Hard Choices

The entire ride to the club, all forty-five long minutes of it, had been in stressful silence and her nerves were drawn tight. Her heart beat damn near out of her chest as Joe opened and held the door for her.

Liz, the club receptionist, made small talk as she processed their membership cards. Sandy hoped she had smiled appropriately. Though she tried, she really hadn’t listened to a word she’d said.

Her emotions were a tumbled mess. She’d managed to turn what should have been an exciting night out into a major disappointment for Joe.  There was so much going on in their lives that it was hard to switch gears. She’d wanted to stay home and work on some of her chore list. They had family coming into town and their to-do list seemed several miles long.

Joe was having none of it. He was determined to get their D/s back on track and to hell with anything else. Her naughty parts cheered, but her head was filled to capacity with daily minutia. She just couldn’t clear her mind enough to focus on submission. As crazy as it may sound, submission came from a place of strength and lately she hadn’t had any.

Nothing seemed easy any more. As soon as she checked one thing off their ‘to-do’ list, four more were added. They’d never get ahead and taking precious hours to drive to the club for a scene just seemed… Frivolous. It felt like a giant stop watch was forever ticking in her head. She’d told him all those things, but he insisted they come anyway.

As she started toward the ladies changing room, Joe caught her arm. “Pet, we’re you listening? They’re remodeling and getting away from gender specific areas. The restrooms and locker area is this way.”

Sandy nodded stiffly. She was more out of it than she’d realized. “Sorry. I was lost in my head.”

Joe moved his grip to the nape of her neck and stopped them in the middle of the hallway. “Try that again.”

What? Oh, shit. She’d forgotten where they were. “Sorry, Master.” Heat infused her cheeks.

Sometimes she felt like a fraud. They didn’t live in a strict protocol, 24/7, lifestyle. It was always there in the background, but the rules were relaxed unless they were in a scene-or at the club.

He stared at her long and hard. “Not good enough. Nose to the wall.”

Here? In the middle of the hallway? Tears sprang to her eyes as she reluctantly turned to the wall. She heard rustling and wondered what he was doing. Was she going to be punished further?

“Master Joe! Good to see you.” Sean, the owner of the club, said from somewhere close behind Sandy.

Embarrassed further by friends seeing her in trouble, her stomach dropped. Even her ears felt hot. She knew her face was crimson with shame. Damn, Joe. He was taking this way too seriously. She’d only forgotten to use his title. It wasn’t that big of an infraction. Her hands balled into fists.

“I see you’re busy. We’ll catch up later.”

Joe tsked. “You’re not going to make this easy on yourself, now are you?”

Sandy barely heard the rush of air before the knuckles on her left hand were struck. So surprised and startled, she pulled her hand to her chest and turned to face Joe. Her hand throbbed like a son of a bitch.

“Did I tell you, you could move?”

It was on the tip of her tongue to tell him he was being an asshole and walk back out to the car, but that wasn’t their way.

“No, Master.” She rubbed her stinging hand briefly and returned to face the wall.

“Someone’s been bad girl,” said a high pitched, sing-songy voice followed by a volley of giggles.

“Get out of here, Marla,” Joe said, sternly.

Sandy’s spine stiffened and a roaring settled in her ears. Marla, the twenty-something that might weight 110 pounds and most of that was the silicone surgically implanted in her breasts and ass? Marla, the flirty twat, that has offered to sub for Joe anytime he wanted to try a third?

She started to ball her fist again, but the sting reminded her that was a bad idea.

“Open wide,” Joe whispered.

Reluctantly, she obeyed. Why couldn’t he just swat her ass or something else that wouldn’t announce to the entire club – SANDY IS BEING PUNISHED like the bright red ball gag. She closed her eyes as Joe pulled it so tightly that even after he removed it, she’d be sporting marks along her cheeks from the straps.

“Brace your hands on the wall,” he ordered, a moment before he walloped her ass with a paddle five times in quick succession.

Sandy struggled not to cry out. Searing heat radiated from her ass and she silently begged Joe to caress the pain away, but punishments didn’t work that way. Her legs felt wobbly as Joe slid the wooden paddle into his bag.

He grabbed her around the bicep and turned toward the privacy rooms. Their normal routine was to meet at the sitting area near the bar and chat for a few minutes. She’d sit on his lap or kneel at his feet. There’d be a few minutes to wind down or wind up as the case may be, but not this time. She felt off kilter at the change.

