Swallowtail Ch. 05byktmccoll©
Swallowtail is a novel that traces the narrator's gradual acceptance of submission.
Previously: after submitting our narrator to a series of challenges, the mysterious Dex falls off the radar. Our narrator sets about finding her and eventually does, at her piercing studio.
Chapter 5 -- The owning of it
I'm sitting in my office, blind to the work on the laptop before me. It occurs to me again that I really don't understand women. As a realization, it's hardly earth-shaking; I'm sure I'm only one of three billion or so bewildered men similarly handicapped, but it doesn't make ignorance any easier to stomach. Of all of the women I have failed to understand, Dex is the one who positively flummoxes me.
Dex preys on my mind and I berate myself for it. She materializes in my thoughts when I least expect her. I might be looking at a report or a proposal and the page will fade from awareness, replaced by the image of Dex's swallowtail tattoo, her myriad piercings, her calm raccoon gaze that challenges and invites at the same time. How such a young and inscrutable creature could possess so many of my waking thoughts is beyond me. It isn't as though I am completely without prospects, not to mention prettier and more predictable ones.
Ever since our first meeting, this dark wraith has had me venturing into territory that I would have scoffed or cringed at before. It confounds me that I've been so willing to go along with her and that I spend her absence so looking forward to what might come next, cringe-worthy as it might be. She's an addiction, quite possibly an unhealthy one. She's a witch who weaves spells with her body and mind, each scene an incantation that draws me deeper into her thrall.
Perhaps the occasion of our first meeting set a precedent. There were no rules or patterns that I could rely on then; there are none now. The rules would suggest that she return my calls, that we communicate or see each other from time to time between our too infrequent meetings. With Dex, these norms don't apply and it's perplexing to me that I've been so willing to forgive her, as if the simple pleasure of being with someone so unpredictable and free of inhibitions is reward enough.
There are times that the reward isn't enough and my emotional pendulum swings between anger and despair. It's nudging the angry quadrant now. I stare at the phone again. I had thought that our last night together had gone well. It had been a real date—our first—followed by what I thought had been a night of mutually pleasurable intimacy.
I don't understand her indifference.
She was gone by the time I woke that morning and I spent the rest of the day questioning whether the night before had ever happened. I called several times after that.
I vow that I won't call again even as my hand reaches for the phone.
I don't even get voicemail.
It's approaching noon and I still haven't accomplished anything. It's as though I'm being pulled along by a large and single-minded dog. I haven't felt this way since high school. It's like the revenge of the hormones. After having successfully learned to control the ravening beast that so ruled my adolescence, its insistence is again driving me to distraction. I'm a thirty-something after all. I thought I was past this kind of thing, the distraction, the unnerving threat of spontaneous erections. I thought I'd sufficiently fed the beast but it seems that the taste of something new has awakened its hunger.
This is no good, I say to myself. I decide to take the bull by the horns. If Dex won't come to me, I'll have to go to her. Maybe in her inscrutable uterine way, that's what she's waiting for—a token of my interest, evidence that I will go above and beyond the call. How hard can it be? She found my office, after all, and my home. It shouldn't be much of a problem to find her place of work. I lean back in my chair and steeple my fingers. A calm descends upon me now that I have plotted a course of action. It feels good to take charge, to take an active role in our relationship (if that's what it is).
I make a mental list of what I know of her. It's painfully short. Besides her name—what kind of name is Dex anyway?—I know that she works as a piercer somewhere in the downtown core and probably not too far from my office. A quick Google search reveals several tattoo studios within a five-mile radius of my office, two of which offer piercing services and are a short walk away. I could call ahead and confirm that she does indeed work there, but I decide to take a walk over the lunch hour instead.
I want the element of surprise.
Judging by the sheer number of tattoos sported by members of my peer group, I have no reason to be apprehensive about visiting a tattoo parlor. Nevertheless, my gut flutters as I enter. I feel like an imposter, crossing this threshold under false pretenses. I have no intention of getting a tattoo. The thought of a battery of needles pushing ink into my skin does nothing for me. Now that I'm here, I also feel diminished, going to these lengths to locate a girl who clearly only wants contact with me under her own terms.
