Connubial Rites

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The waiting is always the most intense part. Waiting; alone in my room, alone with my thoughts. A whirling confusion of thoughts, a mixture of feelings. But I keep returning to the inescapable present, to the unavoidable, existential fact that now I have no choice. I have made my decision, and whatever is going to happen is going to happen. I’m utterly powerless to change it.

I’ve given my unqualified consent, of course; Richard has free rein. But, because of that, I’m not quite sure what exactly I’m waiting for. My heart’s pounding. I’m preparing myself for something rather unpleasant, and there’s no question that’s accurate enough. But I’m also waiting in delicious anticipation of something thrilling, something truly exciting. I certainly hope that’s accurate, too. But I won’t know until it happens. And it won’t be long now. Meanwhile, all I can do is wait.

Here’s the real puzzle. I honestly don’t know how I truly feel about it. Scared? No question. Excited? Yes, definitely. But there’s something else, some other faint emotion, elusive, hard to capture. Maybe it’ll become clearer later on. Anyway, that’s as close as I can get to sorting out my sentiments right now. Confusion and ambivalence. A fitting synopsis of my entire mental state these days. Perhaps it’s about time I took stock of my life and decided, one way or the other, what I’m going to do about it. If anything. But as I consider my situation right now, I’m surprised by a sudden shudder of impatience and irritation. It’s different today. I’m dissatisfied, frustrated, and uncertain, and I’m not sure why. I need to take a good look at that.

Meanwhile, it’s a perfect summer afternoon. Brilliant sunlight slanting in through the window to my left, a breeze ruffling the gauzy white curtains. I’m not uncomfortable. Even with my quickened pulse, I’m fairly relaxed physically. I can’t see outside, but I can hear the lazy drone of Mr. Copley’s lawn-mower on the adjacent property and I can smell the cut grass. I’ve always associated that scent with the summers of my childhood. Tennis. Final exams. The long train journey home to my parents’ lake house for the summer vacation. Glorious summer days on the beach. Smiling at the memories, then a sudden thrill of emotion as my thoughts rush back to the present. And, unaccountably, decisions once again. What we’re planning to do at the weekend. Whether to go away on vacation this year. Whether my marriage is really going the way I want. Funny thought under the circumstances.

And, inevitably, back to the question of what I’m waiting for. I can’t complain, I did agree to it, and it’s practically certain I can’t go back on it now. At this point, Richard is in complete control. Before he left he instructed me to review the last couple of days very carefully. The inference was that if I think hard enough I’ll be sure to realize what has upset him. He didn’t say think — reflect, that was the word he used. Typical Richard. He wants me to reflect on the previous few days, then I can work it out for myself and there’ll be no need for him to tell me. Meanwhile, he’s taken the dog for a quick walk in the field behind the house, maybe five minutes or so. When he gets back we’ll discuss it. Then, when we’ve discussed it, he’ll see if I don’t agree with him that some form of punishment is in order. That’s the only purpose of discussing it, of course, to see if I’ll agree. But he has already made up his mind. I’m going to get punished, either way. Another flicker of feeling runs through me as I think of it.

I can’t stop thinking about how enormously, laughably absurd my situation is. How could I possibly have got myself into a position like this? That’s good, position. Even more laughable. Position, figuratively and literally. I’m waiting for my husband to get home, and when he does, I’m going to have to take my punishment. One of his favorite phrases.

Emotion surging through me as I think about what might happen. It probably won’t be too bad. I’m pretty sure I know what Richard has in mind, and I’m confident I can handle it. But nothing is certain. If I always knew exactly what he intended to do to me — well, it wouldn’t be the same, would it? It wouldn’t be as tantalizing without that flutter of anxious anticipation. What is he going to do? What is his perverted mind hatching up, out there in the field? I know he’s enjoying the waiting, savoring every minute. He’s probably looking up at the house from down the hill this very minute, picturing me up here, waiting helplessly for his return. He gets a kick out of keeping me guessing. And it’s usually just when I think I’ve got Richard figured out that he’ll do something different, something offbeat, something I’m not prepared for. And, once in a long while, those somethings can be quite nasty. I hope today isn’t going to be an example.

