Might Have Been Ch. 06byIroniclaconic©
I am the sex that you provide
(and I control you)
I am the hate you try to hide
(and I control you)
I take you where you want to go
I give you all you need to know
– Nine Inch Nails, Mr. Self Destruct
In the summer of 2005, I had been accepted into a prestigious internship program at Columbia University. I had formed a close friendship at Chicago with a graduate student named Paul. He had been on the Fermilab project, and was sufficiently impressed with me that he arranged for a position on another high profile project, where I again helped write the modeling software. When Paul finished his dissertation, Columbia had snapped him up, and Paul was now trying to convince me to apply there for grad school next year. I liked Paul, trusted him not to steer me wrong, and Columbia had a solid reputation.
This summer internship was a trial run. I would get to work with a team of other undergraduates on a research project coordinated by Paul. If we were successful, I would have a high profile publishing co-credit, and would know whether I wanted Columbia.
What I hadn't expected was to be a social butterfly. The other interns were from all across the world, and most didn't know anyone in New York. We were all strangers to the world’s greatest metropolis, so we worked together by day and roamed the city by night. I had a knack for rising to a leadership role in any congregation of geeks, and this was no exception. I could hold my own or better with any of them intellectually, but I had a social/artistic side most of them lacked, which helped me with women, and enabled automatic promotion to alpha geek.
The internship group had fourteen members, three of whom were female. Crystal was both the most attractive and the most capable. She was slightly shorter than me, with long auburn hair that cascaded down to the small of her back, and she wore it pulled back from her pretty, freckled face and beautiful green eyes. Her eyes had a slight downward slope that cast a misleading hint of sorrow to her features. Her idiosyncratically full lips and breasts would have shouted “silicone” in other women, but she was so unassuming the men in the internship group voted nine to two that both were real.
Despite her Gaelic appearance and ancestry, Crystal defied stereotypes and insisted on being shy. If she had been more extroverted, I would have targeted her at the beginning of the summer. Instead, she had appeared uninterested, and I had heard about a boyfriend back home, so my romantic attentions went elsewhere. I briefly dated Casey, one of the other interns, and then Amara, who had been my most significant girlfriend between Heather and Tasha.
I had met Amara during a casting call for an Off-Off-Broadway production of Othello. On a lark, I had tried out for the part of Cassio. She had set her sights higher and aimed for Desdemona. We ended up reading together and hit it off. Neither of us got a part (and it was strongly implied we were wasting our time), but I took her out for coffee afterward, and discovered she was an architecture student at Columbia, and like me, had tried out just for the hell of it.
I dated Amara the rest of the summer, but the relationship dissolved in late August, when it was time for me to return to Chicago. I discovered Amara hadn't viewed me as a long-term prospect, and had seen my imminent departure as a plus. She was from India, and her parents still lived there. She was willing to defy her parents to the extent of dating an American, but she was unwilling to get serious with one. Unfortunately, she waited until late August to tell me this, which is why I missed my chance with Crystal.
As the summer progressed, Crystal warmed to me. In June, she mostly sat in the corner listening, or talked quietly with Laurie, the third female intern. By July, she was laughing at my jokes, and attending the theater events I organized – hitting the rush line to see shows like Spamalot, Wicked, and Doubt. Eventually, she actively flirted with me, laughing even at comments that weren't very funny, adjusting my clothes, and holding eye contact a little too long. She switched to wearing tighter v-neck t-shirts that showed off her chest, which attracted notice from more than just me. I know several of the other guys had asked her out, but they had all been politely shot down.
Her flirting culminated on a Friday night in early August. After working late, we had gone out for drinks at an Upper West Side bar specializing in buffalo wings. Guys being guys, a competition ensued as we worked our way up the heat index, until it was only me and one other person staring each other down over a basket of habanero wings. I had an endorphin high, but flames were emitting from my tongue. My opponent was from Thailand, and had kept an amused expression on his face the entire night – the look Roger Clemens would have if he found himself in a pitchers' duel with the best curveballer in the North Manhattan Little League.
Crystal had been cheering me on, but it was getting late. She wished everyone a good evening and announced, “I'm going to walk home.”