He led her into a room that had way more glass than she was used to. Normally they played in rooms that only had a small piece of glass in the door. This one was more open than private. It also had a giant clock on the wall that made enough noise it could be heard over the music of the club. What was up with that? How distracting! What was Sean thinking putting that thing in here?

“Strip,” Joe ordered, as soon as he closed the door.

She wanted to argue. Yes, the room was near the end of the hallway, but she’d be on total display. Since she was ball gagged, she turned and pointed to the open view- only to notice it was one way glass. Anyone could see in, but they couldn’t see who was watching. Her stomach did a nasty flip.

Joe raised an eyebrow. “Clearly you need an extended lesson on obedience. Now stand here.” He pulled her directly in front of the glass. “Submission is more than hot kinky scenes. It isn’t always easy and it shouldn’t be. That’s boring. You want me to take control and push you out of your comfort zone. To enforce my will.”

Yes, but not like this – she wanted to argue.

“Time is ticking, Sandy. The longer you stall the worse it’s going to be.” He crossed his arms over his chest and waited.

Damn it. Just damn it. Fine. She closed her eyes and began undressing.

A sharp smack lit up her cheek and Sandy spotted the damn crop poised in Joe’s hand. “You’re not hiding in your head tonight, angel. You’re probably not going to enjoy this evening, but you need it. We need it. You’re going to keep your gaze directly on our audience, unless I tell you otherwise.”

She’d never wanted to close her eyes so much in her life. He was right – submission wasn’t always easy. Sandy stared at the mirror finish, grateful she couldn’t see who was watching.

“That’s better. Now strip,” Joe ordered, in an unyielding voice.

Usually during scenes his tone was intimate. He was firm, but there was an undercurrent of warmth. Not this time. She felt on edge and completely at his mercy – like he wasn’t taking her desires into consideration at all.

Her hands shook as she untied her corset and let it slide down her body. She stepped out of it and took a step toward the counter. Joe grabbed her arm.

“You were told to stand here and strip. I didn’t give you permission to move.”

She looked at him in surprise. He’d never been so strict.

“Eyes. On. Our. Audience.”

She forced her gaze back to the mirror. He had to quit saying that. She didn’t want to think about people seeing her. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly trying to get a handle on her emotions.

Joe took the corset from her and waited as she removed her shoes and leather mini.

She watched in the reflective glass as he placed them on a blanket in the corner of the room.  It dawned on her the room wasn’t well equipped. It had a whipping post and a set of stocks. No bed. In fact it didn’t have a single flat surface except for the tiny counter surrounding a small sink.

“You told me, you couldn’t relax. That you couldn’t get in the zone because there was a stopwatch in your head that refused to let you alone. Is that right?”

She nodded, slowly. She glanced at the reflection of the big clock on the wall and it began to make sense. Joe had asked Sean to put it there. Oh, this wouldn’t be good.

“That doesn’t work for me, angel. I’m your Dominant – period. It doesn’t matter if life is a breeze or if it’s in the toilet. I’m still your Dominant. That doesn’t change. And you’re my submissive. You don’t get days off. You don’t get to flip a switch and decide to shut me out. That’s not the way it works. Is it?”

Sandy shook her head.

Joe strolled over to his bag and pulled out a hair clip then handed it to her. “Put your hair up. You’re not going to hide your body from me in any way tonight.”

As she twirled her hair into a make shift bun, she tried to figure out what was happening. Joe was different tonight. The room he’d chosen was different. The protocols he expected were different. Part of her wanted to rip out the ball gag and ask what the hell he wanted from her, another part wanted to rush into his arms and be held and yet another wanted to curl into a ball and cry.

“I told you we were going to focus on our D/s. I thought if we scened more often, we’d get things back in order fairly quickly. It didn’t happen. Our scenes are great, but the next morning you’re as stressed as ever. Your walls are up as soon as your eyes open each day. I’m not having it angel. Not between us.”

She shifted her weight and struggled to keep her gaze forward.

“That’s why I chose this room. No walls. You’re going to remember this tomorrow. As you wake and your mind starts to replay our evening, you’ll remember standing completely naked into front of the entire club because I told you to. You’re not restrained. You could cover up. You could leave. But you aren’t going to do that. You’re going to submit to me. You’re going to do as I ask because you respect me and choose to submit to me. Even when it’s hard. Even when the clock inside your brain ticks as loud as fuck and urges you to work on other things.”

