“You want the other flavors, you don’t need them,” she said.
“I used the word deliberately, J.J. I know for myself that if I don’t get my bondage and submission needs met I get really unhappy, my energy goes down, and eventually nothing works right. I’ve accepted that it’s a need, not a want, and once I accepted that my life worked better.”
“Like me accepting that I liked women, and recently realized that the right man was something I didn’t want to live without.”
“Like that, yes; you’ve accepted you’re more bisexual than straight lesbian,” Nathaniel said.
“Isn’t straight lesbian an oxymoron?” she asked.
“I don’t think so; I’ve known gay men and women who were as conservative as any heterosexual. They all try to fit into just one box, and seem to feel that anyone who wants to climb out of that box is wrong, or even evil.”
“I don’t think Jason needing rough sex is evil.”
“But you don’t understand why he needs to have it with Anita, right?”
“No offense, Anita, but no, I don’t.”
“No offense taken; are you saying that you are willing to have rough sex with Jason?” I asked, glancing back in the rearview mirror enough to glimpse her face.
“We have had.”
“How rough?” Nathaniel asked.
“Rough,” she said.
“No, honey, not by Nathaniel’s standards, and not really by Anita’s either.”
“How rough is rough to them?” she asked.
I concentrated on the road suddenly, just driving, because I didn’t know how to answer that. Not without asking them details about the rough sex they’d had that I honestly didn’t want to ask.
“It’s not just how rough to me and Anita, it’s how rough to Jason,” Nathaniel said.
“Okay, I’ll bite, how rough to all three of you?”
I heard soft movement from the backseat and knew Jason was cuddling her closer in some way. I kept my eye on traffic, but some small sounds you just know.
“I’m not allowed to bite you, remember?”
“I have to perform, Jason, and sometimes my costumes reveal most of my skin.”
“And sometimes I can’t afford bite marks on me for the same reason.”
“So why is it an issue?” she asked.
“You don’t want to bite me, and I want to bite you.”
“I don’t understand,” she said.
“I’m hoping you will by the end of the night.”
And that was the truth. Some things can’t really be explained, they can only be experienced, or at least observed. Tonight was about seeing the truth; I just wasn’t sure that I was happy being part of the wildlife being observed.
WE WENT BACK to talking about normal things all the way down the long stairs into the underground area below Circus of the Damned. We acknowledged the guards, said hi to the ones who had crossed the line to being friends, and learned more about practice for the new ballet in New York. Nathaniel talked about the dance he and Jason were choreographing for Danse Macabre, which was literally a dance club, not a strip club. I didn’t join in the work talk, because most of mine was a little too graphic or involved ongoing police cases; either way it was almost guaranteed to be a buzzkill for J.J. The men in my life were okay with me talking shop—most of the time.
Jason’s room was one of the suites complete with bathroom and epic shower. We closed the door to the main bedroom part, and the silence was just the breathing of the ventilation heating/cooling system. All the rooms down here were carved out of a natural cave system, so we didn’t actually need a lot of cooling, or heating, but if you did need it, you needed it, and Jean-Claude didn’t really believe in skimping. He was spoiling us all, I think.
J.J. kissed Jason and said, “I’m going to freshen up and change into something more comfortable.” She walked toward the bathroom, big bag swinging at her side.
I called after her, “Is it really more comfortable, or just the opposite?”
She laughed. “You’ll see soon enough.”
“Shit, that means I need lingerie, too.”
She looked over her shoulder as she opened the door. “Oh, I don’t know, you naked would be fine.” She gave me a smile that went with the comment, then was through the door before I had a comeback. Just as well, because I didn’t have a comeback. I just stared at the closed door feeling suddenly all deer-in-the-headlights.
Jason hugged me. “Don’t get all weird about that, okay? Remember, she likes girls a lot more than she likes boys.”
I drew back enough to see his face. “You’re not the only boyfriend she’s ever had, are you?”
“No, but I am the only serious one.”
Nathaniel hugged me from the other side, and for a minute I was held in the warm comfort of a boy sandwich. I liked that, and they both knew it. It helped calm me down.
Nathaniel kissed me. “I’ll go get you some lingerie, and shoes.”
“I can get it,” I said.
He grinned at me. “You’ll agonize over the choices, or use it to delay coming back; I’ll just pick something awesome for you to wear.”
I couldn’t argue with his reasoning, so I didn’t try. I could be taught. He went, I stayed, and Jason held me. I realized he wasn’t touching just to reassure me.
“You’re nervous, too,” I said.
“She means more to me than any woman ever has, Anita; it’s kind of scary.”
“And wonderful,” I said, arms around his waist, staring into those spring-blue eyes. He looked worried and had stopped trying to hide it.
“Yes,” he said, “wonderful, but still scary.”
I hugged him, putting my face against the warmth of his neck. “We got this.”
He held me tight, the strength in his arms pressing me against him. “I hope so, Anita. God, I hope so.”
I wanted to keep being comforting, but we needed truthful more. I rose back to see his face and said, “I’ve tried to help Richard make peace with some of his girlfriends and it’s never worked well.”
“Like Envy,” Jason said.
“I think if Richard had been having rough with you, he’d have behaved himself with Envy.”
I shrugged. “He didn’t have time to see Envy, date the new mundane chick, and fit BDSM booty calls into his schedule. He has a full-time job and a lot of family obligations with his parents and siblings in town.”
“Richard likes sex rougher than almost anyone else in our group; when you play that hard, you can’t skip it.”
I agreed. “Not without it coming out somewhere else.”
Jason nodded. “Which lost him Envy.” His face fell into sad lines.
I moved my hands so I was gripping his shoulders, and I shook him a little. “Snap out of it; we are not Richard. We are all more in touch with our needs, and priorities, than that.”
He smiled, and it almost filled his eyes.
“You’re getting J.J. and me in one bed at the same time; come on, if you don’t make at least one lesbian fantasy joke, I’ll be disappointed.”
He gave me the full smile then, making his eyes shine with it. “If I said I’d never fantasized about the two of you in bed with me, I’d so be lying.”
I hugged him, smiling. “That’s my lecherous wolf.”
He hugged me back. “Thanks, Anita, for everything.”
I wanted to say, Thank me after this works, but that would have undone all the reassurance I’d just done, so I just said, “You’re welcome.”
Nathaniel came back with my clothes and a pair of silk shorts for himself. J.J. opened the bathroom door in a pale-blue baby doll nightie thing. It clung to her body, with touches of lace here and there. She’d combed out her long, straight hair so that it surrounded her face like a shining curtain. She’d also darkened her eye makeup just a little.
All three of us looked at her. Jason said, “You are amazing; that you love me just makes me think better of myself.”
She grinned, and it reminded me of Jason. “The look on all three of your faces when I stepped through the door was just about perfect.”
“What would have made it perfect?” Nathaniel asked.