Coercion:Curio Vignettes 01(4)

By: Cara McKenna

We eat in easy silence and leave the dishes to soak. I carry the glasses and she the wine, and we retire to the couch in my living room. Along the window ledges, pigeons we have yet to name are finding their spots in the day’s dying light. Some bits of Paris are going to sleep as well, while others are only now waking.

Part of me wishes that one day this might be our living room, hers and mine. But much would have to change to make that possible. There would be no more clients, no more of the income I’ve grown so accustomed to.

I’m capable of change; I know that now. But only slowly. Someday Caroly might get me onto the Métro or out of the city, get me to sleep somewhere unfamiliar, to travel with her to Spain or England or beyond. All those things must happen before I could ever change something so great as my livelihood or invite her to share my quarters permanently.

This evening, however, I want to travel no farther than my bed. Our bed, hers and mine, until Thursday dawns.

“So.” She tucks her legs beneath her bottom, cupping her drink in both hands. “Tell me about her.”

“I would prefer to show you, if you’ll let me.” Hope flutters in my belly.

Long fingers drum her glass, ever-nervous creatures. “Show me how?”

“I wondered if tonight, you would like to be her. Do with me all the things she likes.”

Her eyebrows rise.

“You’re so interested in what my other lovers ask of me, perhaps we could begin exploring those things instead of merely talking. This woman’s desires and any number of others.”

“Like role-playing?”

“Like this storytelling you love so much, but more.”

She purses her lips, nodding very faintly, very slowly. “We can try that.”

She fascinates me, Caroly. Her body, long and pale as winter, her rich, smooth voice softening the edges of that homely accent. She arrived on my doorstep a blank canvas, at once terrified and eager to be transformed. At first so cautious, yet never once has she dismissed any lovers’ game I’ve proposed. Each position and activity is a new delicacy to her, every one at least sampled and many deemed worthy of ordering again and again, and my pleasure to serve. At times she closes herself up, cold and tight as a mussel, but once you coax her open, she will let you swallow her whole.

“I am glad you’re intrigued,” I say, “but we’ve not played any games like this before. Do you trust me?”

“I do.”

No hesitation, and I smile. “Then we have only one formality to discuss. Can you snap your fingers?”

She shows me she can, with either hand.

“The woman you are tonight may say things she doesn’t mean. She may tell me to stop or slow down. And the man I will be may choose to ignore those words. But snap your fingers to tell me you truly want me to stop, and I will. In an instant.”

“I know you would.” Her face betrays her eagerness and I suspect she won’t find occasion to use our little signal. She’s excited to try on this woman’s kink, to explore the places most women have ventured with their lovers by her age. To be “part of the club”, as she’s called it before.

“Always wine, with this client.” I refresh our glasses nearly to the rims. “She likes to get drunk. To calm her nerves and so she may blame her desires on the intoxication.” I give Caroly’s blouse and skirt a mischievous looking-over. “She dresses not unlike you. Straight from the office, from all that pressure and power, all those men she fights so fiercely to make her equals, when she secretly wishes she could be off guard with a man. To surrender, if only for an evening.”

Caroly adjusts her legs, crossing them primly and sitting up straighter. I smile to myself, because yes, some women like the fictionalized one I speak of do sit so exactly like that, ever alert. I lean closer, as I do with them, letting my nearness and the wine begin to loosen their shoulders, deepen their breathing, stir their pulses.

“When we are together,” I tell her, “we are never client and prostitute. She is herself, but I am a handsome stranger who’s taken her home against her better judgment.” I am still Didier, but not the man I truly am. In those games I’m fearless and selfish, no sentimental whore with peculiar hobbies.

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