Tears clouded her eyes. Even when he was being a bastard, his actual objective was to tighten their bond. Why did she always push back? Why couldn’t she shrug off the daily shit?

“Do you hear the ticking of the clock on the wall?” he asked, standing a foot off to the side and staring down at her with his arms crossed over his chest.

She wished he’d move directly in front of her and block her from the damn glass, but no. He was proving a point.

Sandy nodded.

“Listen to it. Let it seep into your pores. It’s going to be your constant companion tonight.”

Oh God.

“You’ve been standing here, on display for six minutes while we chatted. Now, I know that eight is your favorite number so you’re going to stand here patiently for two more. No moving. No fidgeting. No hiding. For one hundred and twenty more ticks of time you’ll going to stand there and let our audience admire your naked body.”

A second, then two ticked by. “Right now, they’re probably staring at your gorgeous breasts and wondering when I’m going to get around to torturing them.” He chuckled. “Stand up straight, angel. There’s no hiding tonight.” He pinched her nipples viciously.

She sucked in a tortured breath and forced her legs to hold her up as the movement of the second hand on the clock seemed as loud as a jack hammer. One hundred and twenty. God, that was an eternity.

“Only forty seconds have passed. Twice that left. I’m sure there’s quite the crowd out there – staring at my beautiful submissive. My beautiful, shy submissive who never likes to be undressed in the club. Yet, here she is. standing completely bare – because I wish it.”

Her stomach knotted. He needed to stop reminding her. It was bad enough to stand in front of what appeared to be a mirror. Looking at her naked body was already an act of submission. He didn’t need to bring anyone else into the equation.

His hand explored her pussy and she knew what he’d find. Heat rushed to her face. As he pulled his hand from between her legs, she saw the wetness reflecting off the lights.

Joe’s smile deepened. “Yes, angel, this is exactly what you needed.” He held his hand beneath her nose. “Do you smell your arousal?”

She closed her eyes and received a sharp swat on her breast..

“No hiding,” he reminded her. He wiped his palm on the ball of the gag and turned it in toward her tongue. “Maybe that will remind you to be an obedient submissive.

He knew she hated tasting her own wetness. Damn him.

“Oh, that look is going to cost you angel.” He dipped one finger, then a second into her pussy. When he pulled out, he slid his wet fingers along her cheeks. “Inhale deeply, pet, and smell how aroused you are.”

She wished she could quit breathing entirely, but that was impossible. Several expletives came to mind.

He gave her breast another stinging swat which forced her to suck in a gulp of air. “You will obey one way or another. The choice is yours.”

“I suspect you’ve forgotten all about the clock.” A moment later he chuckled and she knew her reaction must have given her away. Joe was always good at reading her.

“We can’t have that. Sean went to a lot of trouble to set this up for us tonight.” He took her breast in his hand and began to squeeze her nipple. “I’m going to increase the pressure as the seconds tick by.”

Each time the clock hand moved the bite along her tender flesh increased. It was quickly becoming uncomfortable.

“As my submissive, I’m well aware of how much pain you enjoy and when it shifts from delicious to something more. Now if we were just enjoying a scene, I’d stop about now, but this evening is a lesson in obedience. It’s your first night of remedial training.”

Sandy groaned. It hurt, but his words kept her in the zone. She danced on that fine line between pain and arousal. With each tick she expected it to cross over to real pain, but somehow he kept her hovering right on the edge.

“I was wrong to not take this step earlier.” He sighed and released her nipple.

As the blood rushed back in and the pain ratcheted up, she expected him to rub or kiss the ache away, instead he slapped the side of her breast again.

“Have you wondered why I haven’t swatted your ass?”

She nodded.

“Because you like it.” He chuckled. “Training is to help you be successful at something you struggle with. Well my angel, you struggle with putting us first. You struggle with obeying me when the stopwatch in your head won’t leave you alone. So we’re going to have training sessions every night until obeying your Master is as natural as breathing.”

She heard what he was saying, but she couldn’t quite comprehend the meaning. Training? Every night? What would that entail? Was he serious?

He shook his head. “I see those wheels turning. You’re likely thinking about that ‘to-do’ list of yours and wondering how we’re going to squeeze it in. Well, that’s easy. We aren’t. We’re going to focus on your training and if there’s time for anything else-great. But chores and project lists are no longer a priority,” he decreed. “You think about that while I get ready for your next lesson.”

She watched as he pulled the stocks in front of the two-way glass. Next, he lowered the pillory to about four feet.

