|Thu, 11 Mar 1999
D Benway <email@example.com>
Coup [Emma & Sean]
This story is likely to disturb most readers. It came to me, suddenly, after I read the words 'dominatrix', and 'stone' in the same sentence, and after having seen Jean Eustache's film 'La Putain et la Maman' on the previous weekend. It might be thought of as a sequel to TITAN.
Some characters belong to Marvel. The story belongs to me.
Other work by me is archived at the sites of L Kmetyk and L Macdonald. Many thanks to L Disdain, L Kmetyk, M Lever, and T Sennvik for their editorial comments.
Eyes the colour of the sky.
Lips the colour of blood.
Hair the colour of gunsmoke.
Skin the colour of the best Italian marble.
When he was five, he was taken to a museum. There was a statue of an angel there. It was such a wonder, but he was not supposed to touch. He reached out, only to be seized by the unbreakable grip of a snarling ancient face. Why? he asked. No answer was given, but when he saw the dark stains on the wings and hands and feet and breasts of an angel in a church later in life, he came to an understanding. Even so, the temptation was always there.
It was happening as it so often before, only in reverse.
He would meet them in the course of investigations, the women of powerful men. He would charm them in his quiet way, listening as they told him first of the wonders that came from being the most prized possession among many, then of the terrible price to be paid for such a privilege. He would listen as the details that he needed came out first in a trickle, then in a flood. He would see their faces, twisted with rage or numb with recognition, as they were taken away to trial and prison, knowing that they would never know such privilege again.
When she had arrived at the school, she had come with nothing but wealth. Everything else had been stripped away. She had been judged guilty by greater minds than his, but offered a chance at redemption. He was there to assist her, but he was sure that they both knew that he was there to make sure that she didn't fuck the kids. She didn't. He would watch her at night, on the monitors connected to the cameras hidden in her room. He would see the woman who was the very image of calm and competence as a teacher and as an administrator collapse on the floor two steps into her room. He would watch her curl up into a little ball and sleep half the night away in her clothes, before crawling into bed at two or three in the morning. He watched her grow into someone else, someone greater than she had been. Someone whom he could trust, someone who could sleep through the night. He still watched over her. He knew that she knew that he did.
It would be right, because it had been so long.
It would be wrong, because it had only been three months since he had last seen Moira.
It would be right, because Moira had told him that they must move on, as her illness had ended the physical aspect of their relationship.
It would be wrong, because Moira was crying and couldn't meet his eyes when she told him this.
It would be right, because she let him know in little gestures that she wanted it.
It would be wrong, because he didn't really know this at all.
It would be right, because he could make it right for her, because he could save her. His love would make her even better yet.
"You're playing with fire, Da."
"I was doing this before you were born. You're evidence of that."
"I'll make up my own mind."
"Then why did you call me?"
"To ask. With your Mother gone-"
"You didn't ask when Moira-"
"I didn't know where-"
"There's a lot of that in our lives."
"Are you going to listen or not?"
"Jimmy went where you're looking to go."
"She hurt him."
"He was a boy."
"He wanted to show how brave he was. He wanted to show that he could approach the beast unarmed and touch it and walk away unhurt."
"He stops whenever he sees her in me."
"It's why nothing's ever happened between us."
"It's why I've never met up with you at the school."
"I love you, Da. Be careful."
He might have had the weekly meeting at the usual time instead of suggesting that they talk about the children over dinner. She might not have agreed to the change.
He might not have bought the whiskey, but then she might not have brought the wine. Neither of them had to drink from both bottles until they were dry. They had both laughed.
He might not have chosen to fall onto her the way that he had. She might have chosen to get up from under him.
Without a serious loss of face, he could have left for his bed and passed out there. Instead he went to hers and did not.
He saw that which she had so carefully hidden, and his ardor had not faltered. He saw her not as Sharon Stone or anyone from television that any of the kids would ever have heard of, but as Faye Dunaway in Chinatown, daughter, sister, and mother. He shuddered at the thought, but it did anything but slow him down. For the first time in many years, he caught fire and burned.
"Baisez-moi," she had said, as if she had meant it.
His head was spinning from exhaustion. He had come twice, and he knew that she had faked it the only time that she had seemed to. Their rhythms were taking on an overtone of desperation. He stopped nibbling her collarbone and looked up into her face. It was flushed. She was grimacing.
"What does it take?" he whispered. "What do you need?"
"Hit me," she whispered.
"Fucking HIT me."
He froze. She writhed under him, and threw her head back.
He could not move.
His words ended in a scream. She had his balls in her grip.
Pain shot up and penetrated his arse and beyond, as she managed to do something even worse. He saw the short, bored-looking little man approaching him with the cattle prod for the second time as a man in a uniform stressed the importance of leaving no visible marks.
He made her stop.
He fell off of the mattress and collapsed to a supplicant position in the aisle between the wall and her bed. On the other side, the bedside lamp shone a spotlight on her from where it had fallen, illuminating one pale shoulder. She fingers were scrabbling spastically at the place where he had been a moment before, not connecting with the small bulb of flesh that might have given her release. He rose to feet, barely able to stand. She turned to him, her face a mask of pure terror. Something rose within him, as he knew it had so often within his father, like an ocean.
He almost made her stop again.
She knew it, because she hid away, folding herself into a corner of the room. He staggered over to her and stopped, inches away.
She drew in tighter, all bone and skin and helplessness. He put his hand on her shoulder, which shook as if she were in the grip of a high fever. Her skin was cold and clammy, sticky with old sweat. He almost drew away when her clawed hand reached up and seized his own. It was covered with his blood. He took her hand in his and drew her into an embrace. He closed his eyes and blacked out.