When I opened up Earthbound Eroticism to conspirators, I didn't know what kind of submissions I would get. There have been some amazing pieces that have come across my desk, and this piece, by Malediction, stunned me.
Sometimes pain is more than skin deep...
Lie to Me.
The rain pelted hard on my bare skin; it felt unusually warm, and inviting. I slicked my hair away from my face and angled my head into the downpour. The water flowed across the plane of my back and followed the curves of body around my legs to brush over my clit. I sighed – not really a sensual pleasure, but relaxed. It felt good to be in the rain, good to feel a simple joy at the strange warmth on my skin. It was so peaceful, and inviting -- except for the sound of it. It was loud against the tiles, too harsh for such a peaceful place. Yeah, it was too damn loud.
Reality hit me like a freight train, and I blinked, trying to reorient myself through the blur in my head. My eyes focused slowly, and then I saw him standing right in front of me. He smiled, and then I remembered. I remembered why I went into the rain that wasn’t really there.
“Come shower with me,” he said, holding out his hand. I followed him. I didn’t protest, because I knew how much the simple act would please him. It reassured him of my love. Yes, I went, and now, we were naked, standing in the warm flow of water that sprayed from the showerhead, not the sky.
I managed to escape again, even while I stood there with him. I escaped to the place where I wasn’t a disappointment, where I wasn’t a liar -- to a place where I could be everything his eyes said I was. Yes, he looked at me like I were a goddess, bright eyes shining with over thirty years of timeless love. I gave him a small smile, and he pulled me to him like a toddler’s favorite toy returned after washing. Locked in his arms, I swayed as he rocked us from side to side. It was his own private happy-dance, a show of pure, absolute joy at being with me. I hugged him back to keep him from seeing my stricken face, from seeing my Hell.
He thought my hug was encouragement -- his lips and teeth nipped my shoulder and neck. I did the same, using my teeth to graze over the water droplets on his shoulder. I grimaced at the black ink of his new tattoo. The shape was foreign and angry, angular and sharp against his pale skin. The artist was a true craftsman, but it felt like a scarlet letter. I alone knew why he emblazoned it on his body, and it wasn’t for his satisfaction, but for mine. He did it, because he thought I wanted him to.
He always did things for me. Hell, his whole life coalesced around being my perfect mate. He hung his own self-worth on my happiness. For him, it was so simple, so comfortable -- at least, until he discovered that I was something more, or perhaps less, than what he thought. His wife wanted things, liked things, things that “normal” people didn’t. The revelation threatened our existence -- his existence as the center of my world. And now, he scrambled to be the man he thought I wanted.
His hands pushed me away, gently, so he could look in my face. I knew what was coming and looked down. I could feel guilt written in Sharpie across my forehead -- fuck, written all over my damned body... He gripped the sides of my face and turned my lips up to his, then kissed me passionately. I tried so hard to remember when that sent heat pin-balling through me. I tried to conjure up something -- anything -- and failed. I pulled away and hugged him to me again. He sighed softly in our embrace as he squeezed me back and whispered in my ear, “I love you so much. You’re my whole life.”
Pain. It washed over me as steadily as the water flowing over my body. I welcomed it, but it didn’t cleanse me like I thought it would; instead, it made me feel dirty. I didn’t want to be your whole life – I just want wanted to be your wife.
Your relentless need crushes the life out of me. I want you to live for something more than me, because I need something more than you can give. I need it -- can you understand that? Will you let me take it? Please. Let me take it. I promise I will come back. Please...
The words were there in my head, but I didn’t say them. I couldn’t. It would be the tipping point, the beginning of the end of his world, and then mine. I raked my fingers through his hair instead. It used to be brown, and then it turned to red, and now black. He did it because he thought it would please me. He thought that if he looked more like the people I photographed that I would love again, that I wouldn’t want to see other people if he looked like that. I can’t love him again, because I never stopped loving him in the first place. Fuck, he still wants me to see him as the nexus of my world, too… but I just can’t.
I stepped out of his embrace and moved to rinse my hair. He eased past me and let himself out of the shower. I saw him through the veil of drops gathered on the plastic curtain, and I’m struck at how much they looked like the tears I couldn’t cry. Maybe it was those unshed tears that hung between us, like the curtain did. We can see each other, even touch each other, but the barrier remained and kept us from connecting.
I felt a rush of anger and slashed my hand over the shower curtain. I slammed off the water, and the rain died. I braced myself for his adoration as I reached for a towel, but he’d already slipped into the bedroom. I felt a stay of execution, but it dissolved when I considered what waited for me.
I dried off before I stepped into our room. We shared it for 25 years, but he wasn’t on our bed. He was standing off to the side, waiting for me. With one quick motion, he stripped my towel away and pushed me over the bed. He landed a resounding slap on my ass. The pain spoke to me, but not in arousal – more in relief. This was what I deserved, this and so much more. He started talking to me -- talking dirty, I think --, but I couldn’t hear it. I was already drifting. It was so easy to remember the night we nearly ended it all.