Everyone said goodbye, but she stood there for a few extra seconds, mutely pleading with me. I took the hint. Crystal was a small town Michigan girl, and while New York was safer now, she was still nervous about walking home alone.
I saluted my opponent in surrender. “I'm done too. Crystal, let me walk you home.”
Crystal smiled gratefully. I paid my bill at the counter, and picked up some of their habanero wing sauce as a kitchen condiment. We left the bar.
“You live a few blocks south of here?” I asked.
She nodded, and pointed to the hot sauce I had just purchased. “How can you handle that spicy food?”
We strolled down Amsterdam, and I flipped the bottle in my hand before stuffing it in my pocket. “Real men seek danger. Some wrestle alligators, others skydive, but only the elite dare to face the king of the chili peppers in its lair.” I always did comic exaggeration in deadpan.
“You're so funny!”
It was at best amusing, but I was never one to snub flirtation. I switched to small talk. “Laurie told me the two of you share a studio apartment?”
“Yeah, she is out-of-town this weekend.”
Oh, really. “Is she seeing her boyfriend in Philly?” Laurie went to U Penn during the academic year.
“Yes. Normally we walk each other home, so I appreciate your stepping in as escort.”
“No problem. I like walking in Manhattan anyway. Paul almost has me sold on coming here next year.”
“I like the school, but the city is so crowded. I grew up in a small town.”
“So did I, but I love Manhattan.”
We compared small-town experiences, and discussed grad school options, but the real conversation was nonverbal. She walked close to me, and would grab my arm whenever we passed someone, hanging on just a little too long, and releasing me with a lingering touch. She kept smiling and brushing her hair from her eyes, and somehow when I wasn't looking, an extra button of her blouse undid itself. Every time I looked at her, she had full eye contact with me – even after she almost walked into a street lamp.
I was dating Amara, but was still flattered by Crystal's attentions. I knew how shy she was, so I saw her flirtations as the equivalent of a more assertive woman throwing her clothes off and writhing on my lap.
“Thanks again for walking me home,” she said when we reached her building, gently touching my hand. “Would you like to come up for a drink?”
I almost declined. Amara and I had been dating for a month. We hadn't had any serious relationship talks yet, but I still knew she would consider it a betrayal if I hooked up with another woman. This was just a drink, I rationalized. My ego wanted to see what Crystal would do, and I could always retreat and remind her I was dating Amara. The clincher was that I really wanted a drink – my mouth was still burning from the habanero wings. I accepted, and we rode the elevator to the fourteenth floor of her building.
Crystal dashed around, picking up her flat – throwing some glasses in the sink, stowing a towel, and straightening books on a shelf. She offered me a beer, and I gratefully accepted, drinking half of it immediately in an attempt to quench the fire in my mouth. She opened one for herself as well.
Her studio apartment had the well-furnished appearance of a summer sublet. We sat on the two-person couch, angling our bodies toward each other, and continued our conversation. I remember she asked questions, and I did most of the talking. Crystal had a nice, soft mezzo-soprano voice, but she didn't overuse it. I would occasionally turn a question around, but her own answers were minimal. Once again, the real conversation was occurring in body language.
Crystal’s eyes never seemed to leave me. She would drink her beer and not even look at the glass, just gazing at me over the rim. She was wearing shorts in the August heat, and her crossed legs were set at the perfect angle for me to admire them. When I did, and returned my gaze to Crystal's face, I would realize her eyes had followed every motion of mine.
When I extended my arm across the top of the sofa, she mirrored the motion, placing the tips of our fingers just a centimeter apart. She continued to watch me – nodding, smiling, and laughing at all the right points.
Her questions weren't connected to each other. She didn't seem to be listening to my answers, but was instead losing herself in my voice, as if I mesmerized her. My inner biologist noted the secondary signs of sexual attraction in the human female – the moistening of parted lips, playing with hair, dilated pupils, a subtle rubbing together of her legs, and a slight flush to the skin of her face and neck. While I had been leaning back, Crystal stayed upright, displaying her breasts in better relief. I found myself staring at them for too long, and realized I had stopped talking. I immediately raised my gaze, but remained quiet, unsure of what to say.
