I feel Lady Heather enter the room, even though her steps make little noise: it is as if the very air has become charged with a current that now dances over my skin. She commands me to stand and I do, and then the cuffs I wear are attached to the chains in the ceiling, and I hear her move toward her tools. My whole body tightens, but I work at keeping my breathing even.
This is only the beginning.
I can feel her move close to me – not so much a physical presence, but an aura of heat.
“I need your safe-word Sofia. You know I don’t proceed without it.”
This is new.
She has never asked me to repeat my signal since that first night, and the request brings into sharp relief the turmoil that rages in my heart and my mind tonight – the turmoil that brought me here.
I had dared to hope, just for a moment, that Sara and I could truly build something, but her reaction to seeing this part of me was too strong, and I felt the tentative bond shatter.
Her name was my safety once; now, it only brings me more pain.
“I need to hear it Sofia.”
“You know what it is,” I stall.
I could simply choose another word. I know this, and yet, somehow, I can’t; I can’t sever that last, possibly futile connection between us, even if she never knew it existed.
The impact of The Lady’s hand burns my cheek and throws my head sidewise. I feel the sting of it settle through my skin and move out into my blood.
It feels good.
However much others might not understand, this is a part of me – of who I am. As much a part of me as my feelings for a dark haired, dark eyed enigma of a woman who has somehow managed to carve a permanent place in my heart, without my knowledge or consent.
“Sidle,” I exhale; still treasuring the feel of her name on my lips despite the knife it buries in my heart.
There may well be a time in the future when that word no longer holds any meaning for me, but that time is not now.
The silence after I speak has a weight to it that I can’t interpret, blindfolded as I am, but I’m not allowed to dwell on it as I feel the touch of something stiff against my shoulder. Riding crop, my mind supplies, as something low in my abdomen cramps with need and my shoulders tighten in anticipation.
“Sidle,” she breathes, and from her lips it sounds like a prayer.
My mind, my body are numb, too shocked for coherence at this revelation. Even I know the kind of significance a safe-word can carry.
Me, her safety was…is, me. And I ripped that away
I feel a gaze on me, and look up to find Lady Heather’s eyes holding a terrible weight of knowledge – a weight I am not sure I’m strong enough to bear.
She turns away from me then – the artist focusing again on her canvas - and I am forgotten.
I turn away from Sara: frozen in the corner by her own shock - and if I am any judge (which I am) - growing arousal. She isn’t truly aware of it yet, but she will be, and until then, her own emotional turmoil will hold her silent.
I haven’t had an audience for a very long time, and I take a moment to adjust to the concept. I admit it feels good – having someone to appreciate your work, even if they don’t understand the fullness of what I am creating. And Sofia is a canvas worthy of a Master. I have never accepted payment from her. To touch that porcelain skin and feel the shift of her muscles beneath me, hearing the song of her cries and beholding her responses is like seeing a Da Vinci or hearing Chopin for the first time: something the exchange of money should not taint.
I appreciate too, that she hides nothing from me. Whatever place she carves for herself in her everyday life, when she walks through those doors, she is mine. There is no subterfuge in her soul and no lie in her sky blue eyes. Her trust in me is absolute and it takes my breath away. Like the most finely trained of all horses, she submits to my will because only because she wishes to do so, and I make her body respond in ways no one else could conceive of.
I admit I was surprised the first time she asked to touch me. I rarely let my clients have such privileges. But Detective Sofia Curtis is far from simply another client, so I gave permission, and have never regretted it. It has made the connection between us that much more powerful, and she is one of the best lovers I have ever had – not because of skill, but because of acceptance. I know, when I look in her eyes, that she sees me and only me; not some phantom of another person or who she might wish me to be. Even lately, when I knew that she was pursuing her co-worker and her body spoke of pleasure and contentment, her eyes were clear and I could see only myself in them.
Tonight though, I sensed something different. Tonight when she strode through my door I could see pain, anger, longing and loss, all chasing themselves across her features. I imagine others would have seen only stoicism, what her colleagues would call a “cop face,” but this is my gift – to see what others cannot - and so I knew she was hurting, and when Sara walked through the door, I knew why.
Sara Sidle. What a wonderful challenge; so terribly wounded, but marvelously driven to do right. It is for souls like hers that I do what I do. I wonder briefly what she would feel like beneath my fingertips, but I push the thought away. Speculation on such things is irrelevant in this instance.
