It’s a thin fiction that I can’t hear the snap of the belt through the bathroom door but I know Pel needs that. He is trying to keep me safe and I appreciate the sentiment, but I’m better now. I was lost in subspace and had a bad flashback. I wish he’d stop acting like I’m about to break.
The hot water pounds against my shoulders, easing tensions I didn’t know I was carrying. Soaping up and sluicing off quickly, still I stand in the heat and spray. The air grows thick and hard to breathe. And almost, it feels easier to keep going and allow the wet and heat to drown me in the air. It’s not that I want to die or that I’m not happy. It’s that sometimes the pain of remembering is so heavy. I know that I need to get out and get going. But I just can’t.
The sounds in the shower change. The pressure in the room lightens and the air cools. I hear from the doorway, “Tara? Are you ok?”
Pel’s sweet voice fills me with shame and rage and just for a split second resentment.
I turn off the water jets, feeling a sullen bleakness settle down, and step out.
He’s waiting with a big towel. Arms stretched wide to envelope me. And shame overwrites the bleakness. Seeing him, trying to take care of me. I step into his arms and he rubs me down with the towel. Hands soft and firm. Businesslike and still I feel them linger over me. Never where you’d think. On my calves, down my side, along my spine. All dry.
The wet warmth vanishes and I stumble briefly, I’d leaned too far into him. But just as quick, warm robes encircle me. His arms pull me close. I feel his heart beat, that steady thump, for me. For me.
My body leaned back against his. His mouth against my ear. He whispers, “It’s time to get ready my Tara dove. Your clothes are laid out in the guest bedroom. Please get dressed in there.”
The guest bedroom? Why there?
Am I being punished…
Despair drifts back in, unbidden, as if through an open window
“Sara is taking up the whole bed, I’m afraid and we can’t have your dress getting dirty.”
I feel like I just slumped in relief…
Maybe he’s not completely wrong. It’s hard to admit. That I’m not just ok. It’s hard but I know…He does whatever he can to make me safe which is sometimes exhausting for me. But he’s not wrong either. I’m a grown ass woman and it’s hard to be taken care of like I’m not.
“Tara,” he asks quietly.
I shake out of a reverie that I guess dragged on and say, “Ok,” as brightly as I can. I brush past Pel and see Sara is splayed out on the bed. Wrists and ankles bound to the four corners. The bed top has been replaced by a white shiny leather one. A blindfold and ball-gag covers her eyes and mouth. I briefly feel something like lust and jealousy all rolled together. But I go to the guest room and find the outfit picked out for me.
Its peach! From the lace underwear and bra all the way to the two knives I’ll conceal on me, peach.
Where did he get blades that are peach colored?