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The rare stand alone short story. Inspired with my eternal gratitude by Xan West’s Show Yourself to MeTakes place in La Vista, but doesn’t star any QLV characters. Also rare in that it’s both first person and present tense, not a configuration I feel all that comfortable in.

Sometimes the story tells you what it needs. And you do it.


I knew. I’d always known. How Jennifer really felt, how she really thought about me. But she said all the right things and I let myself believe she meant them.

Until this moment, wrapped around her leg while she flogs me, tips snapping at my ass. Until this moment, when it just slips out: “Little girl.”

It’s like everything in me shrivels up. For an extended second she doesn’t realize what she’s done. The flogger keeps coming, but my skin only registers it as dull thud, no spark, none of the bright electric sizzle I crave.

Then: “Oh shit. I didn’t mean to say that.”

It’s worse than if she’d said “I didn’t mean it” or even just “I’m sorry.” I could have forgiven her I’m sorry, even though I would have known it for a bandaid over a deeper betrayal.

But I didn’t mean to say that is so bare, so uncompromising. She means it. She just didn’t mean to say it aloud. To me.

The humiliation washes over my shoulders, my back, my chest, never flat enough. It curdles in my belly, where I’d hidden this fear like a banked fire, where now it rises up, threatening to consume us both.

What does she tell her friends about me? Does she call me her girl, her girlfriend? She’d been good about my pronouns, of course. I wouldn’t have been with her otherwise. The most I could accuse her of was occasional impatience. “Why do you always have to process everything so much? Can’t you just let it go for once?”

All that time, months of my life, while I tried to build her up to be the woman I needed, had she been tearing me down in her head, subtracting to get the woman she wished I was?

I pull away from her, nauseous, tugging my jeans on first—the tight ones she particularly liked—then my binder. I’d stripped bare for her, trusting her to see who I was, even without it. I shrug into my shirt, buttoning it with angry motions, daring her to speak.

Little girl. I fight the very real urge to vomit and slide my feet into flip flops. If I’m going to puke, it won’t be here, where she can see. I won’t be vulnerable for her ever again.

“I didn’t fucking mean it, Jesus. It was an accident.” But even her words seem rote. They’re a script. Has she rehearsed for this?

I say nothing, picking up my messenger bag, ducking my head under it. I do none of the usual fine-tuning, making sure my binder is right, making sure my shirt doesn’t tug, making sure the strap of the bag doesn’t fall wrong. Even with a good binder, sometimes I can’t wear a bag across my body. Sometimes it still feels too revealing.

I don’t bother double-checking. I get out without another word to her, hopefully ever. That it’s melodramatic and willful and I’m throwing a tantrum in my head doesn’t matter. That two words have seared deeply into the tenderest parts of me and marked me there, maybe permanently, I can’t afford to think about.

I end up at Club Fred’s because I can’t face going home.

The new bartender’s on tonight, not Tom, which is sad. Tom’s a great comfort on bad nights, tall and fit and effortlessly masculine, a cis dude who never makes me feel crappy about myself.

The new bartender’s a less known quantity, but he’s been around since I hooked up with Jennifer, so he’s probably not that new anymore. She and her friends hang out in the city more, so I guess I haven’t been around much. I take a seat at the bar and order a beer.

New Bartender puts it in front of me. “You’re Adrian, right?”

“Uh, yeah. Figured you wouldn’t remember.”

He smiles, cheeky with it. “You aren’t that forgettable. Rough night?”

“Fucking ridiculous night, yeah. I’m sure you don’t want to hear about it.”

He glances down the bar, but it’s Wednesday, and it’s early. No one needs him. “Shoot.”

God, I am such a cliché. I’m spilling my pathetic breakup to the new bartender before I’ve even bothered to learn his name. And, just to complete the humiliation, I’m actually crying about her.

“It doesn’t matter.” I sniffle into what remains of my beer. “I just thought maybe she’d be different, but maybe I’m the fucking problem. Maybe I want too much. Sorry, fuck, I really didn’t come here to whine.”

He waves a hand. Cute kid, young, dark hair up and down his arms. Brightly colored tattoo on his shoulder, but I can’t tell what it is. Nice smile. “Nah, I figure wanting the people you’re fucking to understand you aren’t a little girl is probably pretty normal. If some guy called me that in the heat of the moment, I think I’d probably be pretty weirded out. And if you actually told her that wasn’t your thing, then she should be here buying you drinks, begging you to take her back.”