I can feel her dark gaze now, and I know that if I were to turn and look, those beautiful chocolate eyes would be nearly black. It makes me smile, just a little. I can feel too, the desperate wish for connection she has, despite the aura of wariness and aloofness she wraps around her like a suit of armor. She and Sofia share that. I can see the patterns and threads of connection stretching between them, though they are hopelessly tangled and on the verge of tearing.
I don’t want that to happen, but it will take a great deal of skill to do this correctly, so I return my focus to the woman restrained in front of me.
I can’t help the anticipation that sweeps through me and I close my eyes momentarily to savor it.
I take a breath, centering myself, and then I begin.
“Why are you here Sofia?” she asks, and my mind reels, for a moment off balance at the turn in her actions. Never before has she asked me for anything other than what I want – and that only at the moment before I surrender to her.
The crop strikes my back and I jerk, gasping not at the impact, but at the stain of heat that spreads immediately from the site of the blow. Bright red light cascades behind my eyes and I feel the first ripples of the inevitable endorphin rush.
As always, she knows just how hard to hit.
“Answer me Sofia, why are you here?” she asks again.
Still unsure, I try, “I don’t understand,”
Slap! “Yes you do,” she replies dispassionately. “Now tell me.”
“For you,” I try.
Nothing happens for a moment, and then I feel the warm leather of her gloved hand stroke my leg, teasing my thighs apart.
Just as I feel the blood begin to pound at my core and begin the slide into a fog of sensual pleasure, her hand vanishes and she speaks again.
“Why are you here?”
Shock is like a hook that yanks me from my bliss. I thought I answered her.
A whisper of a suspicion chases through my mind, but I push it away. Not yet. I’m not ready to admit that yet.
Slap…slap! This time it is both my hips.
“Because I needed you,” I answer without thinking this time, and this time I am rewarded. This time her hand strokes my breast, cupping it and flicking across my nipple, which strains, pebbling at her touch even as I force myself not to arch into her hand.
“Why did you need me?”
Breathing raggedly, I try to think with a mind that is damn close to being overloaded.
Slap…slap…slap! Both shoulders and my back again.
“Why did you need me?” there is only mild curiosity in her voice.
“Because I needed this,” I choke out.
Her hand returns to my thighs and she strokes higher this time, so close to my need that I can feel the heat of her hand through the leather of her glove on my sex. It tears a moan from between my teeth.
Between the dull stinging, spreading stain of fire across my skin, the endorphins and the arousal, I can feel myself weakening: the emotions that I have held in check since Sara’s words hit me now starting to work free from my eroding control.
“Why did you need this?” she asks, and when I don’t answer fast enough…
Slap, slap, slap! Back, butt, thighs.
“Because I was hurting,” I nearly cry, and am rewarded. She doesn’t tease, just touches me. She strokes the length of me, slipping in to part my wet, painfully engorged flesh and ease one finger inside of me. Her touch is skillful and knowing and she moves with cruel deliberation to drive me toward the edge.
My head falls back and I can feel the coil of my orgasm building low in my belly, but she isn’t through with me yet, and her touch is suddenly taken away.
I want to scream in frustration.
“Why did you need this?”
“I needed to hurt,” I cry, no longer able to think. Before her cruelty and her mercy, I can no longer hide.
Her hand goes again to my breast, soothing, cupping, stroking.
“Why did you hurt?” her voice is softer now, coaxing.
My throat closes and I am unable to answer.
Slap, slap, slap, slap, slap!
She strikes my shoulders and down my back, each blow building on the last – a crescendo of raw sensation; of stinging pain and spreading heat and waves of endorphins that explode in a wash of white/red bursts behind my eyes and send fire through my skin to sear my blood.
It breaks something in me.
“She hurt me. She hates that I need this, that it’s a part of me. I disgust her, and I lost her.”
The words carry away the last of my will and I hang in my chains, broken and empty inside. My head falls forward and a curious calm steals over me, as though I have crossed some great crevasse and now wait on the other side - one trial over - neither knowing nor caring what is to come.
And then I feel her touch.
The Lady has taken off at least one of her gloves, and now her hand moves across my body in sure, quiet strokes. Like a finely tuned instrument to its master, my body responds to her, and with her touch comes memory.
I remember the feel of hands and her mouth on me.
I remember the sounds of approval she makes and the weight of her voice when she tells me I am beautiful.
I remember the look in her eyes when she touches me.
I remember the look in her eyes when I touch her.
All this plays behind my eyes as her hands – one still gloved – play across my body, and I know she can read what I am feeling.
“What is her name?”
“Sara,” I breathe.
“And do you love her?” she asks quietly.