I've already struck out at the first studio I visited. I'd tried to go about my mission obliquely, not immediately letting on that I was after a person rather than a piercing or other means of painful self-expression. I'm lucky that I left with my body intact. My self-respect, not so much.
"Hello," says a striking woman behind the counter. Her bare arms sport a kaleidoscope of ink and I try hard not to stare. She smiles a welcome but appears unapproachable at the same time.
This time I go for the direct approach. "Hi, I'm looking for Dex."
"She's with someone right now."
"Are you looking for a piercing?" She looks at me doubtfully, seemingly questioning my motives. I'm questioning them too now. At this moment I realize that I've probably made a mistake bringing my personal mission to Dex's workplace.
"Consultation," I say, which seems to satisfy her.
I spend some time looking at flash in much the same way that I peruse the starlets in People magazine at the dentist's office, which is to say guiltily and hoping that no one will notice.
A girl exits one of the back rooms and the tattooed Amazon who greeted me walks halfway to the open doorway and says, "Boss, you have a customer."
Dex doesn't miss a beat when she sees me. She smiles. "Is this for a consult or a piercing?"
"Both?" I'm not sure.
"Come on back."
The room is brightly lit and almost spartan. A counter with white cabinets runs along one wall. Instruments and trays are arrayed on the counter. There's a box of latex gloves. On the adjacent wall, a television displays a slideshow of happy, smiling pincushions. I'm guessing that these are Dex's customers. What reminds me of a dentist's chair occupies the center of the room under an overhead light. The room reminds me of a medical clinic.
The door closes behind me. I cross my arms and lean against the counter. Dex appears genuinely bemused by my presence. Her green eyes take me in, betraying nothing.
"Where have you been?" I ask.
She shrugs and seems not to have expected the question. "Around."
She shrugs again, not understanding.
"You disappeared without a trace."
"I'm used to my space," she adds.
Her answer infuriates me. I sputter like a caricature of someone sputtering. I gesticulate like an excited Italian. "You have nothing but space. I'm hardly crowding you. We see each other every few weeks. I thought that things worked well last time. You said that it was possibly a beginning."
Dex nods after a moment. "You're right."
Talking seems to be difficult for Dex. She pauses for a long time, choosing her words carefully. "Last time," she starts, "you were the dominant one. That's where you feel easiest. I know it is."
"Okay..." I haven't a clue what she's talking about.
"I don't want to go back there."
"But wasn't it good?" As soon as the words are out of my mouth, I feel like a moron. I've asked the question I had long ago vowed never to ask: Was it good for you? It's never a good question—asking it suggests insecurity, answering it puts the woman in an uncomfortable position.
"It was great," she says. "That's not the point. I can't be the bottom again."
Her choice of words confuses me. She might as well be speaking Klingon. I wish I had a universal translator. Then it dawns on me: she doesn't want to be dominated. Bottom must be a synonym for the dominatee or whatever.
"I thought I had your permission," I say.
"I know. You did."
We eye each other for a while. She's wary and I'm baffled.
"We can meet as equals," I venture.
"No." She sits on a stool. "There is no such thing as equality in relationships. You know this. Someone will always exert more influence than the other. And you... you're older than I am. More experienced in a lot of things. You're wired to lead. There's no possible way we can be equals."
An argument springs to my lips and I bite it off. Then another. She's right, of course. Equality is an illusion and I've never been subservient to any woman, with the possible exception of the few times I've been with Dex. Any relationship I've had with a woman who professed equality or strove for it was short and, in the end, bitter. At best I am old fashioned. At worst I am a chauvinist. I've learned to live with it. I like being in charge, wearing the pants. Again, until Dex. And with Dex, the inequality has admittedly had its unique rewards.
I move from the counter and perch myself on the chair in the middle of the room. Ever since we met, Dex has had my number. Who would have thought? Without thinking, I say, "If it's any consolation, I've enjoyed when you've been in charge."
The notion appears to surprise her as much as it does me. It has the ring of truth, though I've only just connected the dots in a tenuous web.