“Ha ha ha. Jennifer doesn’t beg. For anything.”

“Her loss.” He shrugs. “I’m kind of a fan of begging, myself.”

Before I think about it, I say, “You and me both.” Then I swallow.

He’s called away to serve someone and I sit, skin tingling a little with the unsteady sensation of having exposed myself like that. Not that I have a problem with the stuff I like. It’s not about that. It’s about sitting here, crying, pouring my whole boring genderqueer soul out to a cute bartender. It’s fine. I’ll finish my beer and go home. And tomorrow I’ll move on.

I want to find a place in my head where I’m happy to be done with her, but I can’t. Right now all I can think about is her hand in my hair, and the sick void where I’ll never feel it again.

I’m not totally shocked when New Bartender comes back over.

“So look, I don’t want to get involved if you’re—you know. If you aren’t interested. But I have a friend.”

A friend? “Are you trying to…set me up? I like…just broke up with my girlfriend.” I glance at the clock. “An hour and a half ago.”

“Not like that!” Even his eye-roll is charming. He leans over the bar. “But if you were in the middle of a scene and she broke your heart, you probably have scene blue balls. And I have a friend.”

I’m startled into a laugh. “Shit. Actually, yeah. I thought—tonight was supposed to be—” Fuck it. I can’t think about it.

“So. You want to hear about my friend?”

“You have a dominant dyke who doesn’t mind playing with people who aren’t women shoved in your pocket?” It’s a joke, but he shakes his head.

“He’s not a dyke. But he’s dominant as shit. And he doesn’t mind playing with people who aren’t women.”

Oh. Well, shit. I look away, trying to work out how I feel right now.

“Unless…” He pauses. “You don’t play with men.”

“It’s not that.” It’s only sort of that, but not in the way he means. Some of my darkest, most fucked up fantasies include men. But fantasy men are different than real life men.

Then again, my fantasy Jennifer is a hell of a lot different than the real one.

I shake off that thought and meet his eyes. He’s just waiting for me to think, like he’s got all the time in the world. “I can’t do a repeat. And you hardly know me, how do you know this friend of yours will—” It sucks even thinking the words. Accept me, understand me, not reject me over shit I have no say in, not doubt my truth even when I’m saying it right to his face.

He shrugs. “Just kind of a feeling I have. Anyway, I already texted him. So if you want to take care of your blue balls on your own, you can do that, but you can also just hang out for a minute.”

It’s invasive and I want to be offended, but what I really feel is relief. No decision to be made; I just have to sit here, nursing my one beer, and see who walks in the door.

It doesn’t take long.

I know this is the guy before New Bartender comes back over to introduce us. He sits next to me, even though there are a lot of stools open, and he doesn’t say anything.

The fucked up voice in my head wants to know how New Bartender described me, that I was so recognizable. Did he say “there’s a girl sitting at the bar”? It doesn’t matter that I tell myself he wouldn’t, probably. The damage is done, I’m blushing, and I wish I’d walked out.

But now this big dude is sitting next to me, black guy, leather jacket (of course). He’s wider than I am by at least another me. Not that tall, though, but clearly this is the kind of guy who doesn’t need to be tall.

Energy radiates off him. I’m shocked when New Bartender grins and leans over the bar for a kiss. It’s quick, friendly, casual. But it’s a kiss, and this guy growls a little, or maybe chuckles. Growl-chuckles.

“Adrian, my friend Brandon. Brandon, this is Adrian.”

Am I supposed to shake hands? This guy is older than I am, and for all I know he’s old school and I’m supposed to keep my eyes down and genuflect or some fucking thing.

He puts his hand out. So I shake. But I still keep my eyes down.

“Grab a table with me,” he says.

It’s a table in Club Fred’s. There’s this unspoken thing where nothing bad can happen to you, as long as you’re in Fred’s, so I follow him to a table. When we get there I realize I’ve forgotten my damn beer, but he puts his hand on my arm before I can go back for it.

His hand is hot, feverish, like he’s had it up to a flame. “Sit. I’m going back for mine, anyway.”

Great. Mind-reading dom. Just what I always wanted in my Christmas stocking. I sit because why the hell not, and wait for him to come back.

“Jonny says you had a rough night.” He pushes the last of my beer across the table and takes a seat.

Rough night. Exactly the way New Bartender had said it. “Is that his name? Fits him.”