The question gives me pause, but I take the time to consider it, knowing that there is no hurry now.
I think about the way I feel when I’m around her, what her simplest touch does to my body. I think about the way her voice warms me even when all we are doing is trading case information at the darkest crime scenes. But mostly I think about the searing, gut wrenching pain I felt when I saw the disgust and fear bleed into her eyes as I tried to explain the bruises on my wrists.
“Yes,” I say. “I love her.”
“Even though she rejects that which is a part of you?”
“That doesn’t make me love her less. It just means I hurt more.”
“Then she is a fool,” she says, and I have the oddest feeling that she isn’t actually talking to me for a moment, and then she kisses me, and I stop caring.
“Yes, I love her.”
I feel like I have been punched in the gut: like someone has ripped my heart out and its bleeding on the floor in front of me.
I thought that earlier…God, was it only tonight? that I could never feel any worse than at the moment when Lady Heather held my face in her hands and tore my secret fear from me.
I was wrong
I look at the woman hanging exhausted in the chains and realize, with terrible clarity, what I threw away. It nearly makes me sick.
I’m so caught up in my regrets and self loathing that I nearly miss what Lady Heather says next, but I hear Sofia’s reply and then the Lady is looking directly at me; pinning me again with a liquid steel glare.
“Then she is a fool,” she throws at me, and I know she is right.
Lady Heather turns away and walks to her tool rack, selecting something I can’t see and then she is back, and I watch with a choking mix of grief, pain, and growing fascination as she slips wicked, curved metal claws over the tips of 4 of her fingers. She flexes her hand and the gleaming steel winks in the flickering candlelight.
She looks at me, her eyes glowing with cold radiance, and I am reminded of a jungle cat. It makes me tremble.
Then the Lady leans in and kisses Sofia, and my throat closes: from longing or regret, I can’t decide.
“She is a fool. You are magnificent Sofia. Never forget that, and never feel shame in yourself.”
This is directed at the bound woman, but she turns to me as she says it, flexing her fingers again and commanding me with her eyes.
“Watch,” she seems to say. “Watch what could have been yours.”
And so I watch. I watch her dark leather clad hand against the pale perfection of Sofia’s skin. I watch the candlelight flicker and shimmer on that same skin as muscle and sinew shift and strain beneath it, creating patterns of warmth and shadow.
I watch as the sharp metal claws pierce that skin and the glistening drops of deepest red well up in their wake; some beading and others slipping gently downward, like bloody tears.
Into the emptiness left in me by Lady Heather’s words and my own revelations now floods arousal and longing: a wanting so fierce and primal that at any other time in my life I might have run from it terrified. Now I just accept it. I am overwhelmed with the desire to lick that blood away: to taste the hot copper taste of Sofia’s life-force and the warm satin of her skin. I want to know what she feels like under my hands, what sounds she might make if I were the one touching her, and as I hear Sofia gasp out a plea for Lady Heather to touch her, I understand. I understand that this isn’t about pain and cruelty - though as the lady says, it can be – its about pleasure and power and trust and all those subtle, terrifying, wonderful intangibles that were gifted to humans by whatever Power one chooses to believe in.
The Lady tilts her head, considering Sofia, and I see her smile – a smile that only tightens the painful, pounding ache between my legs.
“Never forget that, and never feel shame in yourself,” she commands, and then my mind is wiped clean with the cleansing bright light of pain as she pierces the skin of my shoulder blade with something cold and hard.
It is not the rose, which even in its penetration of my skin felt natural. This is different. This is alien and unyielding. Then another star of pain explodes in the darkness behind my eyes, the heat of the wound emanating from right next to the first. I realize she is using the claws, and as she ads a third and then a fourth claw, I am unable to realize anything more.
My world narrows to those tiny wounds – each one flaring white hot than fading to a dull, pulsing red as she works her way slowly down my back.
Each one throws the waves of endorphins higher, until I am gasping for breath and the blood pounding in my ears is the only thing I hear.
Just when I think I will loose myself, the cold, lancing metallic pain of the claws disappears. I concentrate on breathing – forcing my chest to rise and fall beneath the crushing tide of sensations. Only the chains and my restraints anchor me, and I feel my head fall back as I sag in them, trusting my bonds to hold me.
Those bonds are soon struck however, and my whole body tingles in anticipation of what is to come.
Sure enough, I am pushed backward to land on the bed and once again fastened securely by wrists and ankles, totally open and exposed to my Lady. My body’s response is unavoidable… and delicious. I tense against the chains, shoulders and thighs tightening and abdomen cramping with pure, unrestrained want.
