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I.

A moment arrives when the night peels back its dim rind and there is no darkness, no light; nothing but Jamie inside her, tipping her into blissful annihilation. Dani fists handfuls of bedsheets, cants her hips in perfect accommodation, and savors every stern pump of Jamie’s wrist until the moan escaping her exhausts itself. Lips graze her neck, trailing a rough whisper of encouragement along flushed skin, “That’s it, baby... Fuck. You’re so ready for me, aren’t you?”

On any other evening, Jamie’s affirmation would’ve been deemed comically misplaced or belated. But as searing heights of pleasure slowly drain from Dani’s bones, leaving behind a deep and pacifying ache in every cord of accountable muscle, she’s inclined to agree. Because this — incredibly, delightfully — only preludes something they’ve been easing into for weeks.

Like most new preoccupations, it started as cautious conversation. This deep into their relationship, which has cruised summers of contentment with little need for bedroom supplements beyond their native capabilities, anything unexplored is liable to be discussed at the mercy of blush-tinged laughter and thinly-veiled truths. 

Honest and eloquent propounding in the privacy of their apartment quickly devolved into jokes. Days after their first discussion, Dani snuck distracting workplace innuendo between shelves, earning her a faceful of wilting display flowers headed for compost. On an evening where Dani prepared a dinner salad over a cutting board, Jamie slyly lifted an intact cucumber of considerable girth from an assortment of vegetables and held it suspiciously erect. Trying to appear unaffected even through playfulness, Dani promptly confiscated and chopped the cucumber in half, to Jamie’s mock-dismay. 

Inevitably, their exchanges fueled fantasies. It’s unprecedented, how merely bouncing a single unsubstantiated concept between them made for very satisfying sex. Just last week, Jamie whispered obscenities into Dani’s ear about how she would adore bedding her with both hands free to touch her, pull her hair, and hold her angled and steady for the relentless drive of her hips. 

“Gonna fill you up so good,” Jamie had groaned against Dani’s shoulder while rehearsing such an arrangement. She’d entangled their legs, laced their fingers together to pin them down, and ground into Dani with near-bruising force and desperation. Breathless, Jamie had said, “I’ll make you come hard for me, make you whine... make a mess of you...”

And Dani, brought suddenly to her finish through sheer wistfulness for Jamie to have her precisely as described, determined that yes, she does want it. Very much. Since its first broaching Dani hasn’t thought of anything else, whether her hands are on Jamie or herself. She keeps slipping down that tempting slope, knowing nothing else will adequately preoccupy her until they’ve realized it at least once, for curiosity’s sake. 

The appeal is, undoubtedly, the reintroduction of a first. Unknown territory. A risk. Nerves twisting and writhing inside Dani’s stomach as if in anticipation of Jamie touching her for the first time. She’s a touched-starved innocent all over again, trembling with overripe eagerness for a hardly novel sensation.

And now they’re finally on the precipice with everything they need: the coveted instrument, a conscientious application of lubricant, and time spent working Dani into post-orgasmic relaxation. Jamie’s knees sharply indent the mattress upon scooting closer, positioning herself. Once she’s ready, Dani drapes a hand over the back of Jamie’s neck, fingertips teasing her hairline for reassurance, then offers a leg to her open hand. Jamie fits her palm under Dani’s knee, hooks the limb around her waist, and braces them together.

Dani’s heart is lodged in her throat while her pulse lives squarely in her groin, pounding with enough wild pressure to simmer blood. Above her, Jamie is rapt and beautiful with concentration; lips parted for uneasy breaths, cheeks flushed pink. Jamie in her careful sweetness, fingertips fussing over the swell of Dani’s hip in their effort to keep her still. Jamie burning with lust, as exhilarated as Dani by notions of unbridled ravishing and pent-up release.

It nudges between Dani’s legs, slick and unnaturally cold on the satiny skin of her inner thighs. Jamie delivers friction on slow, experimental thrusts, gliding through pouting flesh left sensitive and luscious through copious attention. She’s a single dip of her pelvis from sinking inside. Dani can’t contain her small keening sounds of anticipation, which only rile Jamie into impatience. 

Barely, she parses Jamie’s redundant but considerate request for permission, “That okay? Can I—?”

Yes,” she answers, one syllable imbued with a month’s worth of suspense. 

Jamie gives a low groan in sympathy. While fitting the tip against her, she strains to confess, “Fuck, just want to...” She represses an aggressive jog of her hips to a subtle twitch in her thighs. The unmistakable urge to be brusque ignites a blaze somewhere deep in Dani’s belly, and along with it, a flare of trepidation that normally would’ve been eclipsed by sheer magnitude of arousal. 

But it grows, billows, until the entire sky above her head is awash in fire. 

When Jamie slowly eases into her, Dani finds the intrusion wider and vaguer than her fingers, comparable to three held in tandem. Dani tries to relax and acclimate as Jamie gives her more, but a surge of old anxiety leeches all air from her lungs and all enjoyment from the sensation, replacing both with thick, souring dread. It’s as though she’s reached for a fruit bowl’s succulent sunset-hued peach, ready to indulge in sweet flesh and nectar, only to roll it over and discover a face consumed by festering rot. As in such a situation, here too, Dani recoils. 

She gasps and makes a sound of acute distress, hands splaying on Jamie’s chest. “Stop,” Dani whimpers, squeezing her eyes shut as she recants her hips, desperate to be rid of it. 

Jamie stops immediately. “What’s wrong? Am I hurting you?” To Dani’s relief, she pulls out the rest of the way and tries to discern the cause for quick, short breaths and stuttering speech.

“No, it’s just— I don’t... I-I’m...”

“Hey, hey. Shh. Easy. Dani, what’s wrong? What happened?”

Miraculously, Dani avoids advancing the single additional step that would’ve plunged her into full-blown panic. Jamie’s hand cradling and stroking her cheek helps soothe her nerves. Dani opens her eyes to see utmost concern swimming in Jamie’s stare, and expresses to her, “I just... I just remembered something and I...” 

“Remembered something?” Jamie echoes, intense. “What something could make you react like that?”

“It was a long time ago.”

With every passing second, Jamie burrows deeper into a vile misinterpretation. “Give me a name,” she says, jaw tight, voice cold with bitter rage. “Give me a name and I’ll go back a murderer, I fucking swear to God—”

“Jamie,” Dani pleads for her to listen and understand. “It was just... him. You know. Eddie.”

Fury evaporates from Jamie’s features, but in its place develops dark rumination. She flops down into the space beside Dani on the bed and asks, “Did he ever hurt you?”

“No.” After drawing the bedsheet over her nakedness, Dani absently fixates upon the ceiling’s cloudy orange peel texture and says, “I mean— Well, no. Not like that.”

“Like what, Dani? Did he or did he not—” Abruptly, Jamie shuts her eyes and exhales, dialing back from anger once more. She decides, “You don’t have to answer. I’m not going to make you talk about it. I just go absolutely fucking mental, at the idea of someone hurting you.”

“It wasn’t on purpose,” Dani volunteers. “I know it wasn’t. It was mainly uncomfortable and annoying, and I’d just wait for it to be over. But, yeah.” She thickly swallows, trying to keep her voice from wavering. “Sometimes it would— you know. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, it was just... a consequence of doing those things.

“Sorry? Are you telling me that you assumed hurting is due course, and not the product of some dog-brained moron who can’t find his own knob in the dark? Or the fact that you weren’t keen at all while doing it?” 

“Isn’t it?” Dani peers at her with genuine inquisition.

Horror sets in Jamie’s expression. “So all this time, leading up to tonight, you were, what? Waiting for me to hurt you?”