“Yeah.”

I keep my eyes on his chin. “Rough night. Yeah. You know how it is. People let you down.” I don’t want to seem whiny or petulant. It’s just how it is, man. Happens to us all, am I right?

He—Brandon, and at least we’re spared the indignities of silly names at the moment—grunts agreement. “You want a scene? Or you want to drown your sorrows and mope?”

I’m irritated enough to look up. He’s not mocking me, though. I can tell by his wide, expressive eyes, looking into mine. I make my tone even. “Hey, I didn’t come here for pity. I came here for a beer.”

“You got pity anyway.” Subtext: the least you could do is accept it with a little grace. “You gonna answer my question?”

This time I lower my eyes all the way to my hands. “I don’t know you.”

“You don’t remember me.” Just the slightest hint of correction in his voice. “You still run with those militant queers? Didn’t y’all want to abolish labels and fly free?”

Oh my god. I blush. “Uh. We were young. That’s…the only excuse I can come up with.”

Brandon laughs. “Don’t need an excuse. It was cool. My boy Rudy was in with you for a while, before he left for graduate school.”

Now I study him again. I’d liked Rudy, and I vaguely remember an outline of his daddy. Is this the same guy? “Sorry I don’t remember you better.”

He shrugs. There’s power in his shoulders, in his shrug. “No worries. You want to call Rudy, make sure I’m safe?”

“No. You feel safe. I just…” What? Why was I hesitating so hard?

“We could go over to Pleasure Principle if you want to be in public.”

I crinkle my nose. He’s chuckling before I manage to say, “I really don’t want to be in public. And definitely not there.”

“It’s not everyone’s scene.”

“It’s kind of gross. Not all the time. But enough so it makes me feel a little…revolted.”

This time he’s the one studying me, and I take a sip of my beer just for something to do under that unrelenting gaze. When he speaks again, his voice is lower. “What do you like?”

“I’m not huge into the daddy stuff.” That might be a dealbreaker for a guy like this. “And I’m not into serious pain, or edgeplay, or blood. I just…” I just want someone to hurt me a little bit before they fuck me and hold me after. But I can’t say that sitting in this table in Club Fred’s. So I distract both of us with the gender jive. Because maybe what I am isn’t good enough for him, so we might as well quit talking now. “I’m genderqueer.”

He nods. “Pronouns?”

“Uh…ze/zir.” I always feel a little ridiculous saying it.

If Brandon thinks it’s ridiculous, he doesn’t let on. “You use any words specifically for your body? You want me to avoid any?”

Jesus. I blush. “Cock,” I mumble. “And cunt. Ass. And, uh, chest. Not—not anything else.”

He nods again. “What do you like after a scene?”

I sigh. Jennifer had never asked. How arrogant do you have to be to never ask? “I just…like hands on me, after. It’s grounding.” Not tucking me into bed before checking Facebook on your phone. Social media doesn’t form any part of my aftercare plan.

“I can do that.”

“Are you for real right now?” I force myself to meet his eyes. “I mean, maybe you remember me, but we don’t really know each other.”

“Jonny said you were sad. I have a thing for turning frowns upside down.”

The line is so dumb, and so surprising, I laugh. “Damn. I can’t even believe you just said that. Who are you, Kermit the Frog?”

“I always thought Kermit was more into appropriate expressions of emotions than that.” He takes what has to be the second, maybe third, sip from his beer. He’s hardly touched it. “I usually like to play with people in their space the first time, unless they want something extreme so we need to be in mine.”

“I don’t want anything extreme.” Is that an invitation? I’m not sure. Do I want to bring him back to my room right now? If I’m lucky, the rest of the house will be out, or at least keeping to themselves. And I really don’t want anything I haven’t done at the house before anyway.

I make the decision. “Yeah, okay. A scene would be good. We—my, uh, the person I was with and I—were kind of in the middle of something when she—” Fucked it up. “When it ended.”

“Sounds abrupt.”

“No. I mean yes, but no. I just managed to be in denial for a long time about how she really felt. It’s probably better this way.” I don’t believe that yet, but I will. Eventually. I gesture to his drink. “You want to finish that?”

“Nope.”

Okaaaaay. I sit still. Waiting.

“What’s your safeword, Adrian?”

I know my face is doing a thing. “We’re not really going that far. I’ll tell you if I need you to stop.”

“You don’t like safewords?”

“Not that I don’t like them. Just that I don’t think they’re necessary for everything on earth.”

