What most don't know about you is that you're very, very gentle. When you get what you want, of course. When in pursuit, you're a ravenous animal; your hunger concentrated into a single point, on which you're impaled. But most people are this way! Once you have what you've been seeking, though, you let go. With one breath, you feel your whole being uncoil, and you can again be kind. Which is how you like to be.
Really, it hurt you more than it hurt him.
He's a real little gentleman. He holds open doors for you. He stands when you enter a room. He pulls out your chair for you at the table. You make an off-hand comment about his knowing how to treat a lady, and he takes it to heart. Perhaps, you think, he truly believes that you are a lady. You also suspect that this is all he knows of married life, the business of being a husband: the social intercourse. This will change.
But what's the rush? You have what you want, so patience is a pleasure. Your house isn't luxurious, but there's enough space for him to have his own bedchamber. When you lead him up there (walking behind you, he holds out his hands, to catch you, if you should fall), he's visibly taken aback. “You mean, we don't-” he begins.
You smile. You're not a monster.
The walls aren't excessively thick, and you hear him weeping at night. It's a terrible sound. Somebody should comfort him.
After a while, you tap at his chamber door.
“Yes?” he says, and as you open the door, you hear him sniff back tears.
“Would you like a glass of water?” you ask.
“Water? No. Thank you.”
“Warm milk, perhaps.”
He shakes his head.
He shakes his head again.
“Oh, well. Good night, then.” You turn, and are closing the door when he says, “Wait.”
Smiling, you turn around. “Yes, Wilhelm. What would you like? You've only to ask, and you shall have it.”
It must be so very bad, because he asks, in total sincerity, if he might go home.
“But sweetheart,” you say, your smile bending into a frown, “you are home.”
Of course you're a monster!
You leave him alone for a few nights. In the night, you have ears like a cat, so you hear him still weeping, though he's much quieter, now. When you look in on him again, he asks you to stay.
“Shall I tell you a story?” you ask.
“I'm not a child,” he says, pouting winsomely. You want to bite his lower lip.
“No. Of course not. Though, you're very young, compared to me.”
He asks how old you are.
“Oh, slightly younger than the world. Older than this place. Sometimes, I feel like I was born here, though, in this forest.”
“I thought that hell was a place of fire and brimstone.”
“Hell's a lot of things,” you say.
“Do you like it here?”
Involuntarily, you make a bitter face, but you force yourself to shrug. “It suits me. Don't you think?”
To this, he can say nothing. Finally, he says, “It's lonely.”
You suppose that it is.
“Stay here with me,” he says, “Please.”
“Shall I sleep next to you?”
He's quiet for a moment. Considering, no doubt, what he's actually agreeing to. He nods.
You leave your trousers on, but take off your jacket and your boots, and get into bed.
“Is that what you wear to sleep?” he asks. He pulls his nightshirt and the sheets closer around himself.
“I usually don't wear anything,” you say.
If it's possible, he becomes even paler.
Before he can say anything, you extinguish the lamp. You stay on your side of the bed. In the dead of night, though, at the hour in which it's darkest, and one feels most alone in the world, he wraps his arms around you.
You love this hour. It's when you were born. Had there been no darkness, there would have been no need of light.
You keep your own chamber, but you sleep in his. The first time he sees you undressed, he blushes. For days, he won't hold you. In the dark, though, you feel him let go, and after a time, he resumes sleeping wrapped around you. He's careful to keep his hands still on your skin, and holds his body away from you.
The first time he kisses you, it's in the dark.
“I don't think I'll ever have the chance to do this with anyone else,” he says.
“Probably not,” you say.
In the very dim light of the moon, you see him frown. He's angry, so he sort of hits his mouth against yours.
You laugh. “Oh, don't be like that,” you say gently, and let him try again. Shocked out of his annoyance, he now moves his lips softly against yours. While he starts and has to swallow a gasp, he does permit you to slither your tongue into his mouth.
“Would you like to do that again?” you ask him.
He shakes his head, and turns onto his side, away from you.
But later, in the dead of night, in its silence, you hear him breathing as though exerting himself, almost panting, and he turns around to face you. You caress his cheek, and smooth back his hair, and kiss his forehead and his cheek before his mouth. You gather him up in your arms, and you can feel his heart beating through the textile cathedral of that voluminous nightshirt. You kiss for a long time, his breathing gradually becoming regular, his heart slowing down. He lets you lay your hand on his left breast, and you drift away like this.
He likes to be kissed before he falls asleep. Since you haven't yet forced him to do anything he didn't want to, he feels more comfortable offering. His hand creeps lower down your back. You recline, and let him lie half on top of you. This is beginning to vex you. You're only flesh and blood. But you know that you can wait forever.
