Susanna let out a long sigh and shook her head, damp brown hair falling into her eyes as she looked at the terracotta pot on the windowsill. The seedlings inside were wilted; their tiny, delicate leaves curled in a mockery of her tender care. She brushed the hair out of her eyes slowly and rubbed one hand across them, defeated. Plants just did not like her, she thought as she drifted out of the kitchen and went back to her computer.
Sue's husband snored upstairs. He worked night shift, which didn't bother her most of the time, but every so often there were mornings she wished he was awake and could cheer her up. Being the only person awake in the house, she got bored ... and boredom usually meant masturbation. She considered her collection of toys, smiling at the achievement of sexual freedom after so many years of shyness, blushing and running from her sexual needs.
Although she had always been shy and quiet, she wasn't always the good girl people expected. Her straight, mouse-brown hair, coke-bottle glasses (now much thinner, thanks to polycarbonate lenses!), and modest clothing gave the impression of a polite, utterly restrained young woman and her demeanor around strangers and co-workers certainly told the same tale. She was smart, and imaginative, and utterly straight-laced. Or so they thought ... if only they knew.
When Susanna was younger she liked to play out little scenes in her imagination. Mostly they were the kinds of things every girl imagines: tossing her head in the wind as her gorgeous palomino mare rocked across an open grassland; the mysterious dark-haired man who would catch up to her on his wild bay stallion and ride laughing alongside. Princes and castles and sometimes even babies. She also liked to imagine other things, though. The strange dark man who took her away from her loving Prince, tied her up and forced himself upon her; the feeling of his rough, bruising kisses and the silk ropes twisting against her wrists. Sometimes alone she acted it out.
Of course, those daydreams didn't last. She got more self-conscious and she stopped thinking about it, out of fear that she would be caught some day and have to explain. When she was very young her father had caught her under the bed with the neighbor boy, exploring each other's genitals. After that, he instituted the rule that she had to leave her bedroom door open; a rule that she broke often but only when he could not hear it close quietly behind her. She was scared of being caught again. She still fantasized, but only in the still hours when the house was asleep and she could whisper to the dark: "Ooh, let me go."
In high school her parents split and her mother moved, taking Sue and her sisters to a new town. Sue fell in with a group of girls who, like her, were less innocent than they looked. Years of exploring their sexuality through solo fantasy were released in giggling sessions at the lunch table, discussing their ideal man, writing horrible stories about sex and wondering about pregnancy.
None of them had boyfriends; Sue was the first to find one at 16. They met online; he lived in Canada. He introduced her to cybersex and she would sneak down to the computer after everyone had gone to bed, sharing fantasies of bondage with him. They would role play, Sue blushing and praying no one woke up for a glass of water as she tried to write descriptions of what she would do to him with no real experience and only an anatomical understanding of sex. They came out in pidgin, a mixture of clinical accuracy and rough slang that surprised her and made him groan with lust anyway. She always deleted the chat logs when they were done, and crept to bed with a tingling in her groin and a pit in her stomach. She knew that Tony masturbated to their late-night sessions. She had not ever masturbated; she had become afraid of it, unsure of its right-ness. She wasn't sure how.
.... There is more of this story ...