“I agree with that.” He says it slowly. “Sometimes they can be freeing.”

“I’m feeling plenty free enough at the moment. I’ll tell you what. If I say ‘Get the fuck out of my house,’ you can assume I’m serious.”

This time he cracks a smile. “Understood. Kind of long, really, but I like your style. Should we go?”

“Yeah. Let’s go.”

I give him my address and verify that his phone wants to send him to the right place (sometimes the maps get confused, and there’s a lot of road work around the community college right now). Then I leave, while he goes up to pay for his beer.

This might be dumb. And there’s no real…spark. Between us. But I’ve played with some good people without anything mystical going on, just a transactional thing, where they deal out sensation and I absorb it, use it to define my own edges. Sometimes that’s just right.

And we’re not doing anything serious, anyway.

I get to the house first, verify that two of my three roommates are out, and the third has a room on the first floor. Good so far. He arrives before I can kick my dirty clothes under my bed, so I lead him in and he stands there, in my room, while I try to tidy up.

He doesn’t stop me, though. The cynical part of me thinks he probably feels like it’s his due, some dumb submissive making room for him. The hopeful part of me—the part I want to die a horrible death so I never get hurt again—wishes he’s watching me and he likes what he sees, and more, that he sees who I am. It’s so stupid.

“Will you tell me what happened earlier?”

I glance up. “Why?”

His shrug is big, a large movement in a small space. It’s not that his shoulders are wide, it’s more in his stance, how he holds himself, how he moves. Yeah, he’s bigger than me, but he’s also got a presence, and the first tingle of anticipation threads through my nervous system.

“I’d like to know what hit you hard enough to end the scene” is all he says.

Great. Because what I need right now is a big strong man to treat me like I’m fragile. I know it’s fucked up, but my fantasies of men have always been darker, no holds barred, as if men, in my erotic imagination, take things to a more extreme place than women do. Which I realize is anti-feminist and all kinds of internalized shit, but there it is.

I’m about to tell him that he doesn’t need to walk on eggshells, I’m a great big grown up and I don’t need him to coddle me, dammit—except when I look up again, I don’t see that in his face.

Instead of my rant, I say, “It’s pretty dumb.”

His eyebrows lift just slightly.

Fuck it. “She called me ‘little girl.’ I don’t like ‘girl’ or ‘boy,’ okay? They’re not—sexy, to me. So I walked out. Except really—I really walked out because I always knew she felt that way and was hiding it, so this just showed me I was right. Sometimes you can tell. Not you. Me. People like me. Sometimes you can tell people are just sort of humoring you, and sometimes you think you’re being paranoid so you tell yourself they aren’t. Anyway.”

I definitely don’t look up again.

“You told your top a limit, and she ignored it.”

I frown at my feet, trimmed nails, soft skin, all primping I did because she liked it. “I told you it was dumb.”

He walks forward and I go very still until his boots are in my line of sight. “Adrian. You told her your limit and she ignored it.”

“They’re just words.”

I think he shakes his head, but I can’t tell. There’s a disturbance in the air. Then his hand, still hot, touches my neck, where my pulse beats against it. And oh god, now, now I want him. Now I want everything, in the space between one second and the next. I want him looming over me, and hurting me, and taking me.

I desperately want him to see me, but there’s no way of telling.

He makes a tsk sound. “You know they aren’t just words. Who are you lying to? Yourself?”

“I—” It makes me a little sick, that he reads me so well. “Maybe. Seems like if I can convince myself they’re only words, it won’t hurt as badly.”

“Words are powerful.” His hand curls around my throat and tightens just a little. I can breathe just fine, but taking my breath isn’t the point. That I’m standing there, not resisting, and he could. That’s the point. “I will use my hands and my teeth, but I won’t draw blood. Do you want me to make you cry? Or do you want me to stop before I do?”

Shit. I thought I’d done enough to know how to negotiate, but maybe I’ve never been with someone like Brandon, because it’s the first time anyone’s asked me that.

“Please don’t stop.” I hate it when they stop, like I’m breaking, like they’re responsible for it. “I cry way before I hit where I need you to stop.”

“Most people do. Some folks just don’t feel comfortable crying.” His hand…lifts, bringing me with it. Just a little. Just enough. I stretch, balancing my weight forward, to make up for the shift. “My hands can deal out a lot of pain. You got anything you want me to avoid? Certain positions? Certain places?”

