Pulling my jacket close around me and slumping down even further to hide my face, I feel all of the self-control that I’d mustered with Lark this evening giving way to a spiral of hopeless desolation, the lowest pits of hellish torment.
She wants to mold me and shape me into something I’m not. A submissive. Her submissive. She said I’m naturally submissive to her. Maybe that’s true. Why?
Ugh, no. It’s too frightening, too painful to examine closely, and I’m terrified of what latent deficiencies I’ll discover in myself if I do. I need her. I want her. I the thought of being without her is unfathomable.
I’m desperately afraid I might even be falling in love with her.
She can take or leave me, as she wishes.
But if I do this for her, give her what she wants, do things that I’m not entirely sure I want to do, then will she be my girlfriend, like I want?
I sigh, shaking my head. I already know the answer.
She and I have diametrically opposed ideas of life, of a relationship. I want to be able to take her to my dad’s for dinner, double-date with Aiden and whoever his latest fling is. Plan dorky couples’ costumes for Halloween. Get married on a beach, barefoot.
She wants me to kneel and not look at her, let her control and train me to be what she wants through pain.
And yet tonight, she showed me another side of Lark Blackwood. The hurt, lonely little girl who sought what she needed from her older stepbrother. She said it gave her an outlet for her energies. He taught her those things. Now she wants to teach them to me. Will it give me a needed outlet and direction, like she says it did for her? I can’t imagine how. But then again, she was a hurting, wild, angry teenaged girl, and I’m just boring, dull me.
I guess what we have in common is that we both want stability and security, in our own ways. She just wants hers from a signed contract and pages of rules in a Handbook to have kinky sex with me, a set time-frame before things inevitably end.
I throw my head back and cover my face with my arm, hoping that Carter will just think I’m shielding my face from oncoming traffic headlights or something, but the truth is, I can actually feel tears filling my eyes. Childish tears.
God, this is pathetic. My reaction to considering a mature, non-traditional, kinky-sex relationship with one of the most powerful, stunning women in the world is to cry like an angsty pre-teen girl?
My Id downs another giant Pixie Stix, followed by a Mountain Dew, and shakes his head at me in utter disgust. What kind of a pussy are you? he mouths.
What am I going to do?
You’re going to spend the weekend being her submissive boy toy sex slave, that’s what, my Superego points out, smirking as he strokes his beard.
This weekend. It’s make or break time. Try it her way and see if I can even handle-
“Here we are, Mr. Stone,” Carter announces, and I feel the Range Rover slow to a stop. Before I can answer, she’s out the door and opening mine to let me out in front of my apartment building.
“Thank you,” I stammer softly.
She nods, professional, but I get the feeling she’s scrutinizing me. Will she report back to Lark? Did she see I was boo-hooing like a baby in the back of the car, and- Fuck.
I beat tracks for the front door, and take the stairs instead of the elevator, welcoming the physical strain of loping up three flights of stairs. Compared to the emotional strain of everything else, this is nothing.
I puff to catch my breath before unlocking the front door.
Oh, thank Christ. Everything is dark and quiet. Aiden isn’t home.
In fact, as I slide my hand into my jacket pocket — Aiden’s jacket pocket, actually, the leather jacket I borrowed — and remove my phone, I can see he texted me a few hours ago.
Dinner w Ari. She told me you and Lark have date tonite 2? Txt & check in. Home by 10, early morning tmrw.
To my surprise, it’s only 8:49. Jeez. This evening, this whole day, has seemed to go on forever. Just a few hours with Lark feel like a lifetime. I guess in some ways I’m glad I won’t see her tomorrow, just because I know I need some space and time completely to myself to think about all of this.
Like a good boy, I text Aiden back. Already home. Everything’s fine. Have fun! There. I hope that’ll keep him off my back for a while. Then again, he and Ariana are probably already doing the horizontal tango somewhere, if his past history is anything to go by. I hang up my jacket. Making a bypass through the kitchen, I grab a Diet Coke and a bag of chips. Then I go into my room, where I kick off my shoes. I strip off all of the clothes Lark picked out for me, the expensive designer duds, and change into ancient, comfy sweatpants and a sweatshirt.
I’ve just cracked open my soda when my phone starts buzzing with an incoming phone call. I look with a mixture of trepidation and eagerness, wondering if Lark is summoning me back to her castle in the forest, or if she just wants to talk.
But it’s just my dad, Keith.
“Hey, son,” he says when I answer.
“Hey! What’s up, Keith? I was gonna give you a call tomorrow morning before work.”
Usually my dad doesn’t have much to say. His life has gone on much the same as it has ever since my mom walked out on us, back when I was just a kid. He keeps most things to himself. He spends his time fixing up bikes, and taking them out for long rides. He’s got the shop to run. He spends most nights in front of the TV, watching old sitcom reruns. Every so often, he’ll be up for a low-key camping trip, and we’ll strap a couple bedrolls to our bikes, or throw a tent in the back of his truck, drive into the mountains or down to the beach. But his days are mostly the same, and he likes it that way.
Sometimes I think I’m alot like him. Other times, I think we couldn’t be more different if we tried.
