Jeanine said, "One of us needs to go to the store."
Once upon a time, this statement, uttered in bed, indicated some sort of feminine hygiene emergency, and the one who 'needs to go to the store' was - and is - generally me. Lately, the statement has taken on new connotations, signaling the commencement of foreplay. Not just any foreplay, mind you, but a foray into the brave new world of light, consensual bondage. What caught my attention this time, however, was the tone of voice behind the words.
Jeanine's voice was equal parts annoyed, resigned, and resentful. None of these vocal qualities can be mistaken for aroused, passionate, or playful. Even as a member of the congenitally less perceptive sex, I could not overlook the difference. This was not an initiative; this was a reluctant acceptance.
"What do we need?" I asked, cautiously. I didn't think it was safe to assume that it would be something she needed. She'd have said "Would you please go to the store for me?" Like I said, the statement she did use had become imbued with special meaning.
"You need to pick up some condoms," she pouted. "You used the last one this morning."
"Ah." That explained a lot. The phrasing meant, "I am up for fun and games tonight." The tone meant, "despite the fact that the quartz in my biological clock is vibrating at a much higher amplitude these days, and you won't give me the one thing I want." The "b" word was implicit. It had been explicit in several conversations over the last month.
I got out of bed and started dressing. "Anything I can pick up for you?" The question was muffled by the polo shirt I pulled on over my head, but I knew she heard. I didn't hear a response, but saw her head still shaking as my eyes cleared the collar. Shorts, tennis shoes next, then check wallet. I leaned onto the bed and kissed her forehead lightly. "Be right back," I whispered.
The local grocery store was a mile or so away. Not much time to reflect while driving that distance. I grabbed a hand basket and started wandering the aisles, thinking. Jeanine wanted a baby. I wanted a baby, but I'd argued that another year would make us financially better suited to being parents. Neither of us had made a stand, the discussion was tabled - again. Her current resentment probably stemmed from the fact that this weekend was a peak fertility period, and another month would elapse before another would occur.
Would another year make that much difference? My car was paid for, hers had a year to go. She was an Information Technology tech for the state Department of Transportation, and had excellent health benefits and a liberal maternity leave policy. My job paid better but the health plan sucked. There were a few vacation spots we wanted to visit that we might have to forego. Was that a great sacrifice?
Then there was the sex. It had always been good - mostly always, anyway. And lately had gotten even better. Would Jeanine still want me when she got big and, well, pregnant? My brother had a story or two in that regard, but I always took his stories with a shaker of salt.
I closed my eyes and tried to picture Jeanine with a big belly. And bigger tits. I guess the picture wasn't a turn-off; I could feel the pressure in my pants. I opened my eyes and looked around quickly to see if anyone had noticed. I found myself on the candy aisle. What would Jeanine like? She was catholic in her tastes - if it contained chocolate, she liked it. But what would commemorate starting a baby?
It was at that moment that I realized the decision had been made. Jeanine wanted a baby. I wanted a baby. We would make a baby.
Smiling, I looked at the Almond Joys. Each one had a little bulge on top, like a Mounds bar pregnant with an almond. The M&Ms, the ones in the yellow bag, each pregnant with a peanut, bigger and rounder than their smug brethren in the brown bags. I grabbed a six pack of the former and a half-pound bag of the latter, as well as a six pack of Mars bars just out of nostalgia. There was a bottle of wine in the refrigerator. I headed for the checkout. Condoms were available there, too.
I asked for a three-pack of my usual brand and paid for my purchases. The pretty young teenager blushed as she bagged the condoms. I hadn't noticed if she blushed when I asked for them. If she continued in this job, she'd have to get over that. But after today, I wouldn't be contributing to her embarrassment for some time to come - at least nine months, probably more. That thought gave me pause - I'd be competing for Jeanine's attention with our baby. Losing was a foregone conclusion. Could I handle that? If we started a baby tonight, I'd have nine months to express my concerns.
The drive home was all too brief for such thoughts. Parked in the driveway, I could see the flicker of candles in the master bedroom. A single dim lamp showed through the living room window. More preparations than mine were underway. Inhaling deeply, I locked the car and entered the house.
In the living room, the CD player was playing Belafonte. Not my favorite artist, but he was excellent for setting a mood. I turned out the lamp and took my package down the hallway to our bedroom. Half a dozen votive candles (vanilla scented) revealed that Jeanine had gotten a head start. I grinned at the sight.
Each ankle was wrapped in a Velcro cuff. A bungee cord connected a D-ring on each cuff to the brass posts on either side of the foot of the bed. Her wrists were also adorned with cuffs; the right arm held by another bungee cord to the head of the brass bed while the left was still free, and idly caressing a nipple. A "sleeping mask" blindfold was in place as well.
"Couldn't wait for the coin toss?" I asked softly, setting my bag on the low dresser. I deposited keys as well, and began undressing.
"Didn't want to leave the selection to chance," she replied. "I was being a bitch earlier. I deserve to be punished."
Naked, I sat on the bed. I took her left hand, kissed the knuckles, then turned it over and kissed the palm, then the inside of the wrist below the restraint. I extended her arm and pulled the corresponding cord to the limits of its extension to hook in the D-ring of that restraint. I leaned close to her left ear.
"The safe word," I whispered, "is 'condom'. "Use the word at any time, and all activity will be halted for the evening." I licked her earlobe. "Do you understand?" She nodded. "Good. I agree with what you said. You were very bitchy, and I am going to punish you as you have never been punished before."
Her head jerked toward me, causing our noses to collide. Even with her eyes hidden, I could see the question on her face. We play at bondage. Anyone truly into these practices would laugh at how we go about it, alternating dominant and submissive roles, never inflicting real pain. Jeanine now wore all of our equipment except a black cloth gag. We owned and used no whips or clamps, pointy things or penetrating things save what god gave us (except one small vibrator, but that hardly counts).
The torture we performed was that of delaying sweet release, or repeatedly inflicting it, or both. The semblance of bondage merely allowed us the illusion of submission and dominance, to more freely express ourselves, and to experience what we might not otherwise have the courage to seek. Jeanine's face asked if this was about to change.
I gave no clue. Rising, I went to the dresser. I withdrew a single Mars bar and the condoms, then returned to her left side. I unwrapped the Mars bar first, and waved it under her nose. My little chocoholic can smell that scent at fifty paces, through a closed refrigerator door and a sealed Tupperware container. She licked her lips.
.... There is more of this story ...