I shake my head, swallowing, knowing he can feel my swallow against his palm.

“Can you hold still if I don’t restrain you?”

“I don’t—uh—with people I don’t know, I don’t really feel comfortable being restrained.”

“I’ll have to provide the right incentives for you to hold still, then. Or the right disincentives, depending on how much fun you are to hurt.” His hand tightens, still not really obstructing my air, just making me more conscious of it.

I hold back a moan.

“Last question: how naked do you want to be?”

This time I raise my eyes all the way to his lips. His skin is medium-brown. I’m mesmerized by the shiny pink on the inside of his lower lip, which I can see because he’s grinning.

“I’d like to see you bare. But I’ll understand if that doesn’t work for you.”

“You say all the right things.” It’s weak, but it’s the only thing I can come up with. Plus, it’s not easy to be eloquent with a guy holding on to your windpipe.

“I try to learn from my mistakes.” He doesn’t explain what that means. “How naked, Adrian?”

I know what’s safest. And I know what I want. I close my eyes and push against his hand until I’m not quite choking myself. “Naked. All the way naked.”

Another one of those growl-chuckles. “Sounds good to me. Get undressed and stand right here. So I can look at you.” But before he releases me he squeezes just once, for the length of a heartbeat.

Does he get it, somehow? I don’t know. I take a steadying breath and turn away.

“No. Back where you were.”

Jesus, he wants to watch me wriggle out of my binder? There’s no fucking dignity in that. I’ve licked boots with way less humiliation than trying to free myself from a good binder.

But I do it. Because he asks the right questions.

I blush deeply, hot and uncomfortable, stripping off my clothes, self-consciously folding them so I don’t come off as more of a slob than he already thinks I am. My place is small so I just pile them on top of a stack of books and return to the spot. So he can look at me.

Being looked at is such a roller coaster ride. I’m so hungry for it and so consumed by it, but part of me is also detached. Detached from my body. Detached from what it means that someone else is seeing it. Detached from whatever it is they’ll say about it, which will probably feel wrong. It usually feels wrong.

He steps up behind me and I try to control my breathing, I try to force myself to breathe normally, which is impossible, because once you’re trying to breathe, you’ve lost the rhythm.

A fingernail scrapes down my back. It’s hard, but not too hard. It doesn’t hurt, but I can feel the trail of it for a few seconds when he’s done.

Then the other side.

He huffs heated air on the back of my neck, and that feels good, and strange, and weirdly exposing. My skin cools after and I don’t quite shiver but my shoulders shift a little.

“Be still.”

Oh god, his voice is low. Steady. I’m pretty sure he’s turned on, even though he’s not touching me. He’s just standing there. Behind me.

I swallow and hold myself more statue-like. Usually I play with people I know, casually, and it’s kind of both of us getting what we want out of it. All that stuff about wanting to please your top? I thought I understood it because I took a little extra care with my toenails, or because I was willing to crawl when Jennifer demanded it, even though it seemed dumb.

I barely know Brandon, but right now I want to please him so much I have to keep relaxing my fingers so they don’t form fists. Be still is practically the only thing he’s demanded, and I want to meet it with everything in me.

This time the nail drags up over my ass, curls around my side, starts straight up the center of my chest. There’s no controlling my breathing, it’s fast and uneven. His index finger presses just a little harder as he draws a line up my throat, tilting my head back.

He holds me like that, head bent so far blood rushes my ears for a heartbeat. Then he steps up and his other arm wraps tightly around my middle. He’s hard at my back and he’s pulling me in against him like he knows just how thrilling that is, how unexpected, how subversive that I’m letting a man dominate me.

Then he latches onto my shoulder with his teeth and I forget everything else and howl. There’s something so primally wrong about being bitten, about the depth of the sensation and its duration. You can’t escape teeth. You don’t get a breather unless someone chooses to give you one.

Brandon holds me tightly against him, and I’m grateful because I wouldn’t have been able to stand still for this if he wasn’t.

Just when I think I can ride it, he bites harder and everything intensifies. I stop breathing, I stop thinking, I lose the ability to tell myself it’ll be over soon, everything is about this inescapable pain.

Then it stops. But he doesn’t move, except his teeth.

I’m horrified to find I’m actually near tears. Jesus, he’s gonna think I’m a fucking lightweight, and I’m not. I’m not a heavyweight, either, but I can usually hold my own for longer than five fucking minutes, dammit.