Crystal joined me in silence. She knew I had noticed her arousal, and was waiting for me to act – anticipating it with every inch of her flesh. The longer I made her wait for my response, the more ardor she displayed. Her breathing quickened, enhancing the rise and fall of her breasts. She leaned forward slightly, as if preparing to either leap at me or catch me with her body. The corners of her full lips curled up in a sensuous smile. She only had eyes for my face – as if nothing else existed.
I felt delirious with power – with the effect I seemed to have on her, and I flashed my predator smile – that is, the way I would smile when I was on the hunt. Women saw it when I asked them on a date, usually coupled with a joke to avoid scaring them, and they often saw it before a sexual proposition. It was a smile that went well beyond confidence to arrogance, and right now it told Crystal I knew she wanted me.
She tilted her head slightly, so she was now staring up at me with a passive, sultry expression that promised heat and intensity – but only if I made it happen. She was waiting for me, and would wait for me as long as it took for me to act.
I met her gaze in silence for a full minute – the single most erotic minute of my life that didn't involve physical contact. I had revisited that minute thousands of times over the next six years, replaying it in my mind until every facial expression, every inhalation, and every shift of her legs was etched into my memory.
In my fantasies, I would order her to undress and she would meekly comply, leading to a night of sensual hedonism. In reality, however, I thought of the Garden of Eden, or at least the tale of it told by Hans Christian Andersen. The prince of the tale is warned by a beautiful fairy that she will come to tempt him each night, and if he kisses her, he will be expelled from the Garden. The first night, she comes to him naked and beckons him to follow. He does, and feels his temptation grow with every step he takes, until he can longer resist. He succumbs, and his sin causes Eden to fall into the earth once more. I knew I had taken several steps toward temptation already, and knew that with one more I would be unable to turn back. I thought of Amara and how disappointed she would be, and the spell was broken.
I stood, and said, “I'd better get going. Thanks for the drink.”
Crystal didn't appear disappointed. Her smile and eyes told me she knew exactly what had passed between us, and she would simply defer to my choice.
I left, went back to my own flat, and took a long, cold shower.
Her very acceptance of my refusal increased the promise of the moment. My relationship with Tasha was so centered on her, that a woman who deferred to me became one of my most powerful erotic fantasies.
Amara waited until I was already packed for Chicago, before she broke the news that if I returned to New York next year, there would be no renewal of our relationship. There had been no time to try again with Crystal.
Another universe and two years away in 2003, I sat in my Chicago dorm room, remembering Crystal. I remembered that intense erotic minute, and decided to see where it would lead. I also remembered my predator smile – lost shortly after I had begun seeing Tasha. In my hands, I held the resonance array, and a power supply purchased from Radio Shack. For the first time in nearly six years, the predator smile was back on my face, an old friend returned to stay as long as I needed it.
I flipped the switch, and Chicago dissolved into New York.
August 5, 2005
Crystal faded in, emanating deference and sexual anticipation. All was as I remembered – the temperature of the room, the taste of habanero sauce and beer in my mouth, and the keening call of Crystal's passivity.
My hand lay close to hers on the back of the couch. I extended it just slightly, until it touched hers. The contact hit her like an electric shock – her eyes widened and she took a quick bite of air, but she did not grab my hand, or move closer. She still waited for a decisive move from me. I considered just scooting closer to her on the sofa and kissing her, but Crystal's passive carnality invited something more forceful and commanding.
“Take off your shirt,” I ordered in a slow, commanding tone, backed by confident eye contact that would tolerate no dissent.
Her eyes became saucers, and she finally broke eye contact and dropped her gaze. I wondered if maybe I had misjudged her, and she was now embarrassed. I saw her hands tremble slightly as she raised her hands to the buttons of her blouse and began undoing them. Her obedience sent a flush of power through my body.
After the last button was unfastened, she pulled her arms through the sleeves, shrugged her creamy shoulders, and allowed her shirt to fall behind her on the sofa.
Crystal displayed herself for me, as if seeking approval. The neck of her blouse concealed a chain necklace – an interlinked series of figure eights. Attached to the necklace was a jade pendant, matching her eyes. She wore a navy blue lace bra that was slightly too tight for her bountiful curves. I hadn't expected the silver bar pierced through her navel – she didn't seem the type. Crystal held her chest out proudly, but her whole body trembled, as if she were losing control of herself. When I said nothing, she merely lowered her head, once more deferring to my whims.
