He nodded, then said, "I always come to the end."
I made a voilà gesture. "That's my point."
"What's your point?"
I put hands on h*ps because either he was being deliberately obtuse, or he really wasn't getting it. "You're big enough that you always bump someone's cervix if you're in a position that allows all of your... penis to go inside her. I can't be any plainer, Richard, so please make the connection here."
"You mean it hurts them," he said.
"It hurt you," he said.
"No. I like having my cervix bumped. I have a whole different kind of orgasm from it, so I don't mind."
He was frowning again, but more like he was thinking. "You're saying that if you didn't like it, that it would hurt."
"It would just hurt," I said, "because in some positions, with someone as well-endowed as you are, it is a sort of pain. But for me, and I'm betting for Raina, it was more pleasure than pain." I hated putting myself in any category that contained Raina, but I would have bet good money that I was right.
"I hurt you, but I didn't?"
I sighed. "Look, this is an area that I've only recently embraced myself. Sometimes my pain and pleasure centers get confused. What would hurt most people feels good to me, at least during sex." It was my confession, so I didn't have to meet his eyes, since it was my pain and not his.
"Me, too," he said.
I looked at him. "Well, that would explain a lot."
"What do you mean by that?"
"The sex was always great, Richard. Even when everything else was going to hell, the sex never stopped being great."
"You mean that?"
I nodded. "Yes."
He smiled, and it was almost a real smile, except for that flinching in his eyes. "So you think I was too rough for Clair, because of my size?"
"And your technique is vigorous."
He gave that frown again.
"Richard, haven't you ever been with anyone where you weren't as... vigorous?"
He gave me a look that said more clearly than any words that the answer was no.
"Okay, a friend of mine told me that men are ducklings, they tend to imprint on their first lovers. Which means they tend to make love the way they are first trained to make love. You were trained by a woman who was a sexual sadist and made p**n movies, violent p**n movies."
He looked shocked, then horrified. "You're saying Clair is right. I was too rough. I did hurt her."
I shook my head. "Did she ask you not to be so vigorous during the lovemaking?"
"She never asked about my... technique at all. She just blew up and said I was too rough. That I enjoyed making her beast come. That I enjoyed her clawing me up. That I enjoyed making her a monster. That I always made love like an animal no matter what shape I was in."
Eeeah. I said what I was thinking, "Did Clair mean to hurt you as much as possible, or was it just an accidental hit?"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, that if I were trying to hurt you as much as possible, I couldn't do better than that."
"I think she just meant it. I mean if I'm ha**ng s*x rough enough for Raina, then how can it be anything but rape to anyone else?"
I shook my head and waved a hand in front of his face, so he'd look up and at me. "Don't ever use the word rape to me again, Richard, because you don't do that. If you're with someone who likes sex the same way you do, then it's just good sex."
"But rough," he said.
I shrugged. "You don't start out rough, but yeah, you usually end up there, but it was never anything I didn't want to do. All Clair had to do was ask for what she wanted, but she treated you like so many women treat men, like you should be able to read her mind. You aren't a mind reader, Richard, just a man, and men are usually less able to read a woman's mind than another woman is."
"I'm not a man, Anita, I'm a werewolf. I'm an animal."
I grabbed his upper arms. "Don't let me hear you say that, ever again. You say animal like it's a dirty word, Richard, it's not. But until you own that it's not, don't let anyone make you feel that bad about yourself."
He smiled then, a little sad around the edges, but it was a real smile. He touched my arms with his hands, and I pulled away. I was so not going to hug and make up. I would help him through this, if I could, but we were not a couple anymore.
"If I didn't hurt you, then why did you pull away just now?"
I hugged my arms tight and paced a little farther away from him. "You came here for truth, fine, here's truth. We're not a couple anymore, Richard, but that doesn't mean I don't feel... oh, hell, I don't want you to get the wrong idea."
"And what would that be?" His voice was back to being guarded.
"You were very clear at my house yesterday. I was in your head, Richard. I know what you were thinking, what you were feeling. I was there inside your head."
"Then you saw what I wanted to do to you." He turned away, so that all I could see was the back of him in jeans, and the jean jacket that was a few shades bluer than the jeans. His hair was beginning to have waves, but it still looked shorn to me. "It was sick, Anita. I wanted you afraid of me. Having you afraid while I f**ked you, would have been... would have--"
"Just flat done it for you," I finished for him.
He turned and looked at me. His eyes were desolate, as if something in them had died. "Yes, yes, exactly."
"Richard, every lycanthrope I know is a little confused about the fear response, food, and sex."
He shook his head, and it must have been too vigorous, because he winced. "But no lycanthrope I've met, except for Raina and Gabriel, thought fear was an aphrodisiac."
"Since I've met some of the same lycanthropes that you've met, I know that's not true. What is true, is that Gabriel and Raina were the only ones willing to admit it to anyone and everyone."
"No, no," he said and stalked toward me, his anger starting to rise in a warm prickling wash. "No one else wanted what they wanted, not like that. Not the real thing."
"Aha," I said, then apologized for saying aha, "but the point is, you said not the real thing. I've met a lot of shapeshifters who are into the bondage and submission scene, but it's a game with rules. Safe, sane, consensual. There are safe words, and once that agreed-upon word is uttered, then it stops, it's over."
"There was no word that would keep you safe from Raina and Gabriel."
"Exactly, Richard, exactly. But you can enjoy the game without doing what they did."
He grabbed for me, and I tried to be out of reach, but in the end, I had only a shadow of his speed, not the real thing. He got one wrist instead of two, but he still got one. He jerked me a little toward him, not hard, but enough that I planted my feet and set up for not being pulled any closer. Just principle, instinct, nothing personal.
"What if it's the reality I want, Anita? What if the reason Raina liked me so much was that I'm just like her?" He didn't hurt me, didn't do anything but keep holding my wrist, keep me, so that I knew I couldn't get away, easily, if at all. I was stronger than a normal human, but I wasn't as strong as a real lycanthrope.
I let out a breath that was even, and my voice sounded normal, but I couldn't help it. I started with, "Let go of me, Richard."
"You're afraid of me," he said.
"No, but you aren't my boyfriend anymore. You don't have the right to touch me without permission."
"The fact that you're trying to pull away, and I know you can't, excites me."
There was a time in my life that I would have argued, but we'd argue about it later, if we needed to. I didn't repeat my request, because I wasn't sure what would happen if I upped the physical stuff. I knew I didn't want to find out, so I talked. "All you need is a submissive of your very own who likes to play these games, and you're all set, but I am not your anything, so let go of my wrist." Okay, I couldn't not ask again.
He let go of me, so abruptly I stumbled a little. I guess I'd been pulling harder away from him than I thought. Fancy that. I resisted the urge to rub my wrist. Never let them see that they've hurt you. It's a rule. "You're nothing like Raina, Richard."
"Yes," he said, "I am."
"I carry her munin, remember, I've had her in full technicolor glory in my head, and I've been in your head, too. Trust me, you don't think like she did."