“Is your jaw beginning to ache?” he asked.

She hadn’t noticed it before, but since he mentioned it, YES. She nodded, hoping he’d remove the damn thing.

“Good. Maybe it will remind you to stop arguing with me.”

She whimpered, but felt her clit begin to throb.

Joe unlatched the clasp and raised the top section of the pillory. “Assume the position, pet.”

Pet? He almost always called her angel. He was doing it on purpose she decided. He’d barely touched her and normally, he remained in constant contact. Tonight, he was taking away all of her crutches. All of her comforts. He was forcing her to mentally choose submission.

She turned toward the stock and received another searing whack on her breast.

“Did I tell you to turn away from our audience?” he asked, sternly.

She shook her head then pointed toward the stock in hopes he’d understand she was simply following his directive.

“You’re capable to walking backwards. I’ve seen you do it.”

She stared at him incredulously. He couldn’t be serious.

“I foresee a long training session for my dear submissive,” he said, with a sigh.

“Return to your spot.”

Reluctantly, she complied.

“Hold your breasts in your hands like you’re offering them to our audience.”

She didn’t like touching herself. That was his job. It just seemed weird. She wanted to touch him. He knew that, yet he chose this punishment anyway. Because he knew she hated it. A tear escaped and ran down her cheek. She could safeword. She considered it, but his words replayed in her mind. Submission isn’t easy. It’s a choice. Was she his submissive only when it felt good or was she his submissive even when it was hard?

Sandy cupped her breasts and lifted them in offering. Anger simmered below the surface, but she wasn’t sure who she was angry with – Joe for pushing her buttons or with herself for needing his help to find her submissive mindset again.

“Pinch. Hard.”

She shut off her mind and simply obeyed.

“Ease,” he ordered. A tick of the clock went by. “Pinch.” Tick, tick. tick. “Harder.”

She groaned, but obeyed.

“Ease.” Tick, tick. “Make it hurt.” Tick, tick, tick, tick. “Ease.” Tick. “Now milk them for thirty full second in rhythm to the clock.”

Heat infused her cheeks. Wetness dampened her thighs. Humiliated, yet aroused she followed his orders and tried to shut the rest of the world out.

“Good girl. You can stop. Now walk to the stock without disobeying me.”

She used the mirror to know where to step. As she moved into place, she realized the pillory was lower than her shoulders. She’d have to stoop to get into place. God, it was going to kill her back and force her ass into the air.

Just do it. Don’t think about it. Once she was in place, Joe pulled the top section into place. The wood was cold on the back of her neck and a shiver ran down her spine.

“Spread your legs. I’m going to take your ass while our audience watches.”

She shut her eyes. He couldn’t. Not with her standing up and stuck in stocks.

The crop swatted her tender nipple and caused her to jump.

Fuck that hurt!

“I’ll just lay this here,” he said, as he placed the crop on top of the pillory. “Seems like I’m going to need it.” He rummaged through his bag and pulled out the anal beads. “If I remember correctly, these are your least favorite-which makes them perfect for tonight.”

He squirted lube along the length of the toy and around her ass before he unceremoniously began to push them inside.

“If we were scening I would have prepared you a bit more pet, but that’s a privilege you won’t enjoy during training.” He picked up the crop and began to swat her breasts in time to the clock ticking. “I’m sure our audience likes to watch your tits sway as the nipples harden. I know I do. Can you imagine how tender they will be tomorrow?”

She could and it made her even wetter.

When she feared she couldn’t take another swat, he shoved in another bead.

“You know these last few months, it seems like we take one step forward…” in went another bead, “and two backward.” He pulled on the beads until two slid out of her. “Don’t you agree?” He pushed in three, then pulled out two.

Her ass burned. Her nipples ached. Her clit throbbed. And she ceased to care about the ticking clock.

“Do you know why I have your head downhill?”

Because you’re a sadistic bastard? Good thing she was gagged and she hadn’t be able to actually voice her first response. Instead she simply shook her head.

“So I can watch you drool. You probably can’t see it, but there’s a lovely puddle on the floor.”

Her pussy clenched and her chest tightened making it hard to breathe. Oh, my God. People were watching her drool on the floor. Before she could fully take in the complete humiliation, Joe ripped the beads from her ass.

He unlaced his leathers and slid a condom over his impressive cock. Next, he reapplied lube. As she mentally prepared to have him invade her naughty hole, he turned back to his bag and pulled out a cock ring with a dildo attachment.