Dani looks away, her answer inferred from silence.

“Jesus,” Jamie breathes, lifting a hand to rub her face. 

At length, Dani explains, “I guess I figured it’d be a little like when you pull my hair, or bite me. I like those things. So maybe I’d like this too, since it’s you this time. But at the last second... I got scared.”

“Dani,” says Jamie, firmly iterating, “it’s not supposed to hurt. When it hurts you’re doing something wrong. Doesn’t matter who it’s with, or what you’re using. Okay?” She awaits Dani’s nod. Once she receives it, Jamie moves to recline on her pillow in dour thought, but another detail pounces upon her. “Hang on. What about me?”

“Huh?”

“Were you planning on hurting me when it was my turn?”

“What? No!” In truth, Dani hadn’t considered the possibility. She sheepishly reveals, “Because I, um. I didn’t realize you’d want to.”

“Uh, yeah,” Jamie affirms as though it were the most obvious fact in the world. “I do. Sorry if I was ever unclear about that.” She sighs, faintly agitated, and sits up to grumble, “Let me just— I’ll be back. Gonna take this stupid thing off...”

Over the ensuing fifteen minutes, few words are exchanged between them. Dani awkwardly shuffles past Jamie on her way to the bathroom, avoids her gaze while dressing for bed, and absconds to the kitchen for a glass of water and a moment of pensive solitude that quickly withers into regret. She only composes a complete statement once she’s tucked in bed, watching Jamie fasten the crimson buttons of her nightshirt over her chest. 

Dani says, “I’m sorry.”

The glance Jamie affords her is pointed with confusion. She focuses on her last two buttons, replying, “Don’t know why you’re apologizing. As if you’ve done anything wrong.” After switching off the lamp, she slides beneath the covers and settles in. 

Once her vision adjusts to the darkness, Dani perceives her stoic expression and responds, “I know you were excited to try it.”

“You were, too,” Jamie points out. “It’s fine. Sometimes things go south unexpectedly. It’s part of life. But the whole point is having fun, isn’t it? Feeling good? If that’s not happening, we stop.”

Dani ponders aloud, while peering up at the void collecting in the ceiling, “I kinda wish I hadn’t stopped you.”

“Dani,” Jamie speaks austerely, “you were freaking out.”

“Maybe if I gave it a minute I would’ve liked it.”

Sheets rustle as Jamie turns to face her with incredulity. “So you would’ve had me doing you through a literal panic attack? Christ, Dani. I don’t want to hurt you by saying this, but I think you need to hear it: you... are holding onto some truly disturbing ideas about sex. I could never do that to you. You shouldn’t ever do that to yourself. Where’s all this coming from?”

“I don’t know,” Dani answers on the edge of a sob.

In actuality, she does know. It is learned, imprinted, inveterate. Enduring for appeasement defined her life before Jamie, growing her in a world whose atmosphere was almost too heavy to breathe, where unbidden hands upon her body contorted affection into agony, and agony into affection. Dani had presumed herself free of those influences over the last few years with Jamie, who had brought such weightless clarity to the bedroom, transforming a place of exclusive anxiety into one of pure delight. 

Now Dani is looking back and registering the presence of this vestigial, wrought-iron burden. She’s been dragging it behind her unknowingly this entire time, and now that its tethering chain has expended its slack, Dani can feel again its great heavy mass pressing down.  

 

II.

Restlessness plagues Dani throughout the night. On Saturday morning she rises in a fog of discontent, discovers Jamie’s side of the bed empty and cold, and trudges dismally alone through her routine. When she emerges into the front room, Dani stalls upon the sight of a velvety bouquet of plum-hearted white calla lilies and fresh lavender sprigs, bundled into a glass vase. Beside its perch on the kitchen island is a carton of strawberries. Jamie stands nearby. She’s dressed to propriety and still has her shoes on, setting a kettle to boil on the stovetop. 

“Morning,” Jamie greets her with a glance, lending no indication of anything particularly atypical. “Ran a few errands earlier. Got the post, picked up some groceries, dry cleaning.” She retrieves a mug from the cupboard above her head, shows it to Dani, and asks, “You want some? I’m making Earl Grey myself, but I suppose I can make your coffee.”

“What’s this?” Dani asks, grazing her fingertips along the bouquet’s cellophane wrap. There’s a white card with her name on it attached to a stick protruding from the lovely arrangement. She pulls it from a two-pronged pinch.

“Those?” Jamie adjusts the flame under the kettle, replying simply, “Those are flowers.”

A tiny smile wrestles its way to Dani’s lips. “Yes, they’re flowers. But what for?” 

“For you. It’s on the card, right? Or did I spell your name wrong?”

“Not this time,” Dani jokes, then opens the card to Jamie’s brisk, slanted penmanship. She reads:

Dani, I know we always keep plenty of flowers around the flat, but I put these together specifically for you. I love you, sweetheart. I’ll always take good care of you, treat you exactly as you deserve: tenderly, attentively, passionately. I ache to please you. I ache to give you all the happiness in the world. x Jamie

She lowers the card to the surface of the island, fondling its corners with gentle appreciation before saying, “They’re beautiful. Thank you.”

Jamie sends her a sweet smile from over her shoulder. 

Breakfast proceeds without a word regarding last night. Dani trims the flower stems, dissolves an aspirin tablet in their vase of water, then eats half a dozen strawberries with her fried eggs and buttered toast. Their sugary tartness brightens her meal’s rich disposition. Seated beside her, Jamie mops up a river of runny yellow yolk with her toast before reaching for the strawberry carton to chase the bite with a mouthful of red. They eat at the island in the company of Dani’s fragrant, gorgeous bouquet, infusing the kitchen’s mood with heady decadence. 

While sipping her tea, Dani stares into the calla lilies. She admires the contrast of ivory spathes suddenly blushing deep violet around the spadices delicately protruding from their cores. They’re a bashful sight; shy, secret, and vulnerable. Yet completely hopeful — even from the protective embrace of their gentle petal sheaths — for a chance to proliferate. Affection and yearning coil like a mass of vines through Dani’s chest as she thinks, in awe, about how incapable they are of hurting anyone. 

She thinks about the calla lilies all day, bringing visions of their blushing centers through her daily motions. She sees their illusory aspects superimposed over the text of a yellowing paperback novel from the library. She smells their subtle perfume mingling with the familiar dusky scent on Jamie’s collar when they steal a kiss in the hallway. That evening, Dani suspends dinner preparation to lift a calla lily from the vase. She holds it low in front of herself, slowly rotates its stem, and contemplates its innocence until she must tend a sauce simmering in a pan. 

At night, when Dani is sunken into a warm, lilac candle-lit bath, floating a lily inflorescence over her abdomen in hopeful reconciliation, she closes her eyes and thinks about Jamie. Her hand takes the place of her own, slotting between her legs. The enveloping water is Jamie’s mouth wherever she needs it, leaving her skin wet and hot in wake of reverential, open kisses. She imagines hands on her spine reeling her in, presenting her bared chest like a feast for soft lips. And she imagines, without restraint, how Jamie might feel rutting into her, filling her wonderfully, each stroke firm yet sweet with equal doting and desire. She dares to believe it’ll feel good, only good, and that when Jamie makes her come, it’ll be an easy and inevitable happening, and pleasure will suffuse her like gentle sunlight, unantagonized. 

While watching feeble reflected candlelight ripple around her flexing wrist, Dani makes a decision. 

Jamie is determining ownership of socks as she folds laundered pairs, and whether that even matters anymore, when Dani accosts her in the bedroom. She declares, “I want to try it again.”