You feel his body through his nightshirt; its warmth and shape. You're careful about where you touch him, and how much.
Slowly, you let it be known that you want more of him. At first, he's charmingly oblivious. After a time, it isn't so charming. You remain cool.
You coax, you gentle, you pet. You kiss him deeply but softly. You let him see that you mean him no harm.
You pull him on top of you completely. You spread your legs, and let them entangle with his. Like the step of a malfunctioning clock, you feel the slightest pulse of movement of his hips. He's perfectly still as you pull up his nightshirt, exposing the backs of his thighs. Then, a little bit more. You can't reach all the way down there, but the skin you can feel is luxuriously soft.
“Please,” he whispers, his face pressed into the pillow under your head.
“Please, what?” you ask, as always, surprised at how innocent you can make yourself sound.
He shakes his head. Why, he just doesn't know!
You smooth your hand over his hip, not going anywhere in particular, just touching for the sake of touching. You stroke him like one would to calm a spooked horse. Though, of course, this does nothing to make him less agitated. You feel his hips move again, his back arch slightly. You kiss him, and feel in him, for the first time, hunger.
“Like this?” you ask, and pushing aside the nightshirt, move your hand down between his legs.
The sound he makes is extraordinary.
“Perhaps you'd better take this off,” you say, pinching the sleeve of his nightshirt with your other hand, “It is getting in the way.”
He looks down at you, utterly shocked, but then, he nods, and rises slightly to wriggle out of it.
“There,” you murmur, “that's so much better.” You kiss his bare shoulder, his throat, run your hands down his back. You permit yourself to scratch him very lightly. “An accident,” you say, when he gives you a betrayed look, “I'm very sorry, dearest.”
But that's forgotten when you begin to touch him again. He's not so very young, but inexperience has left him with the nerves of an adolescent. Almost instantly, he's hard in your hand, and you don't really have to do anything. He fucks himself against the palm of your hand, your fingers gently closing around him. He comes, with his face against your neck, breathing out infernally hot.
He looks at you, completely helpless.
Smiling indulgently, you find a handkerchief, wipe him clean. Gently, you lay him down again, kiss his mouth. He might as well have not come at all, for how tense he remains, how agonizingly taut. You kiss his throat, his breast. Let down your hair, and allow it to brush his sensitive skin. When he's hard again, you suck his cock. This takes slightly longer, so you get to know him better. This is one of the few places people are forced to be themselves. He's selfish. It's all right. So are you.
You get up, spit in the chamber pot.
He gets out of bed, as well, stands before you in the light of the moon, all rounded shoulders and long legs. Unshod, you're a bit shorter than him. When you look up at him, you do so softly. Haltingly, he kisses you. Moves his hands inexpertly over your body. His hands are very soft. He would have taken that girl away from her family, to the city, which was the only place he might make a living, and she would have hated him. She would have been all alone, with no one to look at or talk to or cling to but this man she didn't actually know at all.
It's funny how things sometimes work out.
You guide him for a while, then make him do it on his own. He feels something, you know. That cannot be faked. Something beyond curiosity or gratitude. In the grip of his fingers and the motion of his wrist, you feel, you know, the beginnings of love.
And then, you know, you really have him.
The next morning, he can't look at you.
The next night, however--
You won't extinguish the lamp. He pouts and frets, and refuses to touch you until you do.
“That's fine,” you say, “I can just read until I'm tired.”
You get out of bed. You stretch, your eyes closed in contentment, showing him what he's missing.
“Where are you going?” he asks. The expression on his face brings a pang of delight, low in your belly.
“To find a book, dearest,” you say, and extend your hand toward the bookcase.
A little bubble of sound: “Oh.” He's relieved. You really must be kinder to him.
Soon, but not yet.
You stand with your back to him, deliberating. You shift your weight from side to side, making a sinuous line with your hips. Absently, you toss your head, sweep your hair aside, exposing your shoulders. This will take a while. You have a lot of books.
You choose one, and get back into bed. You sit quite close to him, allowing him to look at the page, if he'd like. He doesn't.
He sighs. “Please,” he says.
“Please, what?” You don't lift your eyes from the words.
“Please kiss me,” he says. He sounds so totally defeated that you take pity on him. One kiss, and you turn out the light. You take off his nightshirt, cover his body with yours.
“But your knee,” he says.
“What about it?” Your voice narrows to a point.
“Can it bear your weight? Doesn't it hurt?”
You hadn't actually thought about it. Not for a very long time. “Yes,” you say quietly.