"Honest," I continue. "Ever since that first time, you've been one surprise after another. I..." I feel as though I've said too much but soldier on. "I wonder where we might go next. It's new to me."
"Yeah, really." It feels good now to have admitted so much, though I feel some of that adolescent awkwardness at having expressed myself so openly. "That said, if this really is a beginning, there has to be some kind of accountability. You can't just disappear for weeks. Among other things, it's disrespectful." I feel better for having said it. It almost sounds like I'm in charge.
I pause. I've never expected to hear these words from her once, let alone twice in a matter of minutes.
"Do you forgive me?" she asks.
I feel something like what the Grinch must have felt in that scene where his heart just about bursts from his chest. The feeling surprises me. It seems completely out of proportion with what has happened, though I have to admit that this just might be a watershed moment for our strange relationship.
We look at each other stupidly for a moment and then Dex clears her throat and looks away. Now that we have some sort of resolution, neither of us is sure where to go. Dex and I, it seems, have an understanding, a point from which we can go forward. I'm glad for this but am unnerved by the implication. With other women, relationships have always proceeded along fairly predictable paths before the equally predictable ennui set in. This time is different and I am blind to what is down the road, except for the fact that I have unwittingly maneuvered myself out of the driver's seat. All for this girl I know little about. I need to think. It is time to beat a hasty retreat.
"I'm sorry I came here. I realize that I shouldn't have intruded on your place of business."
"I intruded on yours," she says.
"It's... um... not an intrusion if you are here for business."
It takes me a beat to understand what Dex is implying. "You mean a piercing? Me?" I attempt to chortle but it comes off as a strangled gasp.
I have no answer.
"Lots of men have piercings."
"Ears, of course. Tongues. Nipples." She grins. "Cock."
I laugh nervously. I can't believe that we're talking about such things as though they were a possibility. "I can't."
"Very few guys my age and in my position do earrings. It's not me. Nipple rings are out of the question." I imagine the looks at the gym and grimace. "Tongue rings are terrible for your teeth—no offense."
"None taken. That leaves your cock." She rolls her stool over to me. Her hands frame my hips and she nods toward my zipper. "May I?"
"Have a look."
Dex unbuttons my pants and lowers the zipper with agonizing slowness. She pushes my pants to my ankles and fishes around in my underwear. Predictably, she finds what she's looking for. My unit, that lump of flesh that has so often betrayed me with its irritatingly simple motives, lies in the palm of her small hand. "You have a nice cock."
I choke. "Thanks."
"I think a piercing would look good."
The thought of a sharp object going there gives me the heebie jeebies and I tell her so.
"It's not an uncommon reaction. The pain only lasts a second. The pleasure is a lifetime."
She is stroking me now and my organ is rising to her temptation, ignorant of what might await it.
"Do you own it?" she asks.
"Your cock. Do you own it?"
"Of course. It's mine."
"That's not what I mean. Do you own it or does it own you?"
I don't get it. She's talking Klingon again.
"Part of the appeal of piercing is owning it," says Dex.
"Like mortifying the flesh?"
Dex smiles. "Kind of. I think it complements the flesh. Lie back for a second."
"Why? What are you going to do?"
"Give you the options."
"I don't like pain," I admit as I recline on the chair.
"I can help you understand that too."
I take a deep breath. I don't trust myself to answer.
Dex grasps the base of my cock, which has risen obediently like a puppy intent on a possible treat.
"Most guys shrivel up at the prospect of pain. Not you though. You seem excited." She studies my cock intently. "But then, I haven't fucked most of my clients."
She grins. I note that she has a dimple on her cheek, just on the right side. I wonder where she gets this matter-of-fact self-assurance from. She's almost a kid and is already as jaded and blasé as I am. She renders me speechless. She handles my cock as though it's an inanimate object and I find myself seeing it in the same way.
"I'm flattered," she says.
"Is it a problem?"
"It will be, but for now it's okay. One of the least painful piercings," she says, "is a frenum piercing. The frenum..." She pinches at the tissue that connects the underside if my head to the shaft, "...is here." She presses the area firmly. "That's not too bad, is it?"