I am given no time to rest though, as I feel her settle across me – straddling my hips - and the claws return. Scraping this time, they tease across my collar bone and along the exposed line of my throat. I feel them whisper across the pounding pulse point in my neck and my breath catches, my body suddenly tense, but they merely continue their journey.
Along the curve of my jaw they move, and the tiniest line of heat flares as they scrape across my cheek before heading downward.
At that moment, I feel another hand on me; this one clad only in warm leather. It mirrors the actions of its twin, and when the claws scrape across the top of my breast, teasing around the straining peak, her gloved hand attaches something cold to it and pulls.
Sizzling, crackling electricity races from my nipple; charging through my body and slamming into the pressure between my legs. It tears a moan from me as my back arches off the bed, increasing the strain on my limbs.
Somewhere far distant, I think I might have heard someone else gasp, but as Lady Heather attaches second clip to my other nipple and pulls, all other awareness is lost in the brilliant wash of excruciating pleasure/pain that leaves me unable to breathe.
Just when I think I can’t take any more, the clamps are taken away, and replaced by the hot, wet satin of her mouth. She takes first one aching tip, than the other, laving them with her tongue and sucking just hard enough to make me whimper. I arch into her touch and she obliges by blowing softly where her mouth had been. The cool air is soothing on the abraded flesh, but it makes my nipples pebble even tighter and I nearly growl in frustration. I want her to touch me, but I know better than to beg – not unless she commands it. If I do, she will only prolong my torture.
Not that I would really complain.
She seems to know I am at the end of my endurance however, because she begins to move lower, alternating teasing and threatening with the metal of the claws, stroking with her gloved hand, and licking or kissing with her mouth. Here and there the claws delve deep enough to part flesh and when they do, the searing white line of pain is immediately followed by the smoldering softness of her mouth and her soothing, cooling breath.
I fight to remain silent and still, but there is sweat on my temple and heavy wetness of another kind between my legs.
She moves lower and I cannot help the hiss as she cuts my upper thigh and then licks the cut.
She is so close to my need, my hips jerk despite my control and I feel her pause. I nearly cry out in frustration, but hold myself still, and I hear a low hum of satisfaction.
“What do you want Sofia?” she asks, her voice at once gentle and edged with lightening.
“You,” I plead, and she makes a low sound of consideration.
“Please Lady, I want you,” I gasp, and this time I know I have her approval when she returns and then her mouth is on me. Her tongue dips into me and then explores, twisting and caressing and it takes every last thread of control I have not to cry out.
When I want her to delve deeper however, she slowly draws away, kissing both of my quivering thighs, and then moving beside me.
Before I can pull myself back from the edge of release and I can do more than whimper in frustration, she speaks.
“Do you trust me Sofia?” she asks, and I am momentarily confused by her gentle tone.
“Yes,” I manage to gasp.
I feel her shift and then two hands gently clasp my face, one cloaked in alien leather, the other soft flesh tipped with dangerous metal.
“Then trust me now, and accept this gift,” she says softly.
And then she is gone.
I have just enough time to register confusion, when there is the sound of leather hitting the floor and another person moving toward us. I feel the first stirrings of panic when the claw tipped hand returns to rest on my stomach, both a comfort – and a warning.
“Trust, Sofia,” she commands softly.
And because I have no choice, I do.
I nearly betray myself by gasping when The Lady uses the nipple clamps and Sofia arches off the bed – the bow of her body pushing her breasts into high relief.
I am gripping the wooden arms of the chair so tight I’m not sure I could let go, and a part of me is sure that if I do, I will fly from the chair to the bed, unable to stop myself from touching Sofia. My arousal has grown to a hard, pulsing ache between my legs that I am becoming desperate to relieve and I have long ago forgotten any doubt about what I am doing here.
When she cuts and licks Sofia’s thigh, I want to hiss with Sofia, but my jaw is clamped shut, and when she pauses, taking her mouth away from Sofia’s sex, I nearly groan in frustration as well.
The Lady leans over Sofia and says something I can’t hear, to which Sofia replies.
And then I am pinned by artic blue eyes as Lady Heather speaks, just loud enough that I can hear.
“Then trust me now, and accept this gift,” and with that she motions to me.
There is no hesitation on my part. Where once I would have quailed, there is only a calm certainty that steals over me. I strip off my jacket and shoes, but stay otherwise clothed. With each step toward the bed and the women on it, I realize I am more aware of my body that I have been at any other time in my life.