“Just lie back,” he says, and you let him move you. He's careful, repositioning your legs gently. What the hell is going on?
“I feel better with the lights out,” he says redundantly.
“Don't you like to look at me?” you ask.
“It's hard,” he says, then realizing the poor choice of words, adds, “It's difficult.”
“And why's that?”
“I don't- I didn't- I'm not... used to this.”
“Really? You? You're so lovely, though. I would have thought that you'd have a lot of sweethearts.”
“That's kind of you to say, but you know that I didn't.”
Hmm. This is depressing you. “Well, you have, now, a very ardent admirer.” You lean up and kiss him. His reservations rend like wet paper.
You hadn't allowed yourself to want him. That's what always gets lost in a game you want to win: why you're actually playing. You can barely allow yourself to want him, now. He's still so new, and there's so much that he doesn't know. Too much at once, and you'll break something that can't be mended. You only lose if he stops wanting you.
It's a parody of what he would have been doing with that girl. He on top, you beneath. You make love to him with the motion of your body, letting him rub against you until he comes. You bite his shoulder, but only very slightly. The look he gives you is unreadable. He kisses you with surprising roughness. You like that.
It's as though there's an understanding between you, now. He has, you think, come to accept that his place is with you. He's not unhappy about it. In bed, everything he knew before completely slips away. Nothing else could exist in the world. So, it's easy for him to do what you want him to do. Which he thinks was all his idea. You're very pleased with yourself.
When it's happening, he seems relieved to have finished. Yet, later, it's he who comes to you. He puts his hands on your body as though it were his own. He goes down on you without being asked. Not very well, the first few times. But it's the thought that counts.
It brings to him the negative image of a bloom. It's not roses, but jasmine. Night-blooming. He was always gently pretty, a little bit too awkward to be beautiful, but now, you know him, and he's irresistible. You kiss him in the sitting room, at midday. He looks horrified. “But what if someone were to see?” he gasps. He doesn't remember where he is. You laugh, and go upstairs.
He follows you. He could hardly do anything else. In the light of midday, you undress him, and suck him off, sitting at the edge of the bed. You venture a finger to his perineum, and he moans as though injured. You continue to touch him there as he comes. His movements are jagged. He even pulls your hair.
As soon as he's come back to himself, he apologizes.
“It's quite all right,” you say. You'll let him make it up to you. You explore him further- though, only as far as a fingertip. Even lubricated, it's too much for him. He begs you to stop. You do, and he apologizes again.
You'll let him make it up to you. Against you, he trembles, and you soothe him. After that, he's very accommodating. He's learned how to bargain. He won't let you near his ass, but he'll let you fuck his mouth. He's never looked more delicious to you. You have to find a way to convince him, now.
It's no longer enough to have him at night. You wake up, and your hands seek him out. You're touching him before you're fully awake. It's like you breathe life into him. Beneath your hands, his blood inhabits his veins; his breath colors his tissues. His concern for your knee was obviously a ruse. He likes being on top because it makes him think that he can control you. It's too funny. You can't not be charmed.
To make someone want something, you must make them watch you enjoy it first. You tell him to fuck you.
“I can't,” he says, his eyes wide.
“You seem to have the necessary components,” you say, winding your hand down between your bodies.
“I'd hurt you,” he says quietly.
“While I appreciate the thought, I'm no virgin bride.”
Every possible emotion must go through him, almost at once. He never learned to lie, even when silent. His heart is laid bare for you. He feels such a sense of loss, of mourning. He feels disgust. He feels anger. He feels resentment. It's relief he settles on, after trying out all of the rest. And curiosity. “You promise I won't hurt you?”
“On my honor.” You couldn't resist that.
In the beginning, he fusses a bit about dirtiness. You're not entirely sure if he means literal or figurative dirt. You promise him a long, hot bath in scented water. This is enough to mollify him. He asks you again if it'll hurt. You tell him that you've done this many times. Many, many times. Jealousy's a good inducement, too; no one likes to think of someone else touching their things. You turn onto your side.
You're prepared to flatter him, but you don't really have to. His caution serves you both; he's in no hurry, he takes his time with you. At first, it's awkward, but it would be. You can only provide so much education. He's alone in this, alone in his body. As you are, in yours.
“Can I try it in a different way?” he asks.
“In what way would that be?”
“Can we do it face-to-face? Is that possible?”
Is that possible? You love him. You absolutely love him. “Yes, sweetheart.”
