Caitlin tapped her pen on the pad, scribbled another sentence, dropped her pen on the paper, then stared out the window and continued to think. As soon as Jay left, she went to the bathroom and started filling the tub, then grabbed her notebook — the same one she’d been using to record her many evolving thoughts over the past couple of months — and started jotting a list of random notes and affirmations.
People said “time changed everything,” but Caitlin now knew that was only part of the equation. The true formula was time + effort = change. If you truly wanted to change things, you had to shift them yourself first, then allow the time for new shape to blossom.
She felt a flush between her legs thinking of the night before.
Maybe there was nothing wrong with being Jay’s whore. It was only pretend, after all. Perhaps that was the “permission” she needed to shed her skin of worry and doubt. The previous evening had left Caitlin with a truer craving than anything seeded by Passion Now, but, she wondered as her heart beat faster and uncertainty crept back toward a full blossom inside her, wasn’t it possible that her daytime personality wanted nothing to do with the night?
But what if it was possible?
What if she could be a lady in the light and a whore in the dark.
What if she could play pretend, like she did as a child, using her imagination as a toy like she once did before learning not to?
Children learned about life by imagining and doing. From picking up a rock and pretending it was a flying car, to playing war with action figures across the living room floor. She saw it with her own boys every day. They never went long without picking up a branch from the backyard and pretending it was a gun.
Wasn’t it pretend that helped her feel safe as a child?
Wasn’t it what kept her free from the monsters?
Wasn’t it likely that playing pretend as a grownup, especially with her best friend and partner, would help her grow as an adult, and keep her safe from her silliest fears?
Maybe people were too repressed.
Maybe she was too repressed, too. After all, she allowed herself to let go the night before, and had her best sex in a decade.
What would life look like if that was normal?
Two months before, everything was different. Sure, there were things in her life she wanted to improve. Life was only finished once you were dead, and there were plenty of things she still wanted to learn, or do better than she already did. Caitlin had always wanted to take a photography or painting class, maybe dancing lessons with Jay. But sex seemed more like something you did than something you worked on.
Caitlin’s world had shifted and she no longer believed the myth that men and women were emotional opposites — that women had sex for intimacy, while men were intimate only in the pursuit of sex. Sure, there was truth in the myth, but after opening her eyes, Caitlin finally saw how similar she and Jay actually were.
Procreation would never be a part of her life again. Sex was pleasure. Seeing that now would not only improve her present, it would enhance the forever she would be sharing with Jay, long after the children were gone and the two of them were left staring into their silence.
Best of all, though it took two months (and nearly 20 years before that) to realize it, Caitlin saw that being in good in bed wasn’t complicated. Sure, she could turn herself into an accomplished sexual aesthete, poring through the Kama Sutra, experimenting with exotic positions, dabbling in toys and oils, and perhaps even inviting swarms of lovers into their bed. But none of that was necessary. Abandon your hangups and you could have an earth shattering experience using only factory installed equipment.
Ironically, it was watching beautiful bodies fucking like animals that showed Caitlin it wasn’t about the beautiful bodies at all. Great sex was about attitude, and knowing what you wanted. Yet, ever since Caitlin went from girlfriend to wife, then from wife into mother, her motivations for sex grew muffled, muddled and sometimes muted.
Being a mother didn’t mean that Caitlin couldn’t also be a great lover, but it did mean she had to teach herself a different way to think. Ever since she was sixteen and let Chris Gillette stick his middle finger inside her and then wiggle it around, Caitlin had been prisoner to a charred childhood. But that didn’t mean she wasn’t a sexual creature, or that her past should serve as a high wall around her.
Sex was mostly mental. Of course the physical stuff was important, too, but Caitlin could get stickier than melted chocolate from thought alone. That meant she had to nurture her sexual mind if she wanted to be a better lover, and think of sex as something she deserved, not as another to-do.
She looked down at her list, still tapping her pen on the page.
You are beautiful.
You may not look like Sophia Vegara, but Jay thinks you’re pretty.
Jay loves to see you naked, and even if you have a few jiggly spots, you need to trust that he loves you for who you are.
The time you spend with Passion Now or anything else in service of yourself is also in service of Jay.
Women marinate, and that is good. When you are turned on, let him know so he can marinate too.