As it is, I don’t have too much to complain about. I’m lying on my front. The temperature is just right. The open window lets that cool breeze play all Kadıköy Sınırsız Escort over me. Feels sort of sexy, really. My wrists are OK, but my arms hurt just a little, held in the same position. Surely it must have been at least five minutes by now. Richard will be back any minute. Another stab of emotion at the thought. Quickly, I’m testing again to see how much I can move. Answer? Not very much. All I can do is jiggle the bed frame a little.

He’s used both sets of handcuffs this time. I know them well. Buying them was my idea. Each set has the customary two bracelets, joined by about four inches of chain. My wrists are fastened by handcuffs to the brass rails of the headboard, two or three feet apart. There are five upright brass rails (yes, I’ve counted them a few times) between my hands. Richard thinks of everything. He’s fixed the handcuffs so that the bracelets are clamped around the lower horizontal rail, between the upright ones. That way, I can’t slide my arms upwards.

As I said, I’m on my front. The quilt I’m lying on is smooth and puffy, the huge bed firm beneath me. I can move my head a little, but it hurts my neck to hold my head up for any length of time. My hair’s tickling my shoulders and back, and some of it has fallen across my cheek; I want to be able to push it aside. I normally put my hair up at bedtime, it=s so long, but this isn=t bedtime. Not normal bedtime, anyway. The most frustrating thing is not being able to see out of the window, but I can turn my head sideways and I can see most of the bedroom that way. A large, modern room with a cream and off-white decor, airy and comfortable. It’s perfectly in keeping with the house itself, which is also large and modern and splendidly situated in Huntleigh Meadows (and it came with a pretty splendid price tag, too, leaving us extremely strapped financially).

I’m suddenly startled by the rasping of a large bee blundering in through the window. I’m keenly aware of how vulnerable I am. If that bee decides to sting me, there’s not a whole lot I can do about it. After some alarmingly close meanderings, the bee lurches outside again on its erratic course, but though I’m not going to get stung my thoughts have turned in a very unsettling direction. What if some burglar happens to choose this particular afternoon to break into the house? Wouldn’t even have to break in, Richard always leaves the doors unlocked. I can just imagine this burglar’s reaction, quietly creeping upstairs to see what might be worth taking in the bedroom, gently padding across the thick pile of the carpet, glancing over to the king size bed, and suddenly getting an eyeful of the bare behind of a nude woman. That’s quite a thought, what I might look like to someone coming into the room. Stretched out naked on the bed, a cascade of black hair reaching halfway down my back, my wrists shackled to the brass rails. Giggling at the thought of my colleagues and patients, especially my patients — what was the expression, if they could only see me now!

That was quite a thought. Dr. Astrid Sorenson, psychiatrist and psychotherapist, the feminist professional who helps abused women take charge of their lives. Chained to her bed in the nude, waiting for her husband to return any minute to punish her!

I’m testing the handcuffs again. My legs are free and I can move them unrestrictedly, but as my arms are fixed to the headboard there isn=t much I can do to move around. I can crawl up the bed on my knees, more or less getting up on all fours. That way I can at least twist my head around a little more and see something of the room behind me. It kind of emphasizes my nakedness, too, sticking my rear end up like that with the breeze wafting over it. And there’s no denying how sexy I feel, stripped and in restraints, waiting helplessly for my husband to come back and do whatever he pleases with me. I expect I’m going to get my bottom spanked, but I can never be sure with Richard. As long as he takes care of me sexually I almost don’t care what he does beforehand. It’s been a few days now, and I can’t handle too much more frustration.

Oh, no! The darn phone’s ringing in my study in the next room. I gasp as I suddenly remember I was going to call Dermot Cairns back about a patient — yes, it’s him, the answering machine picked up:

“Astrid? Are you there? Just need that phone number for Harry Daniels’ mother — I need to call her before he’s transferred to Northern Psychiatric. If you get this soon, please call back on my mobile. Oh, it’s Dermot, of course. G’bye.”

Now, this is truly the height of frustration. I absolutely need to get that number to Dermot within the next — what time is it, anyway? I don’t even have my watch on! Damn! Pointless as it is, I’m pulling and yanking at the cuffs as if I can get free that way. Maybe Richard will understand that as this is a work matter, he — oh, hell, what difference would that make to him? He’d just enjoy my frustration all the Kadıköy Suriyeli Escort more.