I can feel the breath in my lungs and the rush of blood through my heart. I feel the constriction of clothing as it binds and slides across my skin – not as unwelcome – but as another sensation to be experienced.
I feel alive – light and on fire – powerful and sure of myself in a way I never would have thought possible, and most importantly,
I am not afraid
I know that what I am about to do will only bring pleasure to both myself and the woman in front of me, and I know, that the moment it doesn’t, she will stop me, and I will desist.
It dimly occurs to me that if this is how Lady Heather feels all the time, I owe her a serious apology, but then I am crawling onto the bed and feeling the warm silk beneath my hands and Sofia fills my vision and all rational thought is gone.
I kneel beside her and reach out a hand to where the Lady is resting her claws on Sofia’s quivering stomach. Up close, she is even more beautiful. I can see the faint hollows and contours of her ribs when she breathes and the tiny shift of muscle beneath skin as she trembles.
My hand touches the Lady’s and for an instant I feel the invisible connection that flows between us. Then I move and all I know is Sofia.
A part of me wants to take this slow – to explore the captive Detective – but I can feel her heart racing under my fingers and see the evidence of her need, and it calls to me.
With my own heart pounding I lean forward and capture her lips with mine. She is so divinely soft, but I suddenly realize she is not responding. I nearly pull back, when Lady Heather chuckles,
“You may respond as you wish Sofia,” and then she is kissing me back. I lose myself in her mouth, but this is only the beginning of what I want.
When I pull away, I am rewarded by the high flush on Sofia’s cheeks and the quickening of her breath. It makes her chest heave and only serves to tighten my own need. With her body granting permission, I kiss my way down her, pausing here and there to nip at flesh I have wanted to taste for an age.
And then I am there; between her legs and taking her into my mouth. Her hips buck and she makes a strangled cry of pleasure. She is wet – achingly ready – and as I part her glistening folds with my tongue, I slide my hand into her, one finger at a time.
I suck her clit gently and thrust my hand into her and am rewarded as she cries out, whimpering, and yes, begging; begging me to let her come. I hold off though. I want this to last – for this moment to stretch forever as I glory in her taste and the feeling of being inside her. Her body jerks against me raggedly though, and I take pity on her. I’ve long since forgotten that I should be silent, and so as I push into her and curl my fingers, I command her,
“Sofia, come for me.” She does, and I think it might be the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen.
A hand that doesn’t belong to Lady Heather touches me and I wait, unsure.
Then someone kisses me, and shock explodes through me, stopping my heart.
I’ve know those lips. I would know them anywhere, in any time and place. Sara! It’s Sara kissing me, touching me, here with me, with us, right now. My heart leaps, swelling, almost bursting with emotion.
“Sofia, come for me.” Sara commands, and I obey. At the sound of her voice; in the instant I know it’s her, my release rips through me, breaking my awareness and nearly tearing me loose from my body. Her fingers move, and wave after wave of excruciating pleasure pulses through me, and when I think I can’t take any more, her mouth is on me again.
I can barely draw breath and finally beg her to stop…but she doesn’t. Thrashing my head back and forth, I plead, until Lady Heather’s voice whispers darkly in my ear.
“Say it Sofia, give the signal.”
“Sidle!” I cry, and with a last gentle kiss, Sara moves away to leave me spent, shattered and floating.
I’m not aware that The Lady has removed my chains until a hand takes mine and my fingertips are kissed gently and the blindfold is removed.
Still gasping for breath it takes a moment for brain to realize that my eyes can see again. When it finally catches up, I nearly forget to breathe.
In black jeans and a sleeveless black shirt, with her hair mussed and a feral look in her eyes, Sara kneels between my legs. Her hands on my thighs are gentle, but her expression is predatory.
It was Lady Heather who kissed my hand from where she lay, watching the both of us, her expression one of complete satisfaction.
I look at Sara though, and the weight is slowly burned from my limbs, replaced with a seething need to touch her. The Lady seems to understand, because with the sinuous grace of a panther, she slides behind Sara, reaches around her, and unfastens her belt, slowly pulling it away.
“Sidle!” Sofia cries, and my heart cries with her. I kneel, watching the tremors ripple through her body and the struggle as she tries to breathe. She’s wrecked and I can’t help but feel a little satisfaction at knowing I did that.
Lady Heather removes the restraints and the blindfold and I watch the moment that Sofia’s brain catches up with her eyes and she sees me.
The wondrous, hungry look that steals into that ice blue gaze makes me swallow, but she’s in no condition to do anything about it…yet.