Another toy he knew she hated. He was well endowed and had absolute control. The cock ring was simply a way to ensure the dildo moved along with him – filling her to total capacity.

She had no control – outside of using her safeword (or safe gesture as the case may be). Her only option was to submit.

“Eyes on our audience. I want them to see my pet’s face as she takes my cock up her ass and remind her that I own this body. It’s mine to do with as I please.”

Sandy noted the hint of strain in his voice. His cock was huge. Yeah, he was helping her find the right mindset – but he was enjoying himself along the way. And that’s why they were perfect for each other.

She stiffened as the head of his cock pushed past her rim. Thankfully, he held still and allowed her to adjust to his invasion. A few ticks of the clock went by before he adjusted the dildo and slid it inside her pussy. The angle was tough and the fullness bordered on too much.

“Look at you. You’re so beautiful.” He took the crop and gave each nipple a sharp swat. Before the pain subsided, he angled the crop and smacked her clit.

A strangled cry escaped around the gag.

“Oh yes. I like that sound better than a ticking clock. Sing for me, pet.” He set a punishing rhythm. In and out of both her ass and pussy all while he swatted her clit.

As she neared release he paused. “While you’re in training, you won’t find our sessions much to your liking, but I will allow you to come if I think you’ve earned it.”

Slowly, he started moving again. “I bet they can smell your arousal all the way outside. Do you still taste it? Does it still fill every breath you take?”

Sandy groaned. She was so close. Each swat took her a little higher. She felt like she was climbing a mountain by her fingertips.

“Yeah, you earned this pet.” He gave her three direct swats that sent her tumbling into oblivion. The world shattered into a million shimmering gemstones. A few more strokes and she heard Joe’s harsh shouts and his cock pulse deep inside her.

Time was meaningless as she slowly floated back to reality. Seconds? Minutes? Hours? It didn’t matter. Eventually, she noticed she was no longer in the stocks. She was wrapped in a blanket and cradled in Joe’s arms.

“I know I was hard on your tonight, my angel, but it’s needed. We can’t let the stress keep us apart.”

“You’re right. I’m trying, Master. I really am.” She curled deeper into his arms.

He kissed her forehead. “I know, baby. We’ll get you there.”

 

 

 

Celebrity Hallpass

aka – hey, babe, you’re good enough for everyday use, but if I have the opportunity to experience that – I’m outta here.

Is that the message I want to send to my spouse? Absolutely not. I love and adore him. I would never want to undermine his self-confidence in that way.

I had this discussion the other day with my brother. He told me to ‘lighten up, Francis’ it’s a joke.

Well, no it’s not. Was his intention to subconsciously tell his wife she’s a place holder until something better comes along? No. He loves his wife very much. I don’t think he would do anything that he thought would hurt her.

This is the same brother that goes to strip clubs fairly often with ‘the boys’. Another topic we argue about. He tells me I need to grow up. Bawhahahahaha. If only he knew! I tell him he’s showing his wife that she doesn’t do it for him anymore and that if he wants to see something hot he has to go pay for it.

He laughs and tells me, ‘I’m a prude’. Silly boy. When My Love and I are at ‘our’ club we see so much more than what’s allowed to take place in a strip club. The difference is My Love and I don’t go there alone to view the opposite sex. We go there together to have a sexual experience using equipment that we can’t disguise as something else.

We go there for fellowship – although he could argue the same thing. He is there with ‘his boys’ catching up and shooting the shit. How they can do that considering the music volume is another question I’ll never have answered.

He sees a hallpass or his strip club visits as harmless. I see them as detrimental. His wife has had a tummy tuck, liposuction and a boob job. Are the two related? I think so. My brother would surely argue they aren’t. I’m not walking in their shoes. I’m only an outsider looking in, but the two seem connected from my view.

Thoughts?

Lucky Girl!

I’m beginning to think life is never going to give me a chance to be bored again. It keeps throwing me balls even though I stepped out of the batter’s box long ago. Work is a hot mess. It used to be my social outlet, my chance to interact with people outside of my family. Now it’s just a hornet’s nest. My Love told me it’s time to move on and I’ve taken steps in that direction. We’ll see how it all washes out.

My brother is doing remarkably well with the experimental treatment. They’ve tripled the dose once and plan to do so again next week. My fingers stay in a perpetual knot that he and his doctor’s are on the right course. I’m not nearly as convinced as they are, but the alphabet soup after their names outrank mine.