It’s so good that he’s still holding me. I think I might be trembling.

His right hand, the one with the clever fingernail, cups my throat, keeping my head back. He grinds his dick against me a little, but it doesn’t feel predatory. It doesn’t even feel like a promise, though I can feel my cock swell and my cunt get wet. It’s just him making his presence known as he breathes right beside my face.

This time he bites down on the skin right at the junction of shoulder and neck and I cry out. It’s worse, so much worse, it feels like he’s severing tendons or muscles in there, it’s agony, I can’t fucking breathe it hurts so bad, and I’m gripping his arms, hanging onto him with all my strength. I’m supposed to be still but all I can do is hold on and hope he keeps me up while this relentless pain drills into me.

An eternity later he stops and I’m almost boneless with relief and the pulsing remnants of it, still beating its way through my muscles.

“If you can let it go, I can take it,” he says, directly into my ear.

I clench my jaw. Tears eek out of my eyes, but I don’t want to lose my shit. I want to be strong.

The arm clamping me to his body loosens and I start to shake my head but the hand at my throat tightens. “Please,” I whisper. I need his arm. I need him to stay this close.

The hand at my throat squeezes, slowly, until my mouth opens. I’m not quite gasping. He’s controlling how much air I can get, but it’s enough. I can tell he isn’t pulling away, even though his other arm moves again and I’m not quite anchored against him like I was before.

I get it when he starts in with the scratching.

It begins slow, deep, but not too bad. I can think about it. I can apply language to sensation: raking, bright, warm. I keep myself still as his nails crisscross my belly, reach down for my thighs. I can breathe into this, even as it starts to build up, even as it gets a little harder to take. I’m still in it. I can still feel it. I can still think.

When it keeps going, relentlessly, and his nails dig paths across skin already smoldering, I can barely stay still. My right hand is digging into his forearm, and my left is grasping the seam of his jeans.

My breath is rasping in my ears. There’s no break, no pause, no moment of relief, just scratching until I’m not entirely sure where his nails are because the afterburn is intense and endless. I start stomping my feet because it’s too much, way too much, but he still doesn’t stop.

I don’t let go of him. If I do, I’ll run like hell, and I don’t want to run. I want to take what he’s giving me. I’m shaking and the hand at my throat shifts, becoming his entire arm, pressing over my chest, keeping me tight against him.

I can’t stop stomping my feet.

The sensation is unimaginable. It feels like it’s everywhere, even though it’s realistically only where he can reach with one hand. I know this, but I also know it to be untrue, because this is eternal, ubiquitous, and I’m squirming now, even though I’m trying not to, even though I want to be strong.

He growls into my ear, not words, and my hand on the seam of his jeans turns into a claw as I try not to protect myself. This would be so much easier if I was restrained, if I had no choice, if I could fight the restraints, if I could fight something instead of expending all of my energy in this awkward dance of fighting my body while he hurts it.

It feels like he’s scraping all the skin off my belly, that he’s shedding my thighs, and I’m crying, and I hate the sound of crying so I try to bury my face in the crook of his elbow. I can’t hold out. This time I twist, I bring one hand up, try to wrestle his away, but he’s strong and digs in harder with his nails, like he’s trying to pull out my intestines, like he won’t stop for anything.

“Please.” I hear myself say it, voice shaky and high, like I’ve been crying. I hate crying. “Please stop, please, you have to, I can’t, you can’t, please—” Phrases that usually make sense, but I can’t put them in order. “You have to stop—”

“You can kick me out of your house any time, Adrian.” Damn him for sounding amused. “You want to switch it up?”

“Please, anything, please.”

I am so consumed with relief when he stops that I hang there, limp and exhausted. “Thank you, thank you, oh god, thank you.”

He laughs. “Oh, we’re not done. Save your thanks.” He deposits me on the floor, not ungently, and stalks across the room to the bed. My bed. Where he sits. “Over my knee.”

My skin’s enraged, on fire, a hot pink backdrop with white edges and blood-red streaks. I don’t want to be over his knee. I want him to go. This was good. I can get out my vibe, edge myself playing with the marks. It’ll be fine.

Except now I have this man in my room. Sitting on my bed. Staring at me while I sniffle on the floor.

“I’m good,” I say.

“I’m not. Over my knee.” A smile. A teasing, slightly cruel smile. “Unless you want me to drag you over here, Adrian.”