That’s when I realize that Lady Heather has moved, and now settles behind me. I feel the slide of hands over my hips and then she is undoing my belt and sliding it away. She’s undressing me while Sofia collects herself and watches.
I feel the caress of leather across my stomach and then she is lifting my shirt slowly; teasingly. I wonder, as if from a distance, at my acceptance. But there is no fear anymore, so I simply surrender to The Lady’s touch and am rewarded with her midnight voice in my ear, telling me how beautiful I am.
My shirt and bra are gone and then her hands are on my breasts, gently cupping me. The last thing I see before my eyes flutter closed is Sofia’s burning gaze that I can almost feel as a physical weight on my skin.
With infinite tenderness, Heather lays me on the bed and removes the last of my clothing and when I look up, Sofia is there too, so that I am met by two sets of burning blue eyes.
The Lady smiles, and with a leather clad touch, strokes my cheek one last time, and then there is only Sofia.
Her touch seems to be everywhere at once; my shoulders, my breasts, my hips. She holds me captive simply with her eyes, and I give myself willingly to it.
My need is too great to deny for long though, and I fist my hands in the thick gold silk of her hair and pull her mouth to me, parting my lips willingly. Sofia senses my desire and her body moves against mine; curves and planes and soft flesh sliding against their counterparts.
And then her hand is on me; in me, and her fingers dance and stroke and flutter and thrust in ways that stop my heart and steal my breath. There is no thought, no awareness, no sensation beyond her.
I’m so close. I try to hold back, but she doesn’t let me. She just pushes deeper, thrusting her tongue in my mouth and stroking my clit with her thumb until I come, arching off the bed and crying out while lights dance across my vision. The world fades away: or maybe it’s just me, drifting free from it. I can’t tell and I don’t care.
I know that if I fall back to earth, Sofia will catch me.
From the doorway I watch them become lost in each other. Sara is as beautiful and passionate as I imagined. Together the two of them make a vision worthy of the greatest painters – their porcelain skin against my blood black sheets and the flush of their passion across their skin warmed by candlelight.
It stirs me deeply, and I allow myself a moment simply to watch, content to behold what I had at least a part in creating.
Satisfied, I turn and walk down the hall, the soft cries of their joy echoing in my ears.
A half formed thought slowly floats to the surface of consciousness in my mind. I examine it slowly, turning it over and considering it in light of our current position; wrapped around each other like a couple of sleeping cats, nestled in dark silk sheets. There seems to be no good reason not to proceed, especially now that I still feel somewhat detached from reality. This may be the best, hell, only, time I can do this.
“hmm?” she answers lazily, but when I open my eyes, I see she is looking at me intently.
“I need to tell you about how I grew up.” I will never call it a childhood.
She nods, and I feel her arms tighten, encouraging me.
I begin haltingly, but feeling her warmth around me and her lips on my forehead I gain courage. For the first time in my life, I bring my past and my fears willingly to light – even if that light belongs to candles and the love of the woman whose arms I rest in. She says nothing, for which I am grateful. There is nothing to say. It’s in the past, and I am finally able to accept that. Maybe all it took was a different kind of light.
There is nothing now but the quiet rhythm of our breathing and I feel myself drifting off to sleep. Just before I do however, she whispers, “I love you Sara, don’t ever doubt that.”
I open my eyes to see the depth of her feeling written on her features, and the last trace of uncertainty in me is swept away before the strength of what I see in her eyes.
“I love you too, Sofia,” I reply, before we both drift off into the healing embrace of sleep.
It was surprisingly easy in the end, and we came to a simple agreement. When I really, truly need it, I can escape to Lady Heather’s. Sometimes, though rarely, Sara joins us, but mostly she is there to welcome me home. With my body aching but my soul lighter, I fall into her welcome arms. Sometimes she simply holds me as I sleep, sometimes I find the energy to exhaust her as well, but she is always there when I wake up.
Once, on our anniversary, I woke to the sensation of silk sliding across my eyes and she proved to me that she had been paying attention when Lady Heather used her art.
For the most part though, the tides and shifts of power in our relationship are subtle and fluid – balancing and not destroying.
She is my partner in every sense of the word; we snuggle on the couch and watch old movies; we make love gently on lazy Saturday mornings and spend all day talking; we read the paper together on Sundays. Our house is bright and warm and her arms are my safe haven. We fight sometimes, but we never let things fester (and the makeup sex is usually fantastic) and though the balance of our jobs and our lives took some time to find, it has strengthened us both beyond imagining.