Except for work, things had seemed to be looking up. Then I got a late night call from our daughter. Her SO fell down their stairs. It was a tense few days. Three broken and compressed vertebra, lots of pain and tons of prayers, he’s back home and expected to recover.

In the middle of all this, My Love stayed on my ass to finish the story for the anthology I was asked to participate in. While he was driving us to and from the hospital, he’d hand me a notepad and tell me to get busy. He even took notation when I had my hands full and couldn’t finish my chores and write at the same time. He is nothing short of amazing.

This weekend we needed to stay close to home.  Instead of sitting around watching TV or some other ‘de-stressing’ activity, he decided to work on his ‘to-do’ list. We’re trying to take our home in a more mid century modern direction. We found the perfect couch and setee about six months ago, but the side tables had us stumped. Nothing we found fit our style. At the hardwood store, we found the perfect woods. We wanted a variety of tones so we went with machiche, walnut and pear woods.  Then drew up plans for our own custom made tables. From there the project stalled. Until now. He pulled the equipment from the shed, dusted it off and went to work.

Of the three tables, one is almost completed. The other two are in various stages. Plus, he found time for us to scene not once, or twice, but four times. Four bone melting, ‘thank gawd we don’t have neighbors close enough to report the screams’, scenes. Yeah, I’m a very lucky girl.

Friends…

I’ve been pondering a few things this week. Dangerous, I know.

At what point does a person move from an acquaintance to a friend? I’m on several BDSM boards and there are often posts about ‘coming out’ with friends and family. My question is – if you are in the lifestyle, if it’s a way of life for you, not some kinky fun you enjoy in the bedroom – and your friends don’t know – are they really your friends?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think ‘friends’ need to know what goes on behind closed doors, but if they know nothing about a major component of your personality/life, I wonder if they count as friends. For me, the answer is no they’re not. They are someone I chat with on a superficial level.

A friend is someone I can trust. Someone who has my back and I have theirs. Someone that shares my same values. We don’t have to agree on politics or brand loyalties, but underneath all the fluff, we need to be in sync. I don’t share that with many people.

The biggie for me is respect. If you run down your significant other, we’ll never be friends. This is the person you’re supposed to love above all others. As soon as I hear a phrase such as – ‘you won’t believe what my stupid ________ (bf, gf, wife, husband), did now’, I’m out. People think they’re being funny. They’ll tell you, if you call them on it, they don’t mean it like that… Geez, what’s your problem?

My problem is, it’s hurtful. You’re diminishing how other’s look at your loved one in order to gain something – attention, sympathy, laughs…

Of course there with be times when something happens and you’re confused or hurt by your SO’s actions. But shouldn’t the conversation at least start between the two of you? Your lunch buddies won’t be able to tell you why your (bf, gf, wife, husband) overdrew your checking account or has a questionable picture on their phone. So sharing your laundry with them only serves a negative purpose.

This one person I’ve known for more than half my life thought it was perfectly fine to eat lunch daily with coworker they were attracted to. They had no intentions of taking it beyond a coworker/friend relationship so what could possibly go wrong? I’m sure you can see where this is going. A hell of a lot went wrong. Bashing their respective spouses  turned into a frequent occurrence. Instead of talking to their loved one about an issue, they’d let it fester. They’d chat with their coworker and garner sympathy.  The coworker, who only heard one side of the issues, naturally sided with their ‘friend’ and would converse accordingly. “Why do you put up with that? They shouldn’t treat you that way!”

Then my long time buddy made the fatal mistake. In an argument, they told their spouse what the coworker had said about them. The spouse knew immediately that the coworker had been privy to all their dirty laundry. The spouse felt betrayed (in my opinion – rightfully so). The marriage dissolved.

You may be wondering how we went from telling the difference between a friend and an acquaintance to divorce, but in my warped mind they connect. The road linking them is called trust. The difference between a friend and an acquaintance is the level of trust you have for that person.

The person you give your heart to, should be the person you trust more than anyone else. Period, end of sentence. If something isn’t right between you two, trust them to care enough to listen and to make changes. Trust them to have your back and give them that in return.

See it was a twisty, dirt road, but it did eventually get to the point.

dirt road

One of those talks…

Yesterday we were running around completing errands before we go on a trip. It started innocently enough, just an absentminded comment spoken off the cuff, without malice or forethought. Yet, it bloomed into an all day discussion. Emotions ran high as the conversation turned from mundane to life changing.