“No, really, I’m good. You can go now.” It’s a bluff. I want him to go. But some stupid part of me wants to see what he’ll do if he stays.

He raises his eyebrows at me. “Get your ass over my knee in five…four…three…”

I start moving and now I’m turned on. My cunt is slippery as I crawl to him. I don’t even know why I’m crawling, because it’s dumb, and especially dumb when I’m doing it without being ordered to, but maybe it’s the only way I can say Thank you for not leaving.

Being over someone’s knee is the most fucking humiliating thing ever, in that moment, when you’re there. He traps me between his legs, one of his over both of mine so I can’t get away, one arm pressing my upper body to the bed, exposing my ass to him.

I brace, awaiting impact, but he just rubs over my skin. I start to freak out in my head, thinking he’s gonna start scratching again and then I will tell him to get the fuck out, because I can’t, there’s no way. My legs are clamped between his, my cunt is wet, my cock is desperately trying to rub against anything it can find, and he’s pinching my ass cheeks like he’s playing with me. Toying with me.

I’m the fucking mouse, and he’s a very happy cat.

It’s infuriating how hot this is, being held down by a man, being fucked with and pinched, feeling the weight of his arm over my back, the strength in his legs. I want to not-want this, but my cock is a whore and even as I’m trying not to moan I realize my body’s doing these little tiny humping motions against the leg I’m draped over. His fingers just keep pinching and twisting and pulling and it hurts, and it’s sexy, and I want more, and I can’t stand that I want more.

That’s when he starts spanking me.

I’ve taken spankings. Brandon’s strong and doesn’t go light on me, and at first I’m still relieved. I’d much rather be spanked than scratched. Spanking I can endure. It doesn’t get inside my head as badly. It’s deep, and it’s thud, and there’s a pleasing surface sting to it, and then there’s heat, and as he keeps going I realize we’re going beyond my usual threshold for this kind of thing.

I can do this. It’s just a spanking. It’s all over my ass, my thighs. All the still-burning parts of my stomach are pressed against his leg and when I try to shift awareness, I can feel them, like I can toggle what I’m currently obsessing over: the raw skin on my belly? The bruising ache on my ass?

He stops and I can breathe. Good. That was rough. And I’m teary. But I survived.

Except he’s repositioning me, pulling my upper body against him more.

“Spread your legs.”

I do it.

“Your cock is greedy, isn’t it?” He reaches down, fingers sliding. When they touch my cock I jolt and he laughs. “Greedy, greedy. If I had my clothespins I’d teach this greedy cock some manners. Keep your legs spread and don’t come.”

His outer leg somehow keeps me open and the spanking begins again. Is it harder, or does it just feel harder because everything on me aches? I imagine what it’d feel like if he’d lined me with clothespins first and shudder, which he seems to take as a challenge.

This is the hardest spanking I’ve ever felt in my life. The exposure of it grates on me. The impact is severe. I’m crying for real now, but my cock is still hard, desperate, and my cunt is still wet.

Traitors.

He stops again and his hand goes straight to my cock. “Now,” he says, and I hump his hand and come in five seconds.

He chuckles. He fucking chuckles while the tears are still drying on my cheeks and his hand is covered in my come. It pisses me off so I try to roll away, but he clamps down again and slaps my ass once.

“Nope. You just rest there for a minute.”

“Fuck you.”

“You are cruising for a bruising, Adrian.” Another slap. “I was nice enough to let you get off. Be good.”

Get the fuck out of my house. I don’t say it.

His hands roam over my back. One rubs up and down my thighs and ass. The other pushes into my short hair, and this pleasure is so intense it almost hurts. Most bizarrely of all, I feel myself starting to cry again as he massages my scalp.

I lay my head down and let him, but I can’t stop weeping into my coverlet.

“There you go.” His voice is lower now. “There you go.”

He keeps me there until I’m only sniffling. When he moves I think he’s getting up to leave, but he doesn’t. He tugs me up onto the bed and curls around me, still fully dressed, pulling the folded blanket from the foot of my bed over both of us.

Taking a spanking from a stranger seems only slightly strange on my internal meter; cuddling with one is an extreme aberration from the norm.

“You can go.” I keep my eyes closed.

“I’m aware of my options.” His jacket creaks as he settles an arm over me. I want to tell him I don’t need to be coddled like a stupid jerk, but he probably wouldn’t leave anyway.

He’s still hard.