He was whipping my ass, trying to prove he could dominate me like I wanted him to. It was so close to the night he nearly killed me. He was so angry, so fucking pissed that I lied to him about my ‘unusual’ desires. His fingers wrapped around my neck, and through clenched teeth, he told me he was going to give me all the kink I wanted. He said I was going to orgasm while he held my life in his hands. See? Right from the start he didn’t understand. He didn’t get that it wasn’t about him -- it was about me. His hand prevented any explanation. He gripped me tighter, and then tighter, as he thrust into me. I felt everything clench until I saw stars, beautiful stars.
My hands were free, but I didn’t move. I didn’t even try. This was the moment all the lying, all the secrets, all the conspiracies were done. I wanted those beautiful stars more than life itself, and they were just within my reach. I relaxed, I said goodbye to my kids, the whole fucking world! My body sighed in relief. It was all going to be over… But Death only teased me. His hand released my throat, and as blood flooded back into my lungs, my chest heaving, betraying me with gasps, our eyes locked. I saw fear, plenty of it for the both of us. We realized how close we had come...
“Where is your riding crop?” His voice broke the spell. I shivered and then stood. The drawer was my tomb of magic tricks, and I unearthed the one stick I knew he couldn’t hurt me with. I handed it to him and bent back over the bed again -- waiting. The crop stung my skin, but I barely flinched. I resisted every sign that he hurt me. Ever since that night, he was more careful -- but only because his anger was more contained. He thought he knew everything about what I wanted, but nothing about what I needed. He thought he knew the truth.
The sting bloomed, and I asked him to hit me harder, just to see if the heart shape on the crop would bruise me. I told him I wanted it to leave a mark of amore on to my upturned ass, but it was just another lie. I’ve hit myself enough times with it to know the heart won’t mark me. I just wanted the pain. He did hit me harder, and the sting was delicious, but just as I started to savor it, he rubbed it away. I sighed softly into the mattress. I hid the real pain that tore through me. The pain that had nothing to do with whips or bruises on my skin.
He thought he broke me and set the crop aside. He rolled me over and caressed me. He tried to bring me the arousal that I refused to fake for him. I gave him a small smile of encouragement, and his face blazed brilliantly with hope. “I love you so much,” he said.
“I love you, too.” I knew my words weren’t empty. I did love him. He was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with but…
Always the but…
His fingers fumbled around my clit, but there wasn’t any hope. My aching body didn’t respond to gentleness anymore. I motioned to the toy drawer, and he brought out a collection of power tools that could leave a real woman screaming in orgasmic joy. But…I knew that I wouldn’t cum for him. I walled that part of me off with steel bricks of resentment. I resented his limitations, on his unwillingness to hear the truth. I resented that he left me with no options but to lie.
I let him play for a while, tried to direct, tried to build a fantasy world where I could respond the way he so desperately wanted me to, but I just had nothing left. I reached for him instead and put the toy against his cock. He moaned as I stroked him. I could feel the vibrations in my fingertips, and they sang through our skin together. I bared my teeth in a genuine smile. It wasn’t long until my fingers were warm with his pleasure, and I marveled at how happy I felt. Finally there was something I could do for him without feeling the agony of my betrayals in every touch and kiss. My God, it was too good to be true. Then he leaned in and kissed me before hurrying off to the bathroom to fetch me a wet rag. The bridge to happiness collapsed under the weight of my false hope. He went right back to taking care of me -- like always.
He cleaned up my hand and began to caress me again. I rolled onto my belly, just to keep my face turned away. I bristled when he apologized for the bruise on my ass. I told him that it was fine. More than fine. I glared at the pattern in the cloth and wished there were 20 or 30 more just like it -- marks from a true dominant, marks of a slave --, but I kept silent. We already went down that road, and I couldn’t trust him anymore. Anger held no place in my world.
He rose from the bed and moved to his closet. I considered him as he dressed for work, but I didn’t see the man I once knew. This man, the one before me, was tattooed, dyed, and 60 pounds lighter -- a shallow reflection of every young, inked, and hair-tinted man I’ve ever photographed. How could I explain that what I wanted wasn’t based on outward appearances or on the feel whips against my skin? How could I tell this man that saw me as his entire world that he just couldn’t be everything I needed?
He turned to me as he went out the door and signed –‘I love you’- with his fingers. “See you, tonight,” he said and then shut the door.
I pressed my face into the bedding, hoping tears might come, might help ease the pain of my lies, but I didn’t have any tears left. Yes, I would see him tonight, and sadly, I’d pick up where our charade left off, with me pretending to be happy, over and over again.