Hours, literally hours, went by as the discussion evolved. A decision was needed – about an issue that hadn’t been an issue (or so we thought) before the simple comment was uttered.

We’d found ourselves at a crossroads. Our paths to the fork in the road had been traveled separately, each wandering through the daily minutia alone, yet together. As in times past, we found we were both leaning toward the same conclusion.

In our relationship, my Love has the final say. His word is law. Now, it isn’t quite as one sided as that sounds. He asks my opinion and I believe he takes my wishes and desires into consideration before he makes his decision. I haven’t always agreed with him, but I’ve understood the underlying reasons and I support his choices.

The game plan for moving forward hasn’t been finalized. We’re still sorting through the ramifications and developing a timeline for changes. It’s exciting and nerve-wracking.

It always surprises me how intertwined my life is with the characters in my books. Against the Tide, which will be book four in the Bound for Justice series, is almost done. I’m probably three-quarters through the rough draft. Yet, just yesterday my Love and I found ourselves in the same boat as Mandy and Chase. Sure the topics were different, but the precipice was the same. The knowledge that once we take this step – there’s no backing out. You can’t un-ring the bell.

I’m confident that Chase and Mandy will find their happy ever after and so will we.

leap

Slow Hand and Complete Focus

mind

that’s what I want from my man. I want someone who will push the distractions aside and focus their full attention on just one thing.

Recently a friend and I had a discussion on speed dating. My advice to her was ask if he prefers reading or pod casts. If his answer is pod casts, walk away. He’ll suck in bed.

Before you decide I’m a techno-phobe and discount my theory, let me explain. I have nothing against pod casts. I listen to them myself. If I’m doing something monotonous, housework or such, then I’ll slip one on and let my mind take a little vacation. I often listen to court trials or TED talks. I even enjoy listening to a few sex blog pod casts while I get ready for work. The benefit to audio is you only have to dedicate part of your attention to it. You’re free to drive, clean, or otherwise occupy your time.

My hard limit is a man who is incapable of sitting down and picking up a book or E-reader and devoting the energy and focus needed to get lost in a story. A man who only  ‘reads’ audio books need not apply. I want a man who is willing to take the slow road, who enjoys engaging his imagination and wants the tactile feel of progressing through a story.

I want a man who will read for understanding and not just skim along the surface because I’m not an easy read. I have kinks and curves and I want a man who is willing to take the time to learn and understand them all.

Is my theory fool proof? No, of course not. Speed dating doesn’t allow for in depth discussions. Just food for thought.

 

What Does Love Look Like To You?

My husband is a total gear-head. If you cut him he’s more likely to bleed motor oil than blood. He loves American Muscle. Large cubic inch V-8s, lots of torque, two doors, ostentatious colors and loud stripes, get his heart pumping.

Fast, sleek, sporty, closed-bow boats do it for him too.

If he doesn’t have grease or paint under his fingernails, he just isn’t happy. Currently, he owns one car that is officially done, one he’s working on and one project waiting its turn in the wings. To say he stays busy would be an understatement.

When the kids were at home, he had to curb his tastes to fit within the family constraints. Our family ride was a limited edition, sporty, four door truck. Not so bad, right? Well, it almost killed him. The only thing that made it tolerable was the hemi and cool go-mango paint. Our boat was a compromise too. He called it a ‘soccer mom boat’ and there was some truth to that. It had a large sun lounge that we could snuggle on, a stow and go table we could use as a family, and a walk-through, open bow. It was convenient. And he hated it.

After our kids had graduated college and moved on with their life, my husband ran across his dream boat while surfing the internet one day. It was a smidgen expensive, but knowing we could easily sell the ‘soccer mom boat’ and recoup most the money – we sprang for it. I wish you could have seen the smile on his face as we pulled that rundown speed boat into the drive.

He spent that entire off season reconditioning the boat. He completely restored both the interior and exterior. It was drop dead gorgeous. We used it frequently that summer. One evening while we were enjoying a sunset out on the lake, he asked me what I thought of the boat. I told him it was beautiful and that he had out-done himself.

After spending thirty plus years with me, he knew I was hedging. Being the dominant that he is, he didn’t let my half answer ride. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. He had turned an old rundown boat into a show-piece. It was a great boat if all you wanted to do was cruise the lake and ski. If you wanted to snuggle, you were out of luck though. Eventually, I told him so.