A sock silently falls to the floor upon slipping through Jamie’s failed grip. “Huh? You... what?” She kneels to scoop it up, but misses her target while still looking at Dani. Jamie recovers the sock on her second attempt. 

“Can we try it again? I know yesterday didn’t go so well, but I’ve been thinking about it, and thinking about what you said, and—”

“Dani,” Jamie interrupts to assure her, “you don’t have to. Not everything is a problem to be fixed. Some things just are, and that’s okay. It’s okay not to like certain things, for whatever reason you may have.”

“That’s the thing, though,” Dani says, fidgeting her fingers around the sleeve of her bathrobe. “My reason is something that isn’t even true. You said it doesn’t have to be... uncomfortable.”

With an earnest shake of her head, Jamie replies, “No. Not at all.” She blandly tosses a sock into an open dresser drawer. 

“I keep thinking about it. I can’t stop thinking about it. And, about how I don’t want a bad experience to ruin a good one with you. That’s why I want to try again.”

Seeking total certainty, Jamie asks, “You’re sure?”

Dani nods. “Yeah. I mean... I’m still kind of nervous about it, but...”

As Dani trails off, Jamie withdraws into thought. By her willfully blank expression Dani can tell she’s mulling something substantial over, and awaits her conclusion. Seconds elapse, and with some audible trepidation, Jamie supposes, “You know, if you’re... still nervous, I could, um. I could show you how it can be nice. You could do it to me first. Would you want that?”

Coherent speech abandons Dani as her throat spontaneously dries. She requires a moment to regather her words before responding, “Would I even know how to do it right?”

“You will,” says Jamie. “I’ll show you. You will.”

 

III.

Jutting from her lap, it looks absurd and distinctly imposing. To Dani’s wary sensibilities the glistening silicone rests on Jamie’s groin with the weight and spirit of a fist, igniting substantial worry over how Jamie will accommodate it without discomfort. Still there lingers in her mind a shadow of violence, fearing she only stands to cause harm. 

Jamie — bare, dimly illuminated by a single warm-hued lamp, and pressed into the bedsheets beneath her — offers an item of advice, “Can you, um. Can you get me ready, first?” 

Dani blushes at the obviousness of her request. Of course she wouldn’t have attempted penetration right away, but due to her long hesitance, it isn’t unwarranted for Jamie to err on the side of caution. Even now, she struggles to decide where to start. Jamie is so vulnerable and receptive in her waiting, giving herself completely to Dani’s reassurance. The gesture is overwhelmingly sweet. Initiation should’ve been instinctual, aspiring to return the passionate consideration Jamie has afforded her. But it’s not. Not while under so much pressure. 

“What do you want me to do?” Dani asks, each knee framed by one of Jamie’s legs arranged in a loose straddle. “Do you want something specific? Tell me and I’ll do it. Whatever you want.”

“Just—” Jamie’s voice dips low with strained anticipation, already affected by her position and predicament. “Just... touch me, okay? Improvise from there.”

Dani has an idea to help them along. While smoothing her hands up Jamie’s chest, she says, “Can you tell me about it? How to do it right?” She palms her breasts and lightly squeezes, settling into a slow, kneading massage. 

Jamie shuts her eyes, hands reflexively groping for Dani’s wrists to weather the attention. “Like what?” She grunts. 

“Like... how to make sure it’ll feel good.” 

“Not an expert, obviously,” Jamie says. Her breathing shallows and trembles as Dani introduces a thigh between her legs. “But there’s... givens. You start slow, and—” A sigh truncates her statement. Dani has started rubbing against her, firm and exacting. “You... You make sure you’re ready first. Properly.”

“Ready how?” Dani inquires. A small, closed-lipped moan rises from Jamie as Dani punctuates a caress with a pinch. She knows Jamie’s meaning. But she wants to hear her say it aloud.

Ever obliging, Jamie weakly answers, “Aroused.” When Dani lowers her mouth to replace one hand, Jamie struggles to continue. Her next emitted words are brittle or outright broken, as Dani seals her lips onto the tender skin of her breast. “And... wanting it,” Jamie utters. “When you’re... so desperate, it’s all you think about.”

Dani hums around the nipple she’s drawn into a kiss, encouraging Jamie to continue. 

“When you’re... wet,” Jamie trembles, a bit dreamy and distant, “and... longing for someone to touch you, or—” She makes a tiny undignified sound when Dani swipes a warm tongue over her skin and sucks gently, then hard for a moment, before releasing her with a wet parting kiss. “Or... take inside you... just for the relief.

Another moan escapes Jamie’s lips as Dani grinds into her with increasing enthusiasm. The delectable sight of her, overwrought and yearning, draws Dani toward her mouth. She dips her head to kiss her, inspiring Jamie to fold arms around her neck and thread fingers into her hair. Surprisingly, Jamie is the first to run her tongue along Dani’s bottom lip. She pulls it between hers and sucks on it until Dani opens their kiss. When Dani replaces her well-used thigh, slick from Jamie’s thorough appreciation, with her hand, Jamie hums into her mouth at the lazy circles drawn with a thumb.

Dani severs their deep kiss to say, “Tell me when you want me inside you.”

Obviously riveted by the suggestion, Jamie groans and manages to respond between ragged sighs, “Use your fingers, for now?”

She slides one inside her, meeting no resistance during its easy glide. Her digit’s soft, effeminate profile torments Jamie through slow and drawn-out thrusts, curling deliberately at each withdrawal. Even upon alleviating Jamie’s craving to be touched, it’s not enough. It only inflames her impatience. Graciously, one finger becomes two, albeit maintaining the same tortuous pace. 

Jamie pleads, “Dani, one more. To be sure—”

Three has Jamie in pieces, rocking her hips to accept and pursue everything given to her. Dani’s own arousal swells proportionately as she reduces Jamie to a trembling, compliant puddle of need. 

Before tonight, Dani hadn’t any concrete inclination to wear it, much less use it. But now, as she watches Jamie through a foggy daze of lust — helplessly fretting, sighing, and dripping around her fingers — she’s begun to spontaneously obsess over the instrument between her legs and its imminent purpose. She keeps revisiting an urge to push into Jamie without any further delay, anxious to witness her promised exhibition of enjoyment. Dani now intimately understands Jamie’s surge of overflowing enthusiasm last night, barely contained.

With her self-restraint in tatters, Dani nearly moans in relief when she hears Jamie breathlessly telling her, “Dani... now, okay? Oh, fuck, I’m—” Her voice climbs an octave. “Dani, you’re going to make me—”

“Let me?” Dani begs, her steady thrusts undeterred. She wants to afford Jamie the same state of amenability she brought her to last night. “Please?”

“No, no. Stop.” With immense determination, Jamie removes Dani’s fingers from herself. Through uneasy, panting breaths, she explains, “Want to show you, remember? Finish with... that.”

Mutual eagerness has their hands colliding and contesting each other’s slippery custody of lubricated silicone. Dani can’t help but giggle at their fumbling. It’s a contagious sound, imbued with genuine humor and nerves that cuts even through Jamie’s haze of deferred satisfaction with a bitten smile. In the end, Jamie acquiesces first. She lies back, legs draped around Dani, hips angled at the mercy of her desires. The sight and presence of her, lusciously wet and ready, is enough to make Dani’s legs almost too weak to support her kneel. When she aligns it against her, Jamie gasps at the contact, then lowers a cooperative hand between her legs to part herself, slick and pouting like an inviting kiss pressed to the tip nudging into her.

“I’m all yours, baby,” says Jamie, her offer rough with longing. “Have me however you want.”

Dani manages not to whine. She asks, “You’ll tell me, right? If I’m doing something wrong?”