"Your fingers aren't needles either," I observe.
She bends over me and clenches my hitherto unlabelled anatomical tissue between her teeth. "How's that?"
I can't answer.
She explores the area with her tongue and concludes with another playful bite. "Not bad, is it?"
"No," I say tightly.
"Another option is the frenum ladder which runs from here..." She runs her tongue along the underside of my shaft "...to here."
"Or, of your really brave, you could try the Prince Albert, which goes in here..." She places her fingertip at the urethra. "...and comes out here." The underside of the head.
"You don't demo the options like this for everyone, do you?"
"Just people I like."
"Ah." She likes me. She really likes me.
"There are others, of course. The ampallang, which passes horizontally, and the apadrayva, which passes vertically through the glans. The dydoe pierces the rim of the glans." Her fingers dance and weave and pinch and I grow breathless. "There are foreskin piercings and the hafada, which pierces the scrotum, and the lorum, which goes where the shaft and the scrotum meet."
"Who knew?" I say.
I watch as she kisses the crown of my shaft and I forget the name of the piercing that could go there. Her lips pass over the crown and press firmly around the top of the shaft. I feel her tongue and the ball of her piercing rubbing against the underside. Frenum, I remember. I wonder what it would feel like, having a piece of metal there. Her head descends on me and her tongue undulates along the base of my shaft. Frenum ladder...
"If you decide to go for it," she says after a moment, "the problem is that you'll be out of commission for a little while."
"Oh, well. Then..."
"But there are other options to keep us busy."
Us? I think. She thinks there's an us? An us that she wants to keep busy? "I don't know." I'm hedging.
Dex's mouth arranges itself into a pout.
"What kind of options?" I ask after a moment.
Dex's eyes sparkle. I'd never before noticed the flecks of gold that swim in the green there. They're remarkable.
"There are possibilities we haven't explored yet." Her hand is still on my cock. She gives it a gentle squeeze and it responds, faithfully, veins distended along its length like a boast.
Dex stands. Her eyes are on me as she unfastens the leather skirt she is wearing.
She straddles me on the chair and sits astride my hips. Her pussy, pierced and beguiling, presses the length of my cock against my abdomen.
"I think you should do it. I'd like to feel it inside me."
She leans back so that I can admire her. Her pussy is surrounded by piercings, two labial rings and a clitoral ring to rule them all. My own unadorned private bits must look boring and conservative in comparison. I too wonder what it would feel like, adding a piercing to the carnal equation. I have to admit that her rings add something to what she offers me, and I understand now what she means by owning it. Her body is her instrument, to do with as she pleases. She plays it expertly. She commands it and it serves her.
Dex angles her hips and I'm within her warm, slippery embrace. I have a mental picture of my pierced cock entering her pierced sex and have to admit that there's an exciting symmetry to it. Birds of a feather. Membership to the club. Shared experiences.
My hands rise to her breasts. She's pierced there too. I knead her breasts through the t-shirt she wears, feel that she is not wearing anything underneath, and then slide my hands under the fabric. Her skin is warm and silken beneath my hands. My fingers explore her pierced nipples, hard nubs in a field of yielding softness.
Dex leans forward, releasing me, and presses her chest to my face. I pull up her shirt and find a nipple and pull it into my mouth. My lips and tongue and teeth explore the confluence of metal and flesh.
She rocks back again, extricating her breast, and claims me again. She sits up on me and her hands snake up her torso to cup her breasts. I watch as her torso undulates, muscles playing under skin, each movement translated into a new sensation in that place I blissfully occupy. Her various piercings catch the overhead light. Her eyes are closed and a smile plays on her lips. She is intent on whatever feelings I generate within her.
"You feel good," she says, more to herself than to me.
I disappear within her again. There's what I can see: lips parted and stretched around my shaft and what I can't: the warmest of embraces, muscles tight and undulating around me. Dex rides me slowly. Each deliberate thrust is an experiment in angle and pressure, as though she's mining that vein of sensation that she can exploit until there's nothing left.
She reaches behind and cups my balls, intent, it seems, on pushing these into her as well.