We breathe and recalibrate, get up and shake ourselves off. The party is soon. In bold calligraphy across my arm, something is written on the tender softness of my skin, but The Photographer will not tell me what it says, only that it is true and that people ought to know. I shiver in anticipation, the flash of exposure across the evening.
I have a secret, and it strips me bare more than the spatter of spit across my face, or the tooth-rattling shake of bare knuckles on skin, pulsing, exploding, and the fear is low and hollow in the pit of my stomach. It is raw and tender and I am dying to tell.
I whisper to The Photographer, who squeezes my thigh. Her grasps are powerful, her gestures possessive, and I lean into them in comfort and sheer allure. I am friendly, provocative, all things that come out when I am drunk on alcohol and responsibility and lust, a natural charm bubbling up from my limbs and throat when the cards are in my hand and my feet are firmly on the ground. It is one of my more favorable moments, a balance I can enjoy and wield with effortless pleasure.
I quickly ease into the delight of social interaction and attention, and the secret thrill of the hunt as I am pursued from room to room, one or another alighting their gaze upon me, beckoning with a finger, gesturing toward a door. On the couch, The Photographer slides her hand underneath me, effortlessly chatting and waving hello as she squeezes me and holds me to her. I am drunk on the chase, the reverberations stemming from our interactions. People notice the grip on the back of my head, the way my voice falters when my thigh is pinched and I struggle to maintain composure. In the shadow of a smoky room, voices all around us, The Writer holds me in the corner and slips one, then two fingers down my throat, never breaking eye contact, never hesitating. The world moves around us and we stop completely.
It is then that I tell them both my secret, three seconds of waiting shivering in the back of my throat, and to my delight, they curl into me, they memorize my curves and cartography by the lashes they leave and the kisses they nuzzle into the smooth hollow of my neck. We are getting closer, to something bright and beautiful.
“I like you both a lot.”
The Writer slips her hand in mind. “Come with me,” and I shadow her down the hall. We close the door to the noise and slip away.
Her tongue reels inside of me, voracious and insistent, and sucks on my skin. The blood rushes to my skin as if compelled by invisible magnets, and she of the iron muscle holds me as I writhe, my own private resistance, and I come in a small, charmed cry, swallowed by the darkness of the room and the fervent noise outside. The Photographer tiptoes in and we shut the door to the world and trip into unconsciousness.
In the morning, on the floor, I look at my arm as the belt slaps down across my shoulders. I have nuzzled into The Writer in somnolence, and now, the letters loom. I thought it said something pejorative at first, the characters drying into my skin with each careful brush stroke. What it says, The Photographer tells me, crouching over me with the belt taut across my throat, is, “I am a human,” and to me that is the most heartbreaking of truths as I am stretched and teased to a point most delicate.
She is inside of me to the hilt, and I have lost control. I have slipped, fallen away, and am staring dizzily at the sky, my chest heaving with tears. Her hand slaps down on my chest, pressing me tighter, compressing into her, deeper. It is the kindness in her eyes that finally breaks me, the immense trust we are connecting to each other from arm to pussy to eyes to quickly beating hearts and I come and I sob and I am held until I can breathe without shuddering.
We are not yet finished, and I am strung up with soft cotton rope and placed, gently, on my stomach. Rubber bands are stretched around the soles of my feet, incense sticks lit and placed in between skin and security and lit. I shiver and dance as the ash falls, a quick jolt of miniscule lightening where it lands on my skin. I am fallout and dusk, the shadows in my curves greying and sparking as I squirm under the palpable gaze of my partners. Each strike of the matches sends me reeling, shaking to a new place.
The match is lit in front of my nose, a magic trick in triplet and I seize as if possessed, swallow the fear, and blow it out. The slap that ensues is satisfying, heavy on my skin as the arms draped over me and holding me to the ground, to a solid, grounded state alight on anticipation and anxious craving. The clove cigarette smoke swirls around me, the ashes flicked to my skin, propelled by a flinch and a yelp. I want it! I want it all! says my greed, says my soul. Let me take your cock, let me feel it heavy and slick on my throat, my fluids rising to accommodate unnatural delight that I suck down in inches and girth. Tease me, please me, hit me, I want to see, even if it’s dark, where I can go and where I have been.
I am reluctant to use such extreme modifiers- never, best, most, ever, but in that moment of white-pure clarity in my mind, their eyes before mine (say it) I cannot recall another time (say it) when I have felt so close to methodized calm like that. I swallow my fears like small doses of poison, their quickly flaring ashes and cold trickles of water bruise at the surface and seep down into the skin, they make me think and swim down to the depths of my thoughts and see what I am working with. They do what they do because they care and damn it, because they understand. The slaps are real, the burn lingers, and it is all what it is, nothing shrouded. I am a girl aflame, a woman choked by beauty and firm hands all around her and all the time to gaze.
And I say, “You can do anything to me,” and I mean it.