“You can fuck me.” I cringe. I don’t mean to sound petulant. “I mean, if you want.”

“If I wanted to, I would.”

That scalds me, more than his nails, more than the bone-deep ache in my ass and thighs. I squeeze my eyes closed as hard as I can, but it’s fucking worthless. I don’t know how I can have so much energy left in me. My whole body is shaking.

“Shit.” For once, Brandon’s voice changes, no longer Big Bad Top. “Not what I meant.” He sits up and pulls me with him, bodily, into his fucking arms like a little kid.

I huddle there, miserably trying to stop crying.

He’s stroking through my hair again and I can feel his chest rising and falling with his breaths. “Stop playing with people who make you feel shitty. And definitely stop dating them.”

“Who else is there?” I sniff, wishing I had a tissue. Or a box of tissues.

“Can the self-pity. Yeah, shit is hard, but if you give up, they win. Do you want them to win?”

I don’t really know who they are, but I know I don’t want them to win. I shake my head.

“And for fuck’s sake, stop assuming people are shitting on you when they aren’t. I don’t have sex with people my boy doesn’t know, no matter how cute they are.” He tousles my hair.

“Fuck you,” I mumble.

He snorts. “Statement of fact. Why don’t you pull your shit together and I’ll take you back to Club Fred’s and buy you a beer?”

“I’m not sure I have it in me to face Fred’s right now.”

“Sure you do. Better than sitting here thinking about your ex.”

Hard to argue with that. I groan, unfolding myself from his arms. I can’t look at him while I pull on clothes—baggy jeans, old comfort T, denim jacket with rainbow trim I wore all through high school. I suck down the better part of a bottle of water and toe into my flip flops. “I’m ready.”

“Come here.”

“The scene’s over. I’m good. We can just—”

“Come here.”

I sigh, going to stand in front of him. “What?”

He settles his hands on my shoulders and I look up, even though he hasn’t told me to. His expression is serious. “The thing inside you that wants to fight everything all the time will eventually exhaust itself. Find some folks you can be around without going to war, Adrian. It’s the only way we survive.”

We. I raise an eyebrow. I can’t help it.

“You think I haven’t been where you are? Trust me, stop dating assholes. Now, come on, I could use a beer.”

I follow him out, locking my door, trying to wrap my head around that we. It’s too much to hope he’s trans, that he really understands, but maybe he just means the we that is outcasts and aliens.

Either way, he gets it. And when he fucks with my hair on the way to the car it doesn’t feel like he’s seeing a girl. It feels like he’s seeing me.

April 1st, 2016|Categories: blog, free-stories|Tags: , |

7 Comments

  1. Jeanne April 1, 2016 at 7:45 pm - Reply

    OMG Kris. I was sitting here not breathing because of sick no. 2 of the week and then I was not breathing 'cause I was holding my breath waiting to see where this was going. Awesome. And you nailed first person present tense, fyi.

    Now I'm gonna go take an antihistamine so I can breathe and read it again.

  2. dinaswag April 1, 2016 at 9:03 pm - Reply

    So good. So. Good.

    Jeanne is right, you nailed first person present tense. I was so caught up in the story that I didn't notice it, if that makes any sense at all. And if I wasn't already looking forward to QLV, well this would have tipped the scale.

  3. Laura April 7, 2016 at 6:06 am - Reply

    This story is amazing. As the others mentioned, you definitely nailed first person. And of course I am so intrigued by these characters!

    I'd not stopped by the website for a bit and now, bam, all the stories. Happy day.

  4. […] Ripper’s erotica story “Seen”. Genderqueer bottom has a rough break up after zir limits get violated and seeks solace in a […]

  5. Blow Pop July 29, 2016 at 4:04 pm - Reply

    OH MY GOSH! I just got introduced to your writing here and I'm definitely going to go find and buy your books when I get some extra money. If your books are anything like this……Then new lifelong fan. Definitely.

    • KrisRipper2 August 4, 2016 at 3:57 pm - Reply

      I'm so pleased! And if you're not in funds, there are a whole bunch of free stories as well. (I've also been known to give out books. It's one of my favorite part of the job, really.)

      I'm so glad you liked Seen! It sank its teeth in me pretty deep, so I'm glad it resonates with other folks!

  6. […] Seen by Kris Ripper is an erotica story centering a genderqueer character who, reeling from a BDSM scene gone wrong because of cissexism, seeks solace and recognition. […]

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