Once granted permission by Jamie’s rigid nod, Dani focuses on holding her reasonably still. She can’t identify the owner of a hissed breath while sinking inside, nor can she stoically endure the captivating sight of disappearing space between them. Dani momentarily retreats before pushing forward again, delivering herself deeper than before. Jamie softly moans, head falling back onto her pillow, her face and chest engulfed by a rosy blush. She’s a little overwhelmed; visible in her drawn brow and the fussy wandering of her hands over Dani’s abdomen, seeking purchase. Even so, Jamie squeezes her legs around Dani’s hips, impelling her closer. 

When Dani successfully hilts herself, feeling the kiss of heated skin on skin, Jamie swears.

Dani swallows her own tapestry of curses to ask, “Is it okay?”

“Yeah,” Jamie sighs, entirely brittle. “I just... Fuck. Didn’t think it’d feel like... this... much.” 

The comment causes Dani alarm. “What? You mean you haven’t done this before?”

A guilty grin erupts on Jamie’s face, poorly suppressed by drawing her bottom lip between her teeth.

Jamie,” Dani scolds her, horrified by Jamie recklessly entrusting herself like this to someone so abysmally inexperienced. 

“It’s okay,” Jamie says. “You... You feel good. Really good. Can you—?” She rolls her hips, meaning to compel Dani’s movement, but parts her lips in a silent gasp at the evident pleasure she’s inadvertently brought herself. 

Experimentally, and with ample caution, Dani imitates the motion. She grinds Jamie farther into the mattress, who hasn’t anything left to take. At Jamie’s approving sigh she pulls back, withdrawing a few glistening inches before returning them, secretly eager to keep her full. When Dani is met with nothing but encouragement, she repeats slow, careful thrusts, falling into pattern as Jamie willingly yields to her attention.  

Growing confidence guides careful into firm over the next minute. The sweet sounds escaping Jamie’s lips at every reliable pump of her hips wakes something base and visceral within Dani. There’s an incident, where she stumbles out of rhythm and resumes it at a slightly amended angle. The attachment’s origin rubs against herself in a way that makes Dani moan from the unexpected surprise, that she could presently achieve erotic satisfaction beyond voyeurism. The sensation heightens everything, entwining Jamie’s pleasure with her own and making its pursuit natural and automatic. 

Dani curls her fingertips tight around Jamie’s hips as she drives into her harder, faster, eyes shutting at her labor’s delicious reward. The pressure between her legs blossoms at every slick impact as Jamie takes and takes and takes her, all of her, with such breathtaking ease. Jamie’s arousal is beading onto the sheets, her voice is desperate and fragile, and she looks so pretty wearing that furious blush; treats Dani can’t get enough of. Her thoughts dissolve into the single-minded obsession of asserting herself deep and thick and meaningfully, until everything goes blank and her chest is heaving with shuddering sighs and her hips are pitching forward with messy urgency. 

Gradually, Dani catches her breath. She hums in fulfillment, stroking her hands over Jamie’s thighs to her knees for the sensory dessert of skin gliding beneath her palms. But then she remembers. She opens her eyes, remembers, and flusters at her terrible breach of etiquette. In genuine contrition, Dani says, “I’m sorry, Jamie. I kind of just... used you.”

Jamie, watching her through a wrecked daze, stills the little repressed motions of her hips; her vain attempt to follow. She expels a weak and winded laugh before saying, “You’re sorry? Dani, that was... That was the sexiest thing I’ve ever— By all means, use me whenever you want.”

A demure smile forms in Dani’s expression, a sight immiscible with the fact that she’s still fully enveloped by Jamie, who’s been denied release this entire time. She wants to laugh and apologize again. Instead, she quips, “You know, if it were real, we’d probably be in a lot of trouble right now.”

Jamie shuts her eyes in amusement, unable to feign convincing annoyance. “Before you go brutally murder the mood, can you—?” She wets her lips, smiling faintly, cleverly. “Take care of me?”

Dani answers by sliding an arm behind Jamie’s shoulders to lift her into a haphazard kiss, lazy and deep. Upon wedging a hand between them to pay her proper attention and rolling her hips anew, Jamie is only a matter of minutes. After breaking their kiss, Dani speaks against her shining, full lips, one arm bracing them chest-to-chest, “Tell me how it feels.”

The request has Jamie moaning her response, “Fucking good.”

“Good,” Dani strains, an echo and judgement rolled into one. Absolutely in love with the idea of watching Jamie come while she’s buried generously inside her, Dani’s thrusts become shallow, never leaving her deprived, wanting to catch and coincide with the inevitable moment. 

Jamie gasps, “Dani—”

“Specifically,” Dani breathes. “How does it feel?”

Initially, she can’t answer. Jamie is an absolute ruin of discomposure and desire, struggling to ascribe words to the surfeit of pleasure driving her far away from sense. At least, she responds, “God, it... I... love you having me like this... I can’t— Just, thinking about it... so fucking full, and when you— you do it like that— Fuck! Like that. That, Dani... keep doing that. Please.”

Dani obliges, maintaining a slight upward angle that renders Jamie incapable of further speech. Dani seals her lips around a spot on Jamie’s collarbone and sucks hard enough to leave a blemish, relishing the grunts and groans her purposeful bucking inspires. Jamie’s close. She’s clutching at her, ever so slightly impeding Dani’s previously smooth, well-received thrusts. Dani’s hair keeps falling forward, loose locks spilling onto Jamie’s chest and obscuring her vision. She curtly tucks the blond cascade over one shoulder and uses that same hand to grasp her jaw, bidding Jamie to face her. 

“Jamie,” she says, voice wracked by physical effort. “Look at me. Please, sweetheart? Look at me?”

Quite obediently, Jamie’s eyes flutter open to meet Dani’s. Her expression is beautifully tense and vulnerable and admiring when she comes, perhaps by Dani’s implicit behest. Jamie’s hands curl around the backs of Dani’s thighs to hold her captive at the zenith of a particularly perfect thrust as she spends herself over long, enduring seconds. 

 

IV.

While lounging in bed by the light of the lamp, Dani presses a blank sheet of paper against Jamie’s back, who lies on her side, facing away. Dani sketches with a pencil. She gradually fills the sheet with tessellating calla lilies, whose outlines grow bumpy or distorted whenever the graphite moves over seams in Jamie’s nightshirt or the natural topography of her spine and shoulder blades. 

After a minute, Jamie asks, “You planning on telling me what you’re writing?”

“Drawing,” Dani corrects her, only sparing her half-attention. “Not writing. Does it really feel like I’m writing?”

Jamie shrugs. 

“Don’t move. You’re ruining it.”

Jamie stops moving. “Can I know what ‘it’ is?”

A thoughtful hum evolves from Dani. “Try to guess. I’ll give you a hint: it’s one thing, over and over.”

“Is it a sex thing?”

No.” She laughs quietly, but can’t shake the nagging sense that she’s told a lie. Nevertheless Dani says, “Oh, Jamie. Are you still thinking about it? Did I leave you hanging, even after all that?”

A controlled stirring in Jamie’s back alludes to a laugh in return. “You kidding me? After that? Christ, I’m set for days. You were— You were actually a little rough with me, you know that? You’re never rough.” 

Dani’s heart somersaults in her chest. “I was?”

“Yeah.” With a playful, memory-driven moan, she adds, “And demanding.”

“Stop,” Dani chides her. “Don’t say it like that.”

“Why? Turning you on? Thinking about having your way with me again?”

A blush burns in Dani’s cheeks. She knows Jamie is teasing, but she can’t fathom how she maintains nonchalance. “No,” she answers, then adds with mischief, “But it sounds like you are.” Dani resumes drawing, carefully designing her mosaic of unfurling lilies to contain no space between one bloom and the next. Following a few minutes of contemplation, she asks, “It didn’t hurt, right? Even when I was rough with you?”

