Fascination

She can’t explain her fascination with it.

She thought she’d psyched herself up for this, thought she knew what she was getting back into, but the first time she has a drink with him after the event, the silver band on his finger is like being punched in the stomach.

She’d known she’d have to give up sleepovers, impromptu dates, late night phone calls. She hadn’t considered that she’d have to give up looking at his hands.

She watches him lift his pint to his mouth, scratch his face, twirl a coaster between his fingers.

Any minute now, he’ll notice her staring.

In her bedroom, she can’t bear it. ‘Can you just –’ She stops. She doesn’t know what to ask him for. She can’t ask him to take it off, after all, although she knows that characters in novels do that sometimes, when they’re cheating.

He’s not cheating. He’s not cheating, and that is the problem.

‘Can I just…?’

‘It doesn’t matter.’

‘Sure?’

‘Sure.’

The sex is as good as it always was. Marriage hasn’t changed his thick cock, the aftershave he wears, the way he kisses.

And then she has an idea.

‘Put your fingers in my mouth,’ she says. This is not new. She has always liked this.

When his fingers are in her mouth, she can’t look at them. That helps, a bit. A bit, bit not enough.

‘Deeper?’ she asks. She wonders if his whole fist could fit in her mouth.

His eyebrow arches. She’s never asked for this before. But he pushes his fingers deeper, so deep she gags on them. Her tongue slides over the metal.

He knows what she’s thinking, she’s sure. Perhaps one day they’ll talk about it, about the fact that this is hard for her. Not today, though. Today there is only the taste of metal and her own voice in her head.

 

Encouraging

She thinks of it as a revenge fuck. Revenge for twelve years of PE lessons, revenge for the humiliation, the shame, the anxiety. The plan, as soon as he tells her, still while they’re chatting on Tinder, that he’s a PE teacher, is to undo all that pain in a single hook up.

The idea of having a PE teacher tell her that she’s good at something – and he will, she knows, because she’s excellent at sucking dick, makes her not only wet but so giddy with the ridiculousness of it all that she’s almost hysterical in the days before they meet.

Yes, she imagines him saying, like that, that’s amazing, oh christ. She imagines him saying encouraging things – Please and I want to come on your tits and Aren’t you a good girl?

But it is not like that. After all, he’s a PE teacher. He’s incapable of being like that.

Oh sure, he likes the way she sucks his cock – otherwise his eyes wouldn’t be rolling back in his head, his mouth wouldn’t be open on a low groan – but making her feel good about herself? It’s just not what PE teachers do, is it?

The thing is, she’s older now, and she likes that he’s awful, so she goes back for more, week after week. And then one day she makes a joke about how he’s so sadistic he’d probably like to see her do the fucking bleep test, wouldn’t he, and he says that they could do that, actually, except, instead of running, she would deep throat him and not come up for air between the bleeps?

It’s a revenge fuck, but not how she imagined it. It’s a revenge fuck, but the shame and humiliation are still there. It’s just that … this time, she likes them.

 

 

 

Clandestine

She is cheating, he’s sure of it. Or about to cheat, perhaps, because he she hasn’t yet started coming home late or showering more often, or anything like that. It’s just that sometimes, in the middle of the night, he wakes up and she’s not asleep beside him. And it figures that she would creep downstairs to text a lover, because, with a husband and two children, when else would she find the time to do it?

The irony of it all is that they have more sex now than they’ve had in ages, although he’s read that that can happen, with affairs – that it increases desire generally, or something. Sometimes, he wakes to her kissing her way down his body and taking his cock in her mouth. When she kisses him, afterwards, her lips taste slightly sweet, in an unfamiliar way – not unpleasant, just different.

And so, he tries to put his fears that she’s being unfaithful to one side. He tries to focus on the fact that she seems happy, that he’s getting his dick sucked all the fucking time. But in the end, its no good, because he knows that things won’t continue as they are; that eventually the affair will escalate, and she’ll come home smelling of another man, and perhaps she’ll even want a divorce. It doesn’t bear thinking about.

So when he next wakes and her side of the bed is empty, he tiptoes down the stairs, wanting, but also not wanting, to catch her in the act, messaging, or whispering on the phone, or whatever it is that she and her lover do in these silent, pre-dawn hours.

