You still have time to vote on yesterday’s poll and enter the contest for the Amazon e-gift. I’ll close it on Thursday.
In the meantime, are you looking for a different kind of kink? Something you haven’t tasted before? Check out my friend Amanda’s new story!
Justine Crenshaw is accident-prone. On purpose. It’s the bruises…she can’t live without them, without the pleasure and pain that closely bind her sexuality to her secret obsession. She chooses men who accept her fetish, who seek it out for their own dark designs, even if they don’t understand it. She accepts that. Justine doesn’t need them for anything but a little bruise pressure during down-and-dirty sex.
Then she meets Nathan, and her heart starts demanding more than her compulsions provide. She can’t hide her body from him forever, can’t keep him in the dark, literally. But no “normal” guy could possibly understand her multi-colored kink…could he? It might be time for Justine to shine a light on her fetish and find out.
If they found my body tomorrow—cold and dead from some accidental food poisoning or bathtub slip—they’d suspect I was a battered wife or girlfriend for the mass of bruises, contusions and welts on my body.
They’d be wrong, whoever they are.
No one ever beats me, ties me up—or down. I never have to lie about falling accidentally, or running into door frames, or searing my forehead with a curling iron.
I’m not submissive to anyone, nor am I bound, gagged, throttled, spanked or any of those other violent verbs.
What I am is accident prone.
In the sense that I’m open to them. Accidents.
Ironically, my name is Justine, like the book.
If you don’t get the Marquis de Sade reference, don’t worry. It’s not necessary. This story is neither literary nor filled with obscure references. It’s a base little tale of private kink and Christmas.
So it’s festive, I suppose. But really not the point.
* * * * *
On the day things began to change for me, my assistant Joel almost caught me admiring a rather impressive bruise on his forearm, just below the crook of his elbow where the hair thins to smooth, distraction-free skin. The specimen was mottled, an irregular grid of fleshy tile around the edges and purpled nicely in the center, with the most amazing branch of broken capillaries, like curls of baby’s breath in a floral display.
Gorgeous, take my word for it.
If he’d looked up from decorating the tiny Christmas tree on his desk, he’d have seen my eyes narrowed with lust, my expression wan, unfamiliar. He probably wouldn’t have been able to identify the envy, but the way my brain works, that one
look would have given away everything.
Joel would put two and two together and come up with thirty years of obsession and tons of break room gossip fodder. That would be bad. It’d be only a matter of time before the other executives in the firm would be whispering “bruiseslut” when I passed.
“Keeping busy?” I muttered, hoping to slip past without a drawn-out conversation—Joel could be chatty.
“Mmmhmm.” Joel dangled a tiny pink flamingo from a metal hook, twisting it between his fingers. “Do you think this goes?”
The rest of the ornaments were blue. Fish, peacocks, even a baby blue Ford Thunderbird jockeyed for prime positions.
“You know what would really set it off?” I asked. “Disco ball.”
“Right?” Joel nodded, finally tossing the flamingo into his pen cup.
Everything needed to be just so, apparently.
Hurrying toward my office, I keyed in on the metal waste can, tensed my leg muscles as tight as I could and slammed my shin into it with enough force to leave a dent. The pain sliced up my leg and I bit it off at my lip before I could yelp. You have to tense up or you just get an ordinary bruise, a dull thud instead of a sharp, stabbing pain.
“Ooh.” Joel briefly appeared in the doorway, his flinch exaggerated as if to inform me he felt my pain. “See what I mean, Justine? Accident-prone!”
The expression on my face was practiced. It only looked like embarrassment.
He was right, of course.
Just not the way he meant it.
Most people skirt sharp table edges or the blunt ends of banisters for fear of the biting sting. They want to put those little rubber bumpers on them so children won’t bash and bruise, or worse yet, they might end up with a murky purple blossom on their own hip, calf, wrist. It’d be tender and painful and look horrible even under the darkest opaque hosiery.
I get the concern. I do.
But I’m not most people. Of course, I have to pretend I’m preoccupied or rushed, or on my way to an important business lunch or to pick up my sick daughter from school.
Make no mistake—I have no child.
I have bruises.
The phone on my desk beeped. Joel again, his voice a tinny metallic echo from this tiny electronic throat. I always associate disembodied voices with Joel, even when I hear intercom greetings in department stores. Sale on tampons, aisle five.
And I think, Aisle five has the sharpest shelving.
It juts out just a little too far.
Thank you, Joel.
I nodded in his direction as I swept past again. There was a nub on the floor ahead of me. I told myself to keep walking, pass it by without stumbling. Two “accidents” in the course of fifteen minutes would look suspicious.
He looked up from teasing some tinsel onto the tiny tree. “Don’t forget lunch with Matsushita. One o’clock at Quinta. I’ve reserved a corner booth. Because, really, you can’t get enough exposure. Oh and your foundation is in at Henri Bendel!”
That was important. Bruises don’t hide by themselves.
* * * * *
People clogged the sidewalk outside the store windows for the unveiling of some garish holiday display. I kind of like crowds, they remind me that I love this time of year. The scent of pine and mulling spice almost covered the low-lying fog of rotting garbage, and Starbucks has special flavors to accompany my liquid drug of choice. I slurped a pumpkin spice latté and noticed a teenage boy grinding (or whatever it is they do) on his skateboard. His hair flopped and he brushed it to the side and the girls I was walking behind agreed unanimously that he was indeed “hawt boy ass.”
I agreed. He had a strong jaw for a kid and was thickly muscled, broad through the shoulders. He was bordering on manly; irresistible to the Betsy Johnson-set in front of me.
He’d be hotter if he fell.
A row of Christmas trees split the center aisle at Henri Bendel in two, silver and pink foil numbers with coordinating mercury glass globes dangling from their branches. The spaces on either side were flooded with holiday shoppers wielding squared-off bags like butterfly knives, their saucer-eyes targeting sale bins.
I had to jump into the fray. Had to.
Black Friday is certainly the best shopping day to incur accidental contusions, but during a busy holiday season, you never know when an opportunity will pop up.
I was about halfway down the aisle, cosmetics case in my sights, when I caught a spot of slick wax. After some monumentally ridiculous flailing and pinwheeling, I threw myself into one of the trees, accidentally—the first time in years. Ornaments shattered and I connected with the thick wire trunk at my clavicle, riding the rail down to the floor, scraping my cheek and stripping the makeup clean off that side of my face. The entire thing toppled with a loud crash that silenced the waller of shoppers. It blocked the aisle like a twelve-car pileup on the road to disco Santaland.
“Let me help you up,” a nearby voice said, deep and resonant.
A moment later a tan hand slipped between the branches, scooped me out effortlessly and settled me on my feet.
“Are you hurt any?”
From the looks of my arms and legs, I wasn’t any worse for wear. A few slight scratches. The ornaments turned out to be plastic and merely stuck to me like childhood stickers.
A complete rip-off.
Real accidents never produce the kind of bruising I yearn for, and sadly, this holiday disaster was no different. It was probably for the best, what with the lottery later. I could get lucky, after all, and not have to worry where my next bruise is coming from.
“Well, you look okay.”
I glanced up at the man, intent on thanking him, but when I finally took in the sight of him, I couldn’t find the words.
His nametag read, Nathan Winters, Store Manager.
But it could have read, Nathan Winters—Do Me. Do Me Now.
It was one of those moments that lingers and time slows to a crawl, the kind where your inner-monologue goes into overdrive.
And won’t shut up.
He’s too ruggedly handsome to be stuffed into that suit. Is he sizing me up? Is he interested? Does he think I fell into that tree on purpose? Does he know?