“No,” answers Jamie. “I loved every moment.”

Privately, Dani smiles. “Have you figured out what I’m drawing?”

“No clue.”

“Twenty questions,” suggests Dani. 

Jamie exhales, seeming to settle into an analytical state of mind. “Is it a living thing?”

“Yes.”

“Is it a creature? An animal, I mean?”

“No,” Dani replies, holding one corner of her paper taut as she populates it, not wanting to poke Jamie’s back in the event of a slip.

“So it’s a plant,” Jamie deduces. “Or, like... a fungus. Are bugs animals?”

Dani jokes, “Is that a question? And yes, bugs are animals. Fourth-grade level taxonomy.”

She scoffs. “All right, brainiac. Try on some botany. Is it an angiosperm?”

“A— what?”

“Flowering plant,” Jamie clarifies, audibly smug. “You amateur florist. Shame on you.”

A giggle breaches Dani’s smile. “Yes,” she answers.

“Is it... a monstrously impressive cucumber?”

Stop,” Dani says, unable to contain another laugh. “I already told you, it’s not a sex thing.” 

“That’s not sex, that’s salad. Don’t know what the fuck kind of salads you’re making, if you’re getting randy over them.”

They’re both laughing now, and Dani has ceased drawing. Once the moment passes, and they’ve regained a semblance of composure, Jamie asks, “Is it edible?”

“No,” says Dani. “You’d get sick.”

“Would you find it in a shop like ours?”

“Yes.”

“Hmm,” Jamie vocalizes, apparently undaunted by their extensive catalog. She’s completely in her element, knowing how to narrow down the possibilities. “Is it a flower? Does it have four or more petals?”

“That counts as two. Yes to the first, and no to the second. Kind of.”

“What d’you mean, kind of? This doesn’t count as a question, by the way.”

Dani clarifies, “Like... it’s not really a petal. The real flowers are tiny.”

“Think you just gave it away,” says Jamie. “Do we have any in the flat?”

She bites her lip, knowing Jamie has won. “Yes.”

“Calla lilies,” Jamie determines, sounding rather pleased with herself.

Despite her paper only being half-filled, Dani peels it away from Jamie’s back and passes it over her shoulder. While Jamie admires dozens of stylized calla lilies slotted together in kaleidoscopic unity, Dani tucks her arms around her waist and fondly kisses the back of her neck. She wonders if Jamie realizes what she’s done for her, and for them. After kissing her again to emphasize utmost affection, Dani whispers, “Let’s try again tomorrow.”

“You mean... you, right?”

“Mm-hmm.” She leans her forehead into Jamie’s floral shampoo-scented locks and inhales deeply. 

“Are you sure? I mean, you don’t have to. There’s still no obligation. This isn’t a pact.”

Dani reaffirms, “I want to. Like, a lot.”

The weight of her disclosure settles over them. Once Jamie finishes processing, she says, quietly, “Okay. So, um. How would you want me to do it?”

“What do you mean?”

“Like, romantic, or...?” Jamie clears her throat and lowers the volume of their conversation as if to avoid the eavesdropping of an imaginary presence. “Should I be a little assertive? Or sweet? I could do something like, lift you by your legs. Pin you to a wall.”

She interrupts Jamie’s fantasy with a note of realism. “You couldn’t lift me. I’m too heavy.”

“Haven’t you seen me carrying those huge bags of potting soil around the shop? I’m plenty strong.”

“Those are fifty pounds. I weigh more than twice that.”

“I’ll have the wall helping me out. As leverage, or whatever.”

“And if you slip?”

Jamie huffs. “Okay, fine. No lifting. How about this—” She grips one of Dani’s wrists, disengaging it from a loop around her middle, and kisses the back of her hand. She speaks against her knuckles, “You, on my lap. Facing away. I’m pulling your hair.”

A sharp inhale accompanies Dani’s flustering. She closes her eyes to immerse herself in Jamie’s vision.

“You’re full of me,” Jamie continues, “and I’m making you feel good. You’re close and want to draw it out, but I want you there, now. You could tell me to stop or slow down and I would, but you don’t. You like the way I’m handling you, and you know this doesn’t have to be the last one, and that I’ll keep on for as long as you need. I’ll be relentless with you until you’re done and satisfied.”

Dani resists an acute temptation to jog her hips into Jamie’s backside. Alternatively, she says with great intemperance, “Can we do it right now?”

A breathy laugh departs Jamie. “I dunno. It’s really late. And, honestly? I’m a little worn out. Besides... I’d rather you think about what I said, for a while.”

Smiling into her shoulder, Dani grips Jamie tight around her waist and dwells on the nature of her own anticipation: fearless and reckless and free. She feels like she can breathe again, like a sprawling meadow lies before her, beckoning a dive into blossoms upon blossoms of endless possibility. And if anything should go awry, Jamie is a soft embrace, a quilt of protection, silken grasses poised to catch her.

 

V.

In the morning, Dani buys Jamie a bouquet. It’s a medley of black and white calla lilies. Their checkered profile is formal in demeanor, a duality composed of mystery and purity. She also leaves a note:

For Jamie. My wonderful, beautiful Jamie. Our bed is a flowerbed. Your heart and hands are made of soft petals and I want to live inside them forever. Love, Dani

The kiss of ardent gratitude Jamie presses to her lips is the last explicit token of affection traded between them for hours. Sunday proceeds in agonizing mundanity. Dani buttons a pink rose print shirt over her chest and wears a discreet layer of lipstick. She refreshes the water in the bouquet vases, eats their last strawberries at lunch, and spends fifteen minutes righting a piece of wall art that appears crooked to her tense sensibilities. 

Housework is completed. A daily reading goal, tallied in pages, is met. A music album wafts serene acoustics through the apartment, uninterrupted by any form of speech or clamor from its first to last note. All the while, Dani keeps glancing at the bouquets and thinking about what she’s recently associated with them.

She is, effectively, waiting for Jamie to ravish her. Or at least proposition her. But Jamie remains criminally amnesiac to the promise made last night, spending her day placid and unperturbed, immune to Dani’s occasional staring. 

Countless quiet moments fall under siege of luxurious fantasy. Dani struggles to solely exist within her physical environment, rather than turn inward to swim through imaginary seas of erotic friction and heat. But the temptation proves too great.

It occurs to Dani, as she momentarily resurfaces into her present reality of sitting on the sofa with a forgotten magazine splayed over her hands, secretly squeezing her thighs together, that she hasn’t been waiting a day. She’s been waiting since their first conversation — weeks ago — and the dimensions of her anticipation have swollen into obscenity. 

Her thoughts turn lascivious. Informed by last night’s success, Dani wears the envious memory of Jamie’s pleasure as her own. It’s a smooth ride and she’s so full she can only whine at Jamie’s relentless bucking—

When her magazine slaps onto the floor in a heap of glossy pages, Dani jumps at the sound. 

Dinner, much like the rest of the day, is characterized by unremarkable conversation and vast stretches of silence. Dani hardly eats. It isn’t until they’re washing dishes, when the water seems a few degrees too hot, and Jamie is plunging her fingers, wrapped in a sudsy red washcloth, into a wine glass, that Dani decides she’s waited long enough. As soon as the dishes occupy their rightful places in cabinets and cupboards, she approaches Jamie while she’s towel-drying water from her hands, and seizes her by the dainty chain around her neck. 

“Oi!” Jamie exclaims. “Don’t break it, don’t break it—!” She lets herself be reeled in, fearing for her jewelry. Once they’re nose-to-nose, that fear becomes exhilaration. “Thought about it long enough?” she asks, lips curling into a smile. “Finally ready?”

