He told me he loves me.
Then, he kissed me.
I kissed him back and smiled.
"I love you, too."
We made love for the first time that afternoon, in the spare bed in my apartment.
He was so excited, I saw him trembling.
I was trembling, too.
When it was time for him to enter me, I touched his lips with my finger.
"Wait," I said.
"I want you," I said, "to kiss me when you put it in."
"Okay," he said, and bent toward me.
I touched his lips again.
"Wait," I said.
He paused. I could tell it was hard for him to stop, but I needed his strength.
I looked into his eyes and said, "No, I mean every time. I want you to kiss me every time when you put it in."
He looked at me.
"Forever," I said.
He smiled and said, "I promise," and then he kissed me. His lips so tender and sweet, so firm and insistent, his tongue tickled mine.
Then he put it in me.
He froze and said, "Did I hurt you?"
I laughed and said, "No, that was me. I had an orgasm."
Still worried, he said, "Are you going to do that every time I put it in you?"
"Yes," I said, "I promise."
"But only if you kiss me."
He looked puzzled.
"Now, what?" he asked.
"Make love to me, you beautiful, beautiful man. Do you think that's the only one I have inside me?"
Thank goodness, he didn't answer me. With his words, I mean.
We've been together a long time, now. We married, we have children now.
Sometimes he forgets.
Sometimes I forget.
Sometimes one of us reminds the other.
Mostly, we remember.
Sometimes he loves me harshly, physically, I mean.
I enjoy it. I like submitting to him, being his woman.
He's guilty, afterward, and surprised to find that I like it.
Bondage. Discipline. Physical punishment.
We've tried it all.
We tickled the limits, but backed away.
We were both afraid we would like it too much to stop.
Sometimes, he loves me tenderly.
He woos me for days, touching me when I don't expect it.
Giving me little gifts, leaving sweet cards under my pillow.
I learned not to initiate the path to physical release.
I learned to wait, to let him do this.
He needs to watch me respond, slowly, captured by his attentions.
We call this, "Little Kisses."
It is a time I cherish.
It ends with depth. With intensity.
He fills me.
Sometimes, I take him.
A man needs that, you know.
He doesn't think I love him unless I make him do what I want, sometimes.
Of course, I mean sexually.
I love his submittal to me, revealing his vulnerability.
That's hard for a man, but I think we're closest then.
After, he cooks me breakfast.
When we're done, he cleans up the kitchen.
I like to give him a gift when he's done.
Something he has to wear.
Later, I tell him, "I need you."
That means I need him to be him, again.
Somehow, that always involves a passionate kiss.
Sometimes, we make love, together.
We wrestle, not knowing who will win.
I think we both win.
One time, he asked me if he could take naked photographs of me.
"Why?" I asked. I knew he didn't know why. It's not that kind of want.
He said he didn't know.
"Okay," I said, "I have a condition, though."
"What's that?" he asked.
"I'll do anything you want, pose in any way you tell me. You can take as many photographs as you want. Anything. But..."
"What?" he asked. I could tell he was aroused at the idea. His feet shuffled back and forth.
"You must have them professionally printed in large format and bound into a book."
He was intrigued and leaned forward, "Okay, I guess, but..."
"What?" I said.
"Why?" he asked.
"I'm not through, yet. There's more."
"You're so impatient," I added.
"What?" he asked, careful to keep his impatience out of his voice.
"You must promise to look at the pictures every morning for the rest of your life."
He was puzzled at this, but he knew I meant it. I could tell it from the wrinkles around his eyes.
"Also, you must promise to look at the pictures every evening before you go to bed for the rest of your life."
"Why?" he asked.
"I don't know," I said, "but if it's important to you to capture me that way, it's important to me for you to look at them every day. Do you promise?"
"Yes, I guess," he said.
"I'm not done, yet." I said.
"This is a lot of conditions," he said.
"Yes," I agreed, "But you're asking a lot, too."
"Okay, what else?" he asked.
"When I ask you, " I said, "You have to look at the book and masturbate while I watch."
"What!" he said.
"You heard me. I want to be sure the pictures arouse you. It's the only way I'll know."
"How frequently will this be necessary?" he was intrigued by this. Men are such trolls.
"As much as I ask. Maybe every day."
"Do you want the pictures, or not?" Now, he's starting to think about how I'm feeling. He looks uncertain. Good.
"Hmmmm..." was all he could manage. He's all aroused at the idea, but I've engaged the other side of his brain. It's fun to watch his words escape him. I try hard to stifle a smile.
I pull off my blouse and show him my boobs in a lacy pink bra. The nipples show through and believe me, they're proud for his gaze. He likes to do me while I'm wearing that bra. I didn't know any of this was coming, but boy, was that a good choice this morning.
"MMMM..." is all he can muster. I laugh out loud.
"If you want the pictures, you're going to have to operate the camera while I'm naked. That's got to be harder than talking."
His trousers are tented out. That's intriguing, but we've got to settle this pictures thing.
I remove my bra, slowly, not like a stripper but in as feminine a manner as possible. You know what I mean. A chaste, but definitely female motion. Admit it, you've practiced this in the mirror.
He's actually having a hard time keeping the extra saliva in his mouth. I'll never get an answer, now.
"I think my breasts are still pretty, aren't they? They'd look nice in a picture. You can just nod if you like."
He nods, emphatically. He doesn't know what to do with his hands.
I unzip my skirt, slowly. I don't think it's provocative, but apparently, he does. I drop the skirt to the floor, revealing the matching panties. They're sheer, also, and he can see the little pink rose above my vulva through them. He calls it the happiest place in the world. Some book. I make him kiss it, sometimes. He swears it smells like a rose. You know, a dab of the right scent, just before. Glamour.
Well, his mouth is hanging open.
I turn so that he can see my butt which is definitely not covered by the lacy panties.
"I'm definitely not eighteen any more, but I think if you're careful, it'll look nice in the pictures, don't you? With the right lighting?" He took a photography course.
I don't mean to wiggle it, but you know, it's hard not to.
He moans, low down in his chest. It sounds like an animal.
His hands are wiggling. They want to touch something, hold something. Possess something.
Me, I guess.
"I didn't mean to get you all excited." (Damn, that's a lie, isn't it? I try so hard not ever to lie to him.)
He makes a noise men are not supposed to make. It's actually frightening. I don't know what's holding him back. All the cerebral stuff like manners, concern for relationships, that's surely ....
He doesn't. Hold back, I mean. When he's done, I'm all wet and icky, but happy, you know. I'm laying on my tummy, the rosy glow on my chest and neck shows, but it's fading away. I don't know where the bra and panties are - I remember a pink arc across the room but I don't remember which direction.
He's still inside me but it's relaxing away, crawling out of me. That weight on my back is his chest.
A hand caresses my neck, my ear, my hair. He's so sweet, after.
"What about the pictures?" I ask.
He's gone now.
I garden, I shop, I keep the place picked up.
Church every Sunday.
The kids stop by from time to time.
They never let me keep the grands enough.
I still feel his fingertips on me, I swear, his ghost reminds me sometimes.
It always makes me smile.
I remember his last kiss, strangely like the first one.
So tender, so full of promise.
"I love you," I say, to the air.
The kids are coming over this afternoon.
I've got to remember to lock up that picture book.