“Yeah, got your text. Figured I’d try to reach you tonight, though. How’re things?”
Shitballs. “How are things?” Well, Dad, since we last talked a week or so ago, I met a woman richer than everyone in our hometown put together, who has completely changed my life, taken my virginity, and wants to train me to have kinky sex with her and her primary partner. How’s that grab you?
“Things’re okay. I told you I got a job at that recording company, right?”
“You did. When do you start?”
“Day after tomorrow.”
“On a Friday?”
“It’s just an informal orientation day. Tomorrow’s my last day at the bookstore.”
“Oh. That was quick.”
“So, I told you I had some news,” Keith says, sounding more animated than his usual chill self.
“You did. What’s up?” I ask, even though I know.
“Well. You know that Ducati I’ve had for a while, just waiting for a buyer?”
“Uh huh.” I close my eyes, remembering how it felt to be on the back of that bike with Lark, our bodies together.
“Well, last week, I sold her. Made a pretty penny, too. More’n I thought I would.”
“Wow, that’s fantastic!” Yeah, Keith, I know. My new girlfriend- or whatever she is, lover, master, my beautiful obsession, is the one who bought it. She could buy a dozen of ‘em without thinking about it.
“Yeah, I think so, too. Buyer didn’t even haggle the price, and offered me more than I was asking. Gonna be able to pay off some bills. Can even give you a hand with those student loans if you want?”
“No, no, Dad, you use that money for yourself. I’m an adult, I’ll pay off my student loans.” Even if it takes me the next fifty years. “You gonna put anything back into the shop?”
“Of course.” I half-listen as Keith talks my ear off uncharacteristically about new investments, tools, whatnot. But then he surprises me. “I thought maybe we’d go on a trip someplace to celebrate. What do you think? Cascades, Mt. Rainer. Make it a long weekend, take our bikes. We haven’t ridden together in a long time. Remember the last camping trip we took up there?”
“Yeah, my sophomore year of college, I think.” And it had been a great trip, too.
“Or maybe we could fly back east, go to Florida, visit your Aunt Pat. She’s been suggesting we come visit her and Bob for years, and I know they’d love to see you. It’s her birthday in a couple weeks, too.”
Oh, yeah. It might be cool to go see my aunt and her husband, my step-uncle, in Miami. Hang out on the beach, get a little sunshine. Feel normal again.
But right now, I can’t fathom the idea of a trip anyplace. I can’t imagine leaving Lark, not even for a weekend camping trip.
Not now. Not with everything still so new and uncertain.
“Uh… maybe in a few months, Dad. Remember, I’m just starting my new job. I can’t take time off so soon.”
“Oh. Yeah, of course, makes sense. Well, keep it all in mind, kid, and we’ll talk about it. I might still go out there myself.”
“You should. You should enjoy yourself,” I find myself saying automatically.
“Yeah, a sale like this doesn’t come along every day,” he says.
But with Lark Blackwood in the picture, they probably do, I can’t help thinking bitterly.
We talk a little more about my new job, about a Yamaha XS 650 he’s saving to restore with me when I can spare a few weekends to come out to his place.
I don’t tell him about Lark. Binding NDA contracts or not, I can’t tell my dad about her. Anyway, he hasn’t been near a woman since Mom left. He wouldn’t understand what I’m dealing with.
“If you’ve got this weekend free,” he finally says as we’re wrapping things up, “come out to the house. We can start on that Yamaha. Grill some steaks. Watch The Evil Dead.”
“Ugh, Dad, not that again,” I protest. Keith has a thing for those old 80s slash-’em-up horror flicks. Back when I was in high school, most weekends were spent with us fixing bikes and then watching some gore-fest franchise with fifteen installments.
“Okay, okay, no horror movies. But still.”
“I’m sorry, Keith, I already have plans this weekend.” I’m going to practice being a sex slave to a kinky, rich CEO. “I’m, uh, helping Aiden at the store. But I’ll come out there soon, I promise.”
“Sounds good. You take care, kid. And good luck at the new job. Let me know how it goes.”
“I will, Keith. Dad. Thanks.”
“Love you, too.”
I let the phone drop onto my bed, and sink back into the pillows. For a second, I think about texting or calling Lark, but… what would I say? Besides, I don’t want her to think she’s completely got the upper hand with me, that everything in my life now centers on her. That I’m going to jump at her every command or something.
I have my own life, I remind myself stubbornly, and reaching for my guitar, Gypsy, out of long habit, plucking through one of the songs Chloe and I wrote last summer.
Ugh, Chloe. I hope she’s over that whole debacle from last weekend and we can go back to normal again. We were supposed to practice together this weekend, too, but obviously that’s all out the window. I’m sure she’ll understand. Once I get settled at PPRE, maybe I can even make things up by booking us some recording time in a decent studio so we can finally polish our demo.
God, just over a week or so ago, my biggest worries were about getting a demo out and booking some more local gigs, finding a job at a real recording studio.
Lark Ellery Blackwood has changed all of that.
To my amazement, I close my eyes and drift off to sleep, perhaps from exhaustion after all of the ups and downs of today, and dream about Lark Blackwood, chilled wine, and hot kisses… and more. Much, much more.