The living room is still dark. So too is her study. Which leaves the kitchen. He creeps round the corner, expecting to see her sat at the breakfast bar, face lit by the blue light of her phone. But she isn’t holding her phone. The only thing she’s holding is a family sized bag of Mini Eggs.

Blancmange

If she could safeword her way out of choosing a safeword, she would. She has a thing about words, about giving them too much weight – has never found it easy to name pets, pub quiz teams or characters in stories – and she cannot imagine any word that she could blurt out with no context and not feel a complete idiot for saying.

‘Let’s go with ‘Stop’ then,’ he says. ‘It’s not ideal, but if you’d rather keep things straightforward…’

But she rolls ‘Stop’ around in her mouth for a bit, silently, imagines saying it, and it loses all meaning, the way you can suck the colour off a Smartie or look too hard at the word ‘When,’ until it no longer looks like a real word at all.

No. ‘Stop’ is not the one.

In a way, she feels like having a safeword at all is like public speaking – she never wants to say anything that brings the focus directly onto her – and yet here she is having to choose a word that will literally have the power to change the whole course of events.

‘Red’ is another option it would be sensible to go with, but it feels too movie like, too Fifty Shades of Grey. Perhaps she could use ‘grey,’ instead? But she knows better than to pick a word based on her own batshit sense of what might be funny the first time she uses it. And although ‘red’ is not something she feels drawn to, it is closer.

She knows that people use ‘red’ because it carries the meaning of ‘stop’ in more every day, prosaic contexts. And yet, red is the colour that comes to mind when she thinks of kind – skin inflamed by flogging, by whipping, by shame.

But she is not there yet. She has not yet ventured into anything that turns her skin scarlet, hasn’t chosen to be humiliated to the point that it makes her blush.

No, the colour she most associates with her own kinks is pink. Her face flushed with excited, her nipples rock hard and rose-coloured. And then, afterwards, the sense of being limp, boneless, pleasantly weak and wobbly. That is how she finally settles on it.

Blancmange.

‘He took her in his arms’: on the difficulty of writing hugs

I don’t believe, as a rule, that sex is difficult to write. Yes, lots of people *say* it is, but it’s no harder (and for me, a lot easier) than writing, for example, violence, comedy or a whole damn novel with an original, yet plausible and satisfying ending.

That doesn’t mean, though, that there aren’t *parts* of sex that aren’t tricky to write. Orgasms, for example – fucking nightmare. Kisses are a challenge to write in a way that’s fresh. I find it’s easier to stick to the stuff that isn’t traditionally thought of as sexy – someone slowly rolling a condom down the length of their rock hard dick, someone refusing a post-coital tissue and instead allowing the splatters of spunk to slowly dry on their skin.

It had never occurred to me though, that writing hugs is as hard, if not harder, than writing kisses or orgasms. It’s a struggle not to be cliched – to not say ‘He took her in his arms,’ or ‘He wrapped her in a hug.’ I tried to write hugs that were original for this prompt, and I came unstuck – everything was too mechanical, because, at the end of the day, it doesn’t *matter* where someone’s putting their arms, or whether they’re resting their head on the other person’s shoulder, or whatever – what makes a hug, as with so many things, interesting to read – is context.

So instead of a new hug, here is one of the very few that I remember writing, one that I’m pleased with:

Of course, the actual goodbye is harder than the naked one. I sit and pull my knees up to my chest as I watch him tug on his clothes – boxers, T-shirt, jeans – and I almost cry again when I realise I’ve seen his thick leather belt hanging invitingly open for the final time. He finds his shoes and I wrap myself in my robe and follow him out to his car. How did I never see this part coming? He stands, arms out, inviting me in for a hug. We never hug. That’s how much has changed in one short week. On any other day we’d lie, intertwined, on the bed or the sofa, or wherever the wine was, until the sky was dark and the moon high, or until one of us mentioned the prospect of work the following day. And then he’d show me out, worn PJ bottoms sitting low on his hips, his hair as sex-mussed as mine, if not worse . He’d open the door, and as the cold night air enveloped us we’d kiss as if intending to start the whole evening over, our tongues thrusting and lashing, no less urgent than we’d been hours earlier. When I did manage to pull away, to insist that, no, really, I did have to go, he’d wait until I turned to leave, and then he’d see me off with a good, firm smack on the arse.

I’d love to see other writers sharing hugs they’ve written that they’re proud of, too – please feel free to share them in the comments.