Jay is playful. Be playful back. Flirt with him so he thinks of you as his girlfriend, not just his wife and the mother of your children.
Keep him excited in tone and action. Sometimes that means making yourself beautiful; wearing pretty lingerie and shaving your pussy are great places to start.
Go to bed naked.
The last one would be hardest for Caitlin, but she was determined to kick it hard in its ass. It sure had felt great waking skin to skin that morning. With no armor on her body, fantasies might pierce her with ease. Caitlin added another short line to the list: Fantasize.
That’s what Passion Now was: fantasy in high definition. The site had helped Caitlin to see the value in fantasy, and that it wasn’t exclusive to males. Her daily fix was always followed by a long bath, and her long bath always held fantasies of her own. It didn’t mean she thought of her and Jay dressed as household laborers or teenage wizards, but she couldn’t count the number of times she had pictured herself on her knees, under her husband’s desk at the office, taking a load in her mouth while his coworkers crossed the carpet outside.
Appreciating that a fantasy could give her reality color was a significant realization for Caitlin. Fantasy and anticipation were well-matched lovers. Great sex wasn’t about erotica every morning, a bottom drawer she knew would be slowly filling with toys, or the lingerie that was like candy for her body. It was about the anticipation; thinking about what Jay might do to her, and wanting him to do it; imagining his touch and his tongue and his gaze. It was about slow burning desire, crackling like hungry flames through her day.
Great sex, the kind Caitlin wanted for the rest of her life, was about longing satisfied.
Will I be able to satisfy Jay’s?
If he was paying for sex, even in a fantasy, then wasn’t she sending him the message that she didn’t really want to do it, and that she had to be paid for the pleasure? And if sex was 90% attitude, then wasn’t that exactly the wrong attitude to have?
No, she had to keep telling herself. That was all wrong.
Fantasy was fantasy, and had little if anything to do with reality.
Being her husband’s whore had nothing to do with her, and everything to do with him. It was a way to surrender control, or at least the illusion. Jay didn’t want a whore to make his dinner or raise his children, he wanted a whore to whisper filthy shit in his ear. Thinking of it that way, Caitlin was surprised to find she wanted it too.
Caitlin set her pen beside her notebook, stood from her chair, stretched into a laughably long yawn, then went into the bathroom, cut the lazy stream from the faucet, then stripped to her skin and sank beneath the surface, imagining what it might be like to be Jay’s “filthy little whore.”
It was only then, deep beneath the scalding water, when Caitlin saw her problem with Jay’s admitted fantasy. It wasn’t the idea so much as the word. Yet, stripped down, what did it mean? Caitlin heard the word and thought only of money changing hands, but for Jay, whore meant someone to service his fantasies without question or pause. The transaction was irrelevant.
So why not play his game? Wasn’t servicing his fantasies what she wanted to do? And what if the situations were reversed, what if she had been clear and honest enough to share one of her fantasies with Jay — wouldn’t it have broken her heart to be ignored or, even worse, denied?
One hour a week.
She allowed her mind to drift as her fingers dipped inside her.
A plan found shape inside her head as muscles tightened around her fingers.
All Jay truly wanted was a bit of surprise — fun as he said.
YES, Caitlin thought, she would try it his way.
But not yet.
First, there was something she had to do.
Caitlin rubbed her love button harder, imagining what she was going to do, kneading her breasts beneath the water, concentrating on her nipples, and feeling her pussy starting to throb. She lifted her right breast, lowered her head, clamped her lips around her nipple, then started sucking.
Her pussy kept getting hotter and wetter under the water. She switched breasts, and started sucking on the right, her small pink nipples large and engorged, both of them wet but only one in her mouth. She bit her lip to bury her moans, then figured what the fuck since she was alone.
Caitlin moaned out loud as her hand fell from her breasts to focus fully on her clit. She ran one hand up and along its slippery length, parted her lips with the other and, still thinking of Jay, massaged herself into a screaming morning orgasm, then calmed her body, cleaned up, and climbed out of the tub.
She finished drying herself off, then went to the closet, picked out the nastiest of the three pieces of lingerie she bought the day before, then threw on her long overcoat with the fake fur collar that she had worn only once.
Caitlin grabbed her purse and climbed inside the car before her racing heart could stop her. She pulled out from the garage and sent Jay a text:
Clear your schedule. I’ll be there in 10.