That winter he told me we were selling the boat. I felt horrible. This was his dream boat, the one he’d drooled over as a teen. He’d worked his butt off restoring it and now he wanted to sell it. I told him I wasn’t comfortable with that decision and I really thought he would come to regret it. They are fairly rare and it wouldn’t be possible for him to just buy another. In our household, decisions are made by him. He listens to my input, but ultimately, it’s his decision. All I could do was sit back and wait. And hope.

A few weeks went by before we discussed it again. He told me he’d been thinking about what I said and he’d come up with a compromise. The boat was actually longer than our previous boat, but the cabin design made it feel cramped. His plan was to completely redesign the cabin area. He wanted to literally take a saw and cut away a portion of the aft-deck to enlarge the space. With the added room, he would be able to duplicate the wrap around seating and sun lounge area of our previous boat.

The project he was proposing was huge. All the work he’d previously done on the upholstery would be for nothing. He’d have to re-engineer the rear seating area, fabricate and re-gelcoat a significant portion of the rear area of the boat – all because I missed snuggling with him.

What does love look like to me? It looks like my husband spending hour after hour working to make his dream boat, our dream boat. It looks like my husband putting his car projects on hold while he spends months making sure our alone time on the lake is as special as it can be.

I asked my husband what love looked like to him. His answer was immediate – my woman having faith and confidence in me.

What does love look like to you?

Appreciated

For a little over a month I’ve been having some health issues. In the big scheme of things, it’s no big deal. Primarily, constant pain and absolutely no energy. To say the least, I’ve not been a lot of fun to live with.

Never once has my husband complained. He stepped up without my asking. He’d come home and ask, “What can I make us for dinner?” He started doing the chores I usually do as well as his own. When I’d go to bed at eight o’clock or sometimes, even six, he’d tuck me in bed and dote on me.

You’re probably thinking, that’s too good to be true. You only find that kind of love and devotion in a romance novel. About twenty, twenty-five years ago, I would have agreed with you. We didn’t always have the relationship we have today.

We married at eighteen and started having kids at twenty-five. Like everybody else, we worked our butts off. We went to work and school, took care of the kids, and I was the primary care-giver to my mom in the last few years of her life. We were like ships passing in the night.  We lived separate lives together.

After a few years of that, we grew unsatisfied. We were at a crossroads and something had to give. Since I was so unhappy with my life, I used escapism to get me through the day to day grind.

For me, my choice of escape was books. I found one that really spoke to me. I must have read that one five times back to back. I remember laying in bed one night reading that book and silently crying I was so envious of the characters in the book. Their relationship was exactly what I wanted.

One day I got up the nerve and asked my husband to read it. I explained that it was really important to me. He said he would read it. He promised me and I believed him. He’d never lied to me and I knew he had every intention of reading it, but I also knew it wasn’t a priority. He was living his life and barely had time for things that were important to him. I can’t fault him. He never read fiction. He was a non-fiction kind of guy. Had he asked me to read a manual, I wouldn’t have slid all the to-be-read fiction books off my nightstand.

But I wasn’t going to give up either. In the car, when I had him as a captive audience, I started reading him the sex scenes. We’d been married over ten years. I knew how to get his attention ;). After a few trips in the car, I saw him reading the book.

Oh the conversations that book started. We talked and talked and talked some more. Money was tight, but we started a weekly date night. Even if we just drove to the park and ate fast food, we still took that time to be alone together. We learned so much about each other. I don’t know when it happened exactly, but he became essential to me. He wasn’t just my husband, he was my best friend, the reason why I smiled. Over the years, our relationship has continued to evolve.

Is it perfect? No, probably not. I don’t think I’d want it to be either. I enjoy learning new things about him, new ways to make him smile.

The one downside to being so close, is the worry. When your spouse is the other half of your soul, you get scared quickly when a health issue arises. I scared him and for that I’m sorry.

Next month, we’ll celebrate our 32nd wedding anniversary. On one hand, it seems completely impossible that it could have been that long, yet it also feels like there was never a me without him.

While our marriage has had its ups and downs, I wouldn’t change a thing.

My love, I appreciate you and everything you do for us. You show me in so many ways how much you love me and value ‘us’. Luckily for me, you aren’t one of those strong, silent types either. You’re willing to spell it out for me too. Your whispered sweet talk and your naughty texts make me smile all day long. You’re deeply loved and you’re appreciated too. Thank you!