As you’ve probably guessed, this sort of thing is a routine practice for Richard and me, effectively an addiction that we indulge at every opportunity. But even apart from the hassle of missing that phone call, for some reason I’ve felt different about it today. I still haven’t quite figured out what it is that’s got me so unsettled.

I know, of course, that sex is going to be on the agenda when Richard gets back. That part’s fine. Sex with Richard is great most of the time, especially when he’s masterful and takes complete charge of me. We enjoy quite a varied repertoire of activities in that area, not much of it very conventional, either. It won’t be a problem for me, I can handle it. Richard likes me to be tied up, it’s a real turn-on for him. That’s good. That’s good because, even if when the time comes I don’t really want to do it, I know he’ll be so highly aroused he’ll finish almost as soon as he starts. Nothing to worry about there. But the ‘punishment’ is going to be first, and, depending on what he has in mind, that could be cause for a little concern.

Almost in a detached way, I’m idly speculating as to whether the gamble I took earlier this afternoon is going to pay off. A spanking would mean I’ve won. That would be the best possible scenario. But could it be something worse? I’m just beginning to form a few worrying images of some of the more drastic things he might be contemplating when the downstairs door bangs open and my heart starts pounding wildly, my insides turning to water. All the rapid sounds of Richard’s return merge into a confused assault of sudden noise. The woody resonance of the back door closing; the jingle of the chain leash being hung on its hook; the scrabbling of Bonnie’s feet on the tiled floor of the kitchen; my husband=s urgent voice commanding her to calm down; then his steady tread on the stairs.

Curious how time can drag during peaks of emotion. He must be climbing those stairs in slow motion. I’m recalling how it started, right after lunch just an hour or so ago. I came home early, deciding I could take the afternoon off and leave the hospital to Dermot and the others for a change. I knew, of course, that coming home to Richard on his afternoon off was a pretty clear decision on my part to submit to him sexually.

We had a pleasant lunch on the patio while Richard talked animatedly about some new financial venture he was planning. Unusually, we both had a couple of glasses of wine with our meal. Then he abruptly got up from the table and led me indoors, saying briskly,

“We’re going upstairs, honey.”

It wasn’t a question, it was an order. I didn’t even think about contradicting him, but I did ask him what was up.

“You’ll see.”

Something about his tone of voice made me wonder if I had miscalculated. As I thought about it, I wasn’t really sure I did want an afternoon of weird sex today. But it would probably be good once I got into it, I told myself. Careful to conceal my incipient frown, I muttered some faint agreement and quickly followed Richard up to our bedroom. I did excuse myself and visit the bathroom on the way, though. I can never tell how long these sessions are going to last.

We were both standing next to our bed, facing each other. His expression was dispassionate as he gazed sternly at me, looking me up and down appraisingly. I suddenly felt weak at the knees. We were definitely in the other mode at that point. He was unquestionably in charge. That look meant we were in role, we were the kinky couple who pretend I’m the slave to his master. It even gets so I forget we are in role; there are times I fear him no less than a real slave might have feared her master in days gone by. Still, while I might not always like what Richard does to me, there’s no denying the rush he gives me when he takes charge like that. No man ever made me feel so sensual.

“Take your clothes off, Astrid.”

My sudden jolt of sexual arousal must have made me look uncertain for a second. I may have hesitated, but I certainly had no thought of disobeying him.

“Is there a problem?”

“No, no, of course not, dear,” I replied hurriedly, and rapidly undid my belt. My fingers were trembling. I had changed out of my business attire before lunch, and I was wearing my casual, summer clothes, salmon-colored tennis shirt and white shorts. My zipper gave me a little trouble, and I had a pang of anxiety as I saw a look of impatience cross Richard’s face.

“Oh, for goodness’ sake, Astrid, do you want me to do it for you?” He spat the words out in his annoyance.

“No, no, it’s OK, honey, I’ve got it, see!”

His expression relaxed as I pushed my shorts down and kicked them away. I fumbled with the buttons at the vee of my shirt before pulling it off over my head, then I unfastened my hair and let it cascade down. Then I just stood Kadıköy İranlı Escort there, uncertain. I didn’t know what he wanted me to do next. Maybe he wanted to get my bra and panties off himself, normally he gets a kick out of that, so I waited. But I had misjudged him. There was no mistaking his exasperation as he paced abruptly back and forth, frowning. With exaggerated patience, he said:

“Astrid, you’re my wife. I’m your husband. I simply want you to strip for me. Is that too much to ask?”

