all it was, an illusion, a trick, performed for profit. Romance, illusion, edgy sex-games, one thing blended into another. The porn had a taint to it, but even so, it was still fun to play a game, to pretend, to dress up as something, to be someone or something else for a while. She’d never thought about how it might look from the outside before. Or she had, and she’d shut those thoughts down.
She’d never imagined herself looking like the women in those pictures, but wasn’t that exactly what she’d been for Ridley? When he’d begged her to whip and dominate him, or when he’d locked her into a suit, or gagged her and chained her to the bed, it had always been a game, a now-and-then thing, nothing but make-believe. It had been fun, but it hadn’t been important, it hadn’t defined them. It had been a huge turn-on to be cuffed in some awkward position, immobile, while Ridley masturbated looking at her. They had always taken turns. It hadn’t seemed like he was taking advantage, at least not in that way, not the sexual part.
It was also over. So completely over. Years ago. She’d hadn’t done anything like that with anyone since. What had he seen when she’d dressed up for him? Who had his relationship been with? Her? Or the fantasy girl he saw in the rubber suit? Her face hidden behind a mask, a mystery he’d manufactured for himself. It could have been anyone. How could she have missed it at the time? How could she not have known?
She slid her hand inside the robe and began to finger herself. Touching her bits felt wrong without Brian. Sad and selfish. She should leave herself wanting, get her satisfaction only from him. She stopped, took her hand out of her crotch, pulled the robe around herself and tugged the belt tight. Her fingers were dry, but they still smelled faintly of arousal, an unpleasant, stale sweaty odor, like an unwashed armpit. It was so sweet of Brian to pretend to enjoy the taste and smell of her secretions when she knew they weren’t nice at all. Not like his delicious musky penis scent.
The male lead in the Victorian drama seemed to be dying of consumption, and was taking too much laudanum. Maeve caught herself in the middle of an almighty yawn.
It was rubbish. The lead was just going to die anyway. If she let herself get interested it would only be annoying when he expired, exactly as predicted. She was probably supposed to wonder what would happen to the pregnant heroine afterwards, but it was too hard to like her.
She told the screen to turn itself off and went to wash her hands.
story continued in part 2