Dani regards her with disbelief. “Finally?” she echoes. “I’ve been waiting all day!”

That delights Jamie. “I know,” she says. “And I’ve been waiting for you to do this.”

Incensed by all the day’s wasted time, Dani tugs her again and Jamie is thrilled to follow, leashed, to the bedroom. 

As soon as they’re within vicinity of their bed, Dani backs Jamie into a wall and careens into a hungry kiss. The taste of Jamie’s glass of dry red wine lingers in her mouth like a phantom. Dani sends her hands wandering everywhere: Jamie’s lean shoulders, smoothing over the taut plane of her stomach through the fabric of her onyx-black shirt, and groping at her rear to brace their hips together. 

Within a minute Jamie pulls back, soft laughter rising through uneven breaths. Her mouth is smudged cloudy crimson from Dani’s light lipstick stain. It would not surprise Dani to learn she’d lost virtually all of it to Jamie’s skin. “Let me get ready first,” Jamie says. “Five minutes, okay?” She slinks away, already unbuttoning her jeans as she takes retreating steps toward the dresser. 

Dani is ready in three, but Jamie returns in ten. Whatever dithering she’s up to outside the bedroom, Dani can’t surmise, but it’s profoundly unacceptable. She’s worn it before; it’s unlikely that she’s struggling to decipher the harness. Neither is she particularly slow to dress, or undress. At the sixth minute, Dani begins to suspect that Jamie’s absence is an intentional ruse — an item of foreplay. But Dani is aggressively uninterested in foreplay. Their foreplay has already been a weeks-long event, and it has gone on long enough. On an impulse borne from defiance, Dani indulges herself. 

She’ll make a good show of it, stage it well. Present herself in a state of messy desperation and hasty half-undress, hedonist and decadent. Dani doesn’t know when Jamie will return, but when she does, she’ll be confronted by a temptation too delicious to defer a second longer. And Jamie, so reliably eager to please, will demonstrate again how nice it can be with the right company and approach. 

Dani wants that proof superfluously. Hours of proof, if she can get them; her satisfaction contingent upon total exhaustion. 

She unbuttons her shirt halfway, revealing a provocative strait of bare skin between curtains of creamy floral print. Upon shoving her pants down her legs and reclining on the bed, Dani slides a hand between her thighs to stroke herself through the barrier of her underwear. She alternates between rough and light feathering touches, following and appeasing every twitch of her hips.

Before Jamie, she never fathomed she could want someone inside her so much. Before Jamie, the experience only comprised an invasion, a disturbance, an affront. It had hurt, in more ways than physical mishap. It had hurt because she had been dispossessed. Not of some mythical virtue, or even agency, because to some extent Dani retained every faculty to refuse, yet never did. She had been dispossessed of desire. Desire to choose, or question, or dare dream of an intimacy that touched deeper than skin. 

As for Jamie... the first time she slid warm, kind fingers inside her, Dani remembers softly gasping and thinking, Oh. So this is what other people enjoy to the extent of madness. The aching, ecstatic closeness. Vulnerability, entrusted like some delicate porcelain thing to warm, careful hands that won’t chip or break it, even through the tumult and fires of passion. And the freedom to want, without shame or hesitance, certain sensual pleasures that gratify the deepest longings of her flesh. 

Long gone are the days of sex being a solemn, transactional trial of tolerance. With Jamie, sex is a bright and fun bouquet of conversation, beauty, and unexpected humor. 

Her hand delves past her waistband. Two fingers slide through her wetness, teasing herself, before sinking inside. Dani holds them within herself for a few seconds, lips parting at the simple pleasure compounded with fantasies of Jamie imparting the sensation. She strokes herself upon withdrawal, glides back inside with developing ease, and subjects herself to a slow, tormenting pace. A small sound escapes her, hardly a murmur yet full of want. 

Along with an abrupt dip in the mattress, the sound of Jamie’s voice jolts Dani from her daze. She’s exclaiming, in equal dismay and amusement, “Hey, no! What’re you doing? You’re supposed to be waiting!” Her fingers bracelet around Dani’s wrists, trying to cease their efforts. 

Dani twists herself free and pivots onto her side, effacing herself in an act of comparable mischief. Her coyness is a ruse and Jamie knows it. Jamie tucks fingers beneath her chin, directing Dani to face her again. There’s nothing hard or forceful in Jamie’s expression. Just the smolder of longing and interest; proper appreciation for being designated Dani’s sole, spoiled audience.

It’s not the conclusion to the fantasy she originally envisioned, but Dani is open to improvisation. She parts her knees wider, employs a second hand’s attention, and stifles a moan that succeeds in eliciting a similar one from somewhere deep in Jamie’s chest.

Jamie confesses in a breathless rasp, “Wanted to make you wait for it... Wanted to see how long you could stand it.” She lays her hands on Dani’s thighs, who allows her to remain. With immense distraction, she whispers, “What are you thinking about, right now?”

“You,” Dani replies, thrusting deep. “Mm— You’re...”

“What?” The question is so quiet, so fragile, it’s a miracle that Jamie’s able to convey it at all without shattering.

Mercifully granting Jamie a window into her thoughts, Dani shares, “You’re... in me, and... you feel good. I’m— I’m telling you more, harder, and—” 

Jamie groans, sliding her hands inward. “Not right away,” she objects. “Take it easy, the first time...” She crawls closer, guiding her hips into the valley between Dani’s knees. “You’re— You’re not going to finish, are you? Let me?”

Dani feels something stiff and vaguely slick nudging the back of her hand, gently requesting permission to replace it. “Then stop me,” she says. “I’m so ready for you.”

This time, when Jamie takes hold of her wrists and pins them down at her sides, Dani doesn’t fight her. On the contrary, she frames Jamie between her thighs and urges her near. 

“Tell me if you don’t like it,” Jamie says. “Want to take good care of you.” 

Her grip migrates to an intense hold on Dani’s hips as she pushes forward. Dani gasps when the tip parts her, then slides in with excruciating gingerness. Jamie awaits her acclimation before giving her more. It’s large and imposing at first, but pleasantly manageable as she relaxes and welcomes its easy glide. The feeling steals all breath from Dani’s lungs, but this time to the effect of excitement, and not dread. She grazes her fingertips over Jamie’s sides, communicating unambiguous approval and impelling her deeper. Jamie readily obliges, keeping her steady as she prolongs her first careful thrust, waiting for a modicum of resistance to make her pause. There’s just one, but it’s benign; Dani clenches eagerly around her, adoring its caressing stroke, filling her with erotic warmth and presence. 

“Still okay?”

Dani gives an enthused nod.

When she feels Jamie’s hips settling flush against her upper thighs, Dani sighs, “Oh,” the delicate sound tinged with a whimper. She’s blushing hard. While remaining fully sheathed inside, Jamie delivers shallow, experimental pumps of her hips. The little surges of force make Dani’s legs hum with pleasure.

The low question Jamie utters against her temple coils in her core. “That feel good?” 

“Yes,” Dani breathes, fumbling her hands around Jamie’s shoulders to hold on. It’s more than good. She could probably come from this alone, provided Jamie doesn’t stop.  

It’s never felt like this before. It’s never been anything but unpleasant or outright antagonistic. Jamie presses a wet kiss to her chest and Dani wants to cry, or laugh, or both. Even as she’s torn between begging Jamie to pound her into the mattress or simply maintain their heated rocking, her heart breaks at how wonderful, considerate, and pretty Jamie is being for her, wearing that expression of singular, concentrated effort, locks of stray fringe fallen in front of her tense brow, parted lips as irresistibly red as cherries. Somewhere among soft and familiar box spring creaks and needy sighs, an overwrought, shuddering breath of joy escapes Dani’s chest.