“No, of course not, dear,” I whispered faintly as I quickly unfastened my bra and tossed it aside, then pulled my panties down and stepped out of them as gracefully as possible.

“Good. Now, get on the bed.”

I always have trouble meeting Richard=s eyes when I stand naked before him. It=s a very, very sexy feeling. I backed up to the bed, blushing, and put on what I hoped represented a coy smile as I laid back on the soft quilt, my hands clasped behind my neck.

“No. No, not like that. On your front.”

“All right, Richard.”

Awkwardly, I turned myself over on my front and crawled up towards the pillows on my hands and knees. I wasn’t sure what to do with my arms, so I propped myself up on my elbows and stared at the brass rails at the head of the bed, my face flushed, my breathing rapid and uneven. I was more than a little apprehensive about what was coming next.

Taking his time, Richard sat down on a chair beside the bed, under the open window. He obviously wasn’t planning to take his clothes off yet.

“What’s going on, Richard? You’re in a strange mood. What’s this all about?” I had turned around to look up at him, frowning, trying to conceal the genuine trembling of my hands.

“I have to tell you, Astrid, something you did recently really bothered me. I can’t get it out of my mind.”

A vast rush of excitement hit me, accompanied by a sudden sinking feeling in my stomach. Yes, he was going to punish me! Richard’s tone was almost apologetic.

“Honestly, I’ve been trying to let it go, but that simply is not going to work. It still keeps nagging at me, going round and round in my head. I won’t get any peace until we’ve dealt with it. So we’re going to get it resolved right now, and afterwards we’ll be able to forget all about it.”

“OK, honey, I guess it makes sense. Tell me if I’ve got it right. There’s something I did, some little thing, I know it can’t have been anything major, but whatever it was upset you — quite justifiably, I’m sure,” I added hastily. I was trying not to make my pleading too obvious. “So we need to talk about it and clear the air. Right. It’s a good idea, Richard. Let’s just talk it through, whatever it was, explain the misunderstanding, and then we can simply move on, right, honey?”

I had to try, but Richard’s faint smile confirmed that he had something very different in mind. So much for suggesting a painless resolution.

“Not quite that simple, I’m afraid, Astrid. You know holding on to resentments doesn’t work for me. We need to get this settled immediately and not waste any more time on it. Life’s too short. And just talking isn’t going to do it, as I’m sure you will appreciate. You are going to have to take your punishment. You may not agree with me right this instant, but I can assure you that it’s just as helpful to you as it is to me. It removes all the emotional baggage. No resentment for me; no guilt for you. Just a few minutes of discomfort, then you’ll have paid in full, the whole thing will be past and gone, and we’ll be back to normal.”

I suddenly decided to take a calculated risk. I was determined to squeeze every drop of excitement out of the situation.

“No, Richard. You’re right, I don’t agree. If you want to make love, that’s fine, I agree, I give my full consent. But I’m drawing the line at punishment. I’m not a small child, I’m an adult woman. You had better treat me as such. And I sure as hell didn’t take my clothes off for you so I could listen to a stern lecture about our relationship.”

“If you didn’t want to be punished, you shouldn’t have displeased me.”

“I don’t even know what I’m supposed to have done wrong.” I was pouting. Dangerous, that. Sounded like I was already giving in to him.

“Somehow that upsets me even more.”

To my complete surprise, I recognized how genuinely angry I was feeling. That was the undefinable mood I had noticed before. I’ve never let myself even get close to acknowledging anger toward Richard on these occasions — far too scary, it confronts me with certain ideas and notions I’d much prefer to avoid. Does it mean that I’m not altogether OK with this scenario? That I truly do not like these painful encounters? Wow, that would be a switch.

Lying there naked sure didn’t make me feel any less helpless or vulnerable. I suddenly felt a rash impulse to get up off the bed and get my clothes on and stop this foolishness right then and there. I had definitely miscalculated this time. I had given him far too much power, far too much control. And I knew I could not take it back again right away, either. It had to run its course. I had practically committed myself to being dominated by an active, confident, powerful Richard for who knew how long. I was utterly helpless.

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