The way she waited for me to command her was... enticing. I had thought her passivity was just that she wanted me to initiate, but no – she seemed to want me to take charge and direct her actions.
This was new for me. I was drawn toward extroverted, spirited women, with fires in their bellies and songs in their hearts. I would have ignored the quiet Crystal if she hadn't been so obvious about her attraction for me. There was a part of me that was still frustrated by her lack of initiative, but another part was excited at Crystal's submissiveness, and how far it might go.
Was this it? Was this the key to my problems? Was I attracted to the wrong type of woman for me, seeking a backbone where I really needed someone more pliable? Tasha had steel in her spine, not a willow branch – was that why I was unhappy with her?
I gave Crystal another command. “Your shorts.”
Crystal rose and stood before me. She unbuttoned the top of her shorts, and shimmied her hips to shake them down her legs to her feet, where she stepped out of them. She turned away from me, and leaned slightly, presenting her behind just inches away from me.
I touched her, admiring the creamy skin and curves of her hips and flanks. She wore a navy blue thong that encircled her rear like a ribbon on a birthday present. The position of her bent-over ass invited a spank, so I gave her a mild smack on her cheeks.
She gasped and leaned back into my hand.
“Take off your bra, and lie down on your bed,” I demanded.
Crystal obediently walked over to the bed, removing her bra as she did so. She lay down on her side, facing me. I saw her breasts for the first time – large brown nipples, each pierced with a small hoop. This woman was kinkier than she appeared.
She let one arm rest idly on the bed, but with her other hand she rubbed the skin where I had touched her ass. She was still hesitant about maintaining eye contact. She had been staring at me earlier, but ever since I commanded her to remove her clothes, she would only glance at my eyes, then immediately track down and away.
I stood and moved toward the bed. Crystal reached for her dresser, and opened a drawer. I guessed she was getting a condom, but no, her hand withdrew, holding long wisps of silk cloth, which she laid with reverence on the bed next to her.
The scarves were a colorful puzzle. I examined them for hints of purpose, but as soon as I touched them, Crystal rolled onto her back, expectantly placing her hands and feet near the posts of her bed. Her normally cream-colored face had turned a bright shade of pink, and her eyes were shut tight in humiliation.
She wants me to tie her to the bed.
I was not a bondage guy. One of my favorite things about sex was a woman's responsiveness. I loved feeling her hands run down my back, or her legs wrap tight around me. Tying Crystal down would deprive me of that, but she clearly wanted it, and the more I took charge, the more aroused she was getting – which was my other favorite thing about sex – helping a woman go delirious with ecstasy. No, I wasn't a bondage guy, but if it turned her crank, I was game to try.
Displaying a sense of confidence and experience I didn't feel, I tied the scarves around Crystal's hands and feet, and fastened the other ends to her bed posts. I wasn't sure of the best way to tie a woman to a bed, as that unfortunately wasn't one of my Boy Scout merit badge options, but I knew some camping and boating knots. I used a clove hitch around her limbs, and a square knot on the posts.
Crystal watched me work, testing each restraint as I finished. When her last limb was secured, she whispered, in a voice heavy with anticipation, “You've done this before.”
Yeah lady, I've gone camping lots of times. Outwardly, I just smiled as I completed my task.
My knowledge of bondage was limited to what I picked up from the occasional Savage Love column, and The Gimp character from Pulp Fiction. What does one do with a woman tied to the bed? Sex, obviously, but mounting her restrained form and simply fucking her brains out seemed like it missed the point, and Savage Love was proving an inaccurate road map – trust and safety words were supposedly important, and we hadn't established either.
Think it through. The only purpose of tying someone up is if you were going to do something to them they wouldn't let you do. The only reasons I could think of for wanting to be tied up were if you felt guilty about doing things you wanted to do, and wanted the illusion you were forced into them, or if you simply got off on submission and pain. Either way, my best course of action was to push the boundaries of the acceptable, and see how she reacted. Pinching? Tickling? Spanking? That struck me as a little pedestrian, but there was nothing wrong with learning to walk before I tried to run. Maybe the creative muse would strike if I stuck to the basics.