Jamie, however, mistakes the sound for distress. She stops moving, faces Dani in alarm, and utters with tremendous concern, “Oh, fuck. Are you crying?”

“I— I think I’m laughing,” Dani shakily replies, hands roaming Jamie’s upper back to soothe her worry. “You just— You look so pretty right now.” While threading affectionate fingers into Jamie’s hair, she asks, “Kiss me?”

Visibly relieved, Jamie leans in to kiss her lips with the sweet temperament of a greeting or goodnight. After they part, she says, “I look pretty? You should see yourself.” Gentler, she muses aloud, “Pretty as a peach.”

Dani hums in dreamy appreciation before accusing her, “You’re flirting with me.”

“Course I am,” Jamie replies. “Have to keep you interested. You still fancy me, right?” She resumes the rhythm previously abandoned. At the little approving moan drawn from Dani’s lips, Jamie speaks in admiration, “God. Could do this to you all night. Wish I could—” Jamie closes her eyes, smiles, and continues between pants, “Wish I could feel you. You’d feel so fucking good... On second thought, maybe not a good idea... I... definitely wouldn’t last long.”

Jamie groans and moves faster, with more insistence. Her fingers fiercely dig into Dani’s pelvis, holding her still as Jamie partly withdraws and pushes back in, thrusting once, then again, and again. The constant drag has Dani aching and throbbing around her, whimpering at the slick sound and sensation of Jamie’s skin meeting hers. A delicious shiver writhes through her limbs when she feels her own arousal beading down her inner thigh, lost from where Jamie keeps her too full and satisfied to contain it. 

Without forewarning, Jamie slows to a stop and clumsily rolls them onto their sides, shrugging Dani’s arms free of her sleeves. Following some additional adjustments, she pulls Dani astride herself.

“Like this,” Jamie says. “Use me like this. Let me see you.”

Her voice is so amorous and breathless it reaches Dani’s ears like a plea. She implies agreement by covering Jamie’s hands with her own where they’ve fastened around her hips, helping her sink back down. Before long she’s seated in Jamie’s lap, and both are reeling from the position’s exquisite sensuality. 

Reverential fingertips climb the notches of Dani’s spine and trace the curve of her waist. Jamie is watching her through a thick glaze of desire, a sight so lovely Dani must shut her eyes or lose all sense of place and purpose. She splays her hands upon Jamie’s abdomen for support and lightly rolls her hips, testing her newfound control. At the shock of pleasure igniting deep within her, Dani moans and begins rocking her hips, chasing the feeling with increasing abandon. 

Beneath her, Jamie is a ruin of ecstasy. “Don’t hold back,” she whispers. “Take everything you need.”

Exhilarated by her encouragement, Dani grinds herself down hard into Jamie’s lap, eliciting an approving grunt from the woman below. Once she’s able to conform her rutting into a semblance of rhythm, Jamie securely grips her waist and helps Dani maintain it. Her moans come steadily, punctuating each rolling lift and drop of her hips onto Jamie’s indulgent bucking. 

She can’t believe how good it feels. Dani feels luscious, desired, and immensely sexy knowing she’s tearing the litany of hushed curses from Jamie’s lips, as if she were currently the primary recipient. Her entire body is composed of combustible material, lighting up at the faintest friction. By merely sneaking a hand beneath the underwire of her bra to squeeze her breast and tease with the pad of her thumb, Jamie has her brimming and undone.

Jamie grunts, “It’s all for you, baby. Fuck. You like it? Riding me like this?”

Dani answers, “Yeah. God, yeah. It feels—”

“How’s it feel?” Jamie begs to hear when she trails off. “Tell me how it feels.”

Good,” she gasps. “Full and— yours.”

The mutual force behind their motions picks up to blissful effect, only to abruptly subside once the headboard starts knocking into the wall. After exchanging a glance of flustered yet amused surprise, they revert to their previous rhythm’s discretion. 

Jamie pants, “Are you close? Want to watch you...”

Eager to reward Jamie for all her effort, Dani answers, “Don’t stop,” and lowers a hand between her legs to touch herself. The dual attention has her hurtling toward the edge, so swiftly she barely has time to speak, “Keep... Oh! Keep doing that, just like that... don’t stop...”

Her voice breaks around half-strangled cries as she rides Jamie hard and fast, savoring the sting of desperation until the moment everything blossoms and unspools. Vaguely, Dani is aware of her own fingernails curling against Jamie’s stomach and her thighs shutting in a tight vise around her hips. The way it catches and solidly resists her fluttering like deft fingers have never managed makes Dani gasp and whine in surprise, a sound that peaks and fades with the diminishing shivers of her climax. 

Over time, Dani’s rocking abates. She’s adrift in a warm summer ocean of fulfillment, comfortably close to shore and full of sun. Jamie’s kind hands smooth up her back, rising and falling from her shoulder blades to her hips in an affectionate caress. 

“So... I, uh, take it you liked it, after all?”

Jamie’s question dispels her reverie. Dani wants to berate her, slap her hands away from her body as punishment for ruining an otherwise perfect finish. But Jamie hasn’t ruined it at all. In spite of herself, Dani exhales quiet laughter and replies, “Yeah, I... It was kinda nice.”

“Kind of nice?” Jamie repeats the evaluation. She nods, her expression even and contemplative through her furious blush. “Well, that’s good. Nice is good.”

Dani clasps Jamie’s hands to her hips, massaging her knuckles and hugging her seductively between shutting thighs. She formalizes the implicit offer by saying, “Do you want to do anything to me?”

Jamie swallows. “I,” she says, profound, just above a whisper, “want to do everything to you.”

Shortly after, Dani is bent over onto the duvet, arms loosely crossed beneath her middle while holding her elbows at Jamie’s behest. Jamie is buried inside her, motionless from the waist down as she scatters kisses over Dani’s shoulders. Every inch of reachable skin is kissed pink by cool dragging lips and a warm open mouth, eager to taste her. One misbehaved lap of Jamie’s tongue along a ticklish spot between Dani’s shoulder blades elicits a delightful shiver. Dani giggles, then sighs, then moans, as Jamie starts moving her hips. Slow hard thrusts arrive at a new angle that has Dani melting into the bed. 

Lips still tend her upper back, exchanging showered kisses for words. Jamie fills the near-silence with breathy swears interspersed by endearments, courtesy-imbued commands, and clever dirty talk. When she reaches around Dani’s hips to touch her, Jamie hisses at having her hand smashed between the bed and her own thrusts, their vigor never compromised for comfort. She growls an observation, “Thinking about earlier, when you were fucking me into the bed like you couldn’t get enough of me inside you—”

Jamie—”

“Fucking gorgeous, watching you get yourself off like that.”

Dani arches, urging her hips back to meet Jamie’s. The impact of each thrust against her backside roasts in her face. She likes it, enough to beg, “Jamie, harder...”

Jamie fulfills her request, although remaining mindful of limits Dani is heedless of while engulfed by lust. “Tell me when you’re close,” she says.

A spell of exquisite depth and semi-aggression builds a familiar pressure inside her. Dani is several thrusts away from stumbling over the edge when she finally whimpers, “I’m— Oh! Jamie, I’m almost there...”

Jamie immediately stops and withdraws, earning a sound of dismay and a clumsy swat from Dani’s hand, striking the side of her hip. A smile audibly seeps from Jamie’s next statement, “You knew I was going to do that.”