You rearrange yourselves. Now, neither of you can hide. He moves slowly, at first. You make some more adjustments. The sounds you let out are exaggerated, but not pantomime. When your fingers hook into his shoulders, his hips, it's with real urgency. For the first time in a long time, you're afraid. He'll finish before you, and then, it'll be over. He could do other things for you- but, no; it must be this way. It can't be at another time, after he's learned to control it. It has to be now. You tell him to slow down. He thinks he's hurt you. Is that triumph in the seeming confirmation of his fears?
“No, darling. I just don't want it to be over yet.”
He blushes. You kiss him. You direct the angle of his hips, the depth of penetration. You try to control it. Of course, it all falls apart, and then, you're holding onto him, stupid, half-dead of need, fucking yourself harder than he ever could. When he comes, he's not much more dignified. There is, at least, that.
You fall asleep together in the bath.
You forget why you started to do this. It becomes its own end. You're stuffed into a crack of twitching arousal, and you can't get out; you can't even see the light of day. This must be terribly comfortable for him. He's finally found a way to pretend that everything is as it should be. In the dark, the tight grip of your body, your long hair- he could be with her. Is this what he tells himself?
What everyone knows about you is that you are cruel. You give up fucking him for a while. Instead, you go down on him several times a day. You move your mouth around. You use your hands. You touch him in ways you know he doesn't like. Now, though, he is willing to tolerate it. You know that it's because he now knows. He'd be lying if he said that he didn't wonder. You satisfy his curiosity. You shatter him with one finger. Afterwards, he looks at you like he doesn't know you at all.
That night, though, he asks you to do it again.
“What you did, earlier.”
You never tire of this game. You could play it in your sleep. “I did a lot of things to you earlier.”
He sighs. “Could you put your finger inside of me?”
“Inside you how?” you smile, “In your mouth? I don't see the appeal, but anything for you, darling.”
“Up my ass.”
“Yes, of course. You've only to ask, and I will do anything you want.”
He lies on his side, facing you, and you fuck him slowly as you kiss his mouth and his throat. It takes some time, but you make him come without touching his cock. He's ashamed, but he's grateful. Your two favorite things. You let him fuck you again. He's rough. He apologizes. You tell him that he can make it up to you. With terrible sincerity, he promises that he will.
You hurt him the first time. It's impossible that you wouldn't. He endures. Anyone else would stop there, and call that a victory, but hell wasn't built on sufferance. It's built on love. If you didn't love your doom, you'd just leave. This is hell's secret. Every sinner loves their sin, because it's theirs. They love their punishment, too.
But you're not here to punish him. You kiss him and caress him. You suck his cock until he forgets what pain is. The next time, it's better for him. So, it's better for you. You've only ever wanted to make him happy. It was one of the very first things you told him. You meant it then, and you mean it, now.
Soon, you must tell him that he's not the only one. Surely, he knew. He had to have known. You couch it in terms of your age and experience: he doesn't want you to get bored, does he? If that were to happen, who knows where it might lead?
Eventually, you give him the facts of life: he is, and always was, free to leave this place. And he does leave. He tries to, anyway. He must learn, as all do, that freedom isn't the same thing as security. Certainly, you can choose to do whatever you like- and then, you must live with whatever happens next. No outcome is guaranteed.
The longest he's gone is a few days. It infuriates you how much you miss him. Yet, it's only gladness and lightness when he returns. Ragged and thin, with the look of having had a nasty shock. You almost pity him. That, however, implies some degree of uncertainty. You always knew that he'd return. To your welcoming arms. To your warm bed. It was just a matter of when.
You know all about eventualities. They're all you have. Wilhelm might feel bound, trapped, but of course, it's you who cannot leave. Your fate was written long ago, and cannot be scratched out. Still, how you long, however futilely, to snap the pen.
When he comes back, you keep him in bed for days. To make up for lost time, he says, with an ironic smile, because he knows that he has nothing but time.
“The future's a dead man's bowels, dearest. Are you really going to reach in there in the hope that he might have swallowed his fillings, and you'll find gold? This is where your treasure lies. In this moment.”
But you worry. All you do is worry. Humans are stupid, but with stupidity comes persistence. They'll keep working on a problem until they solve it, or they die. Wilhelm, of course, doesn't have those concerns. If the problem is them, they'll change who they are. They'll become someone new. Someone who no longer needs you. If you haven't made him love you, you have a problem. Free will lasts as long as the soul. God, how you hate them.
But you love them, and you need them, and the thought of living without them makes you feel as empty as you know you are. You feel empty, and you ache, and the world is falling down around you, so you hold onto him, the last thing you remember giving you joy.
Well, now- you've broken the first rule: never use your own product, because you will get hooked.