Dani bites her lip, trying not to rock herself to fulfillment against Jamie’s hand still trapped between her hips and the bed. Indeed, she had a distinct suspicion. Left empty, dripping, and needy, Dani struggles to understand why she didn’t act in subversion. The simplest, and most probable answer, is that she wants this. Wants to bask in the agony of anticipation, a bone-deep yearning, the sensuality of being so open to and consumed by passionate desire for this, for as long as possible. 

She warns Jamie again and again, aware of the consequences, and endures each wistful deferment. An unspoken game arises from it, a test to see how close to the point of no return Dani can advance before having Jamie stop. Jamie is enraptured by her compliance, sparing generous words of praise and one good girl, timed devastatingly, that almost forces her over the line. 

It’s unplanned and accidental, when she finally comes after misjudging the extent of her composure by seconds. An ill-timed warning dies in her throat, harshly interrupted by a headlong crash into incredible, all-consuming gratification. There are no penalties for her mistake. Jamie recognizes what’s happened and supplants her ride through white-hot oblivion for as long as Dani can stand — or until she’s aware that she retains the ability to stand at all. 

 

VI.

Dani retreats from one of numerous chaste kisses, only to plant another precisely where she’s left Jamie’s lips momentarily bereaved of attention. 

They’re supposed to be sleeping at eleven o’clock on a Sunday night. Adoration makes an insomniac of Dani, and Jamie is too pleased with the night’s outcome to let it end any sooner than it needs to. So they lie awake in bed, in the dark. Jamie is beneath her, contained within doting arms, receiving every kiss Dani offers her like sweet grapes from an endless vine. 

Jamie inserts a quip between kisses, “Should we go again? Don’t think I’ve done my job right until you want nothing to do with me for several hours.”

The smile on Dani’s lips fades into guilt upon a realization. “Oh. I’m keeping you awake, aren’t I? I’m sorry.”

“No, I don’t mind at all,” says Jamie. “I like seeing you like this.”

“Like what?”

“Happy, I suppose. Pleased. And dare I say satisfied. You never gave me a straight answer, by the way. You good, or should we go again?”

A quiet laugh escapes Dani. She buries her face into Jamie’s neck and asks, in pure academic curiosity, “If we did, what would you want to do?”

She can feel Jamie’s skin warming at the inquiry. “It’s not about me,” she skillfully deflects. “It’s about you. That’s what I’d ask you. Whether you had any specific things in mind, or... fantasies.”

“Do you?”

Jamie clears her throat to initiate another impressive maneuver. “Not for me to answer, either,” she says. “And maybe my fantasy is fulfilling yours. Have anything to share?”

While pondering her options, Dani folds her forearms onto Jamie’s upper chest and rests her chin upon her hands. She asks, with a degree of frankness that surprises even herself, “How dirty?”

“The absolute worst you’ve got,” Jamie replies, her chest fraught with the light tremors of suppressed laughter. “Scandalize me.”

Dani withdraws into rumination. There are myriad things, ranging from docile to downright hedonistic, that she wants to do with Jamie. But one stands out prominently in her mind, a garishly vivid scene that will surely set fire to Jamie’s smug composure. From a place of total comfort that only Jamie could have nurtured, Dani whispers to her, “I used to think it was gross, but not when I think about it with you. I know it would mostly be for show from your perspective, but... would you want me to use my mouth on it?”

When Jamie doesn’t reply, Dani shifts up to assess her expression through inky shadows. Her fear of crossing a line dissipates when Jamie tremulously says, “Just to clarify, this is your fantasy? Yours?”

“Is it too weird?”

“No,” Jamie responds a bit too swiftly. “Not at all. Um. Blimey. Okay, yeah. We could try that, maybe. Sometime.”

After resting her cheek on Jamie’s chest, Dani offers, “I could touch you while doing it. So you’d like it.”

“I’m not declining, but I don’t think I’d need that to like it.”

“You could pull on my hair, to push me down or pull me off.”

Jamie’s breath hitches. She delays drawing her next. 

Dani asks, “Would you watch me the whole time?”

“Yeah, probably would,” Jamie feebly resolves.

Dani slowly exhales and massages her hands up Jamie’s sides as her erotic daydream plays out within an unbridled and unashamed chamber of her imagination. She considers translating her daydream to speech to sadistically fluster Jamie more. It’s a scene of complete dishevelment: one hand to trail inward while the other takes hold of it, stroking for theatrics as she lowers herself as far as she comfortably can. Wet swollen lips, voluptuous moans, an aching jaw and an aching core as Jamie conducts her with a hand fisted in her hair... Dani is armed to put Jamie off-center all night. But before she can speak, Jamie fights back. 

“Buy me dinner, first?” Jamie darkly suggests. “Some wine maybe, and flowers? For the privilege?”

Following a tiny gasp and a smile, Dani reaches beneath the sheets to slap Jamie’s knee, saying, “You’re bad.”

“Too much?”

“No.” She kisses the front of Jamie’s nightshirt. “I think I would, though. Buy you flowers. Before and after, and other times, too. It’d be calla lilies so you’d know what I mean, and what I’m thinking about.”

Jamie makes a sound reminiscent of a whimper. 

“What about you?” Dani asks. “Do you have fantasies?”

“...A few.”

“Dirtiest one?”

After a moment dedicated to finding the nerve, Jamie answers, so quietly Dani must remain motionless to preserve the integrity of every syllable, “Earlier, I was thinking about... getting one of those things that, you know, uh.” She briefly wrestles with the apparent vulgarity of the descriptor, although Dani hardly takes offense, especially in the bedroom. “Vibrates. I’d put it in you, tie your hands behind your back so you can’t touch yourself, and just leave you there a while. See if you can finish that way. See how long you can stand it before begging me to let you go.”

Envisioning it dampens the cotton between her legs. Dani digs her fingernails into Jamie’s shirt and hugs her thigh with her own to seek its pressure. In a tone low with arousal, Dani asks, “You’d watch me?”

“You have a thing for being watched, don’t you?” Jamie teases, lifting her thigh to help Dani rub herself against it. Warm guiding palms frame Dani’s pelvis. Then she admits, “Yeah, I’d watch you... squirming. Squeezing your legs together. I’d talk to you. Listen to all the sounds you’d make—”

As though by power of suggestion, Dani muffles a moan into Jamie’s collar and starts moving herself in earnest along the firm swell of her thigh. Within a minute Jamie has her on her back, tugging her shorts and underwear down. While folding Dani’s legs over her shoulders she taunts and scolds her about needing to go again after all, and neglecting to inform her. 

Jamie lowers her head between her thighs, kissing her way to Dani’s center before meeting her with deft, imploring strokes from her tongue. The attention pries an exclamation from Dani’s throat. She crosses her ankles over Jamie’s back and runs fingers through her hair, trying not to tug hard whenever Jamie groans into her. A shiver courses Dani as she instinctively rocks into Jamie’s adoring mouth and smears her pleasure over her lips, which Jamie laps up like a seeping nectar reward. Soon Jamie has three fingers thrusting into her, brisk and deep and curling, devoted entirely to her satisfaction. There’s no patience, no dallying. It’s late, and Jamie seems to have accepted that the day’s true end hinges upon Dani’s thorough exhaustion. She gets her there fast. Within a few frantic minutes, Dani is barely supporting her recline on the single, trembling pillar of an elbow wedged between herself and the bed. 

Dani wishes she could understand Jamie’s ability to balance and harmonize her experience of being fucked and being made love to. Invariably, Dani thinks, it has something to do with the bouquets on the other side of the wall, and their perpetual cohabitation with flowers in general; a bedroom perennially in bloom, each season’s petals handed off to the next, cyclical and unending. Their bed is a flowerbed, sensitive yet unabashed, glad to color and grow.