Authors: Alison Tyler
What naughty thing had he suggested to Sonia? And why did I so desperately want him to try it out on me…?
When Kate’s roommate ditches Jules Rodriguez for asking her to do something “kinky”, she’s eager to know what he wants. Jules has always looked like a man Kate could share her fantasies with…fantasies about dominance and submission that no one else has discovered. Can Kate make him realize that she’s his perfect bedmate?
“I can’t fucking believe it!”
A debate is a game. There is always a winner and a loser. This
is why I don’t debate. Sonia sees things differently. She never loses.
My roommate slammed into my bedroom so hard that the door hit
the wall. Another ding in the plaster. I shoved the dirty book I was reading
under my pillow, but Sonia didn’t even look my way. She was already pacing. I
kept quiet about the fact that she’d entered my room without knocking. Sonia
loves to make an entrance, which means that she rarely ever knocks.
“The fucking bastard.”
I stared at her, curious. I’d never seen her like this before.
Well, that’s not entirely true. Sonia’s hot-tempered. She gets all riled up
during debates about war in the Middle East or why
is the wonder food. But this was different. Her cheeks were
flushed a bright fuchsia and her dark espresso-hued eyes looked huge and
“Did you have a fight?” I asked tentatively.
“A fight? No, not a fight.” She bit off each word as if chewing
on a piece of that nasty papaya fruit leather she buys at the local health food
store. I watched her stomp out of my room, heard her clomping toward the kitchen
in her vegan no-cows-were-killed boots. Silently I trailed behind her,
dumbfounded as she pulled a Guinness from the fridge—one of
beers. I’d never seen Sonia drink an alcoholic beverage.
“Then what happened?”
“The bastard. He actually tried to…”
She swallowed a huge gulp of the brew and leaned against our
fridge. The Well-behaved Women Rarely Make History magnet was poised over her
head on the freezer. It read like a caption. I waited, but she didn’t
“Tried to…” I prompted.
“He really thought I would let him…”
“Let him…” I echoed, faux helpfully.
“Never mind. Chalk the experience up to a bad fucking
“What did he try to do?” And why did I care so much?
Sonia strode into the living room, threw herself onto our
thrift-store sofa and grabbed the ugly comforter her great-aunt had crocheted.
She was calming down. I could tell. Maybe she wouldn’t tell me the rest.
Sometimes she kept things from me. This is why I read her diary on a daily
“He was kinky,” she said with finality.
Sonia was decidedly
That’s mostly what I’d discovered by reading the tightly cramped handwritten
pages in her recycled-paper journal. She wasn’t kinky, and she wasn’t that into
sex, and she wasn’t that into men. But she didn’t seem to realize this last fact
yet. Maybe when she discovered the latter the former would change.
“What do you mean, ‘kinky’?”
She shrugged and turned on Bill Maher, dismissing me by not
responding. I thought of pushing the issue, of trying to take our roommate
status to a higher level. Sonia considered us good friends, but we weren’t. She
never shared her feelings with me, and she didn’t seem to care about my own.
Mostly she preached her beliefs in my general direction—trying to guilt me into
giving up things that she thought I shouldn’t do, or eat, or drink, or
I went to my room, consumed by visions of the man she’d been
out with. Jules Rodriguez. I knew him from school. Senior. Handsome. Of course,
I understood perfectly why he’d asked Sonia on a date. She looked as if she’d be
hellfire in bed. Anyone with an ounce of imagination could envision her in the
heat of the moment—long twists of black curls spiraling as she moved, huge eyes
glazed with lust. Aside from that, she dressed like sex on wheels: tight clothes
in electric colors, earrings that jangled when she walked. Men were drawn to
her. She baited them, and then dismissed them. Over and over and over.
I thought again about the recent one. Jules. What naughty thing
had he suggested to Sonia? And why did I so desperately want him to try that
same thing out on me, whatever the trick might have been?
My mind made an instant laundry list of deviant possibilities:
Spanking? Anal? Sex toys?
For a moment, I considered returning to the living room. Sonia
drinking her first beer, after all. Maybe
she would have looser lips than usual. But I didn’t feel up to listening to a
full-on rant. Hopefully she would write about the situation in her diary.
Tomorrow when she went to class, I could sneak in and read every filthy little
Except maybe I couldn’t wait that long.
* * *
Jules lived in an apartment down the hill from campus. I
knew because I’d known him before Sonia. We’d shared one class together—a cozy
little 500-student Art History class. I also served him his daily caffeine
infusion as barista at the central campus coffee bar. From my vantage point, I
could spy him often in the quad. I hate to admit that I followed him, so let’s
just say that one day our paths crossed in town, and I watched as he entered a
retro white stucco apartment with wrought-iron railings on the balconies.
Sonia may look like she’d be a good lay—but I thought Jules
looked like he knew how to get inside a woman’s head. He was tall and lean,
given to dressing simply in battered blue jeans and a khaki jacket. In between
serving up shots of espresso, I’d drawn pictures of the two of us entwined. My
canvas: white paper napkins. To my dismay, he simply hadn’t chosen the right
What had he asked her for? What had he wanted to do?
“I’m going out,” I told Sonia as I passed behind the sofa to
“If you go by
, pick me up
a smoothie,” she said. “Carrot and ginger, please. That beer was foul. You
shouldn’t drink those.”
I didn’t answer. I worship Guinness.
“And you don’t need any more coffee,” she added as I began to
shut the door. “Putting caffeine in your body is like depositing counterfeit
money in your bank account.” These were the pearls of wisdom Sonia tossed out
every day. I let them roll under the dresser like dust bunnies on roller
Without a plan, I walked by Jules’s apartment. Then I stopped
and looked at the shades on the windows. What if I went up and knocked on his
door? What if I forced him to tell me exactly what had happened? I could imagine
the way he would look at me. Every day, he bought java from the coffee bar, but
we’d never actually spoken more than the most casual chitchat. What kind of
crazy person confronts a virtual stranger about his sex life?
I took a step. I spun around. I went home.
* * *
Patience is one of my only virtues. This strength comes
with the fact that I have had to wait for nearly everything I’ve ever wanted.
I’m not complaining. This is my truth. But is this also why I envy Sonia? Men
fall into her lap. Instructors trip over themselves to hear what tidbit of
wisdom she has to offer. This time, all I had to do was bide my time until she
left for class.
Her diary was exactly where she always kept it. Sonia would
never think of me as a snoop. She lives so much on the surface, she never stirs
her unvarnished toenails in the water to see if there’s depth.
I sat on the edge of her bed, my hands shaking as I found the
latest entry. Jules had asked her to dinner, but not at a restaurant, at his
house. That was smart of him. Sonia has such restrictive eating habits. There
are few decent vegan hotspots in the vicinity. He’d poured wine, which she
accepted, even if she didn’t take a sip. Why had she gone to his place? From all
the previous entries I’d read, Sonia had never gone home with a man.
Her own words answered the question for me.
He was a gentleman, and I loved the way he spoke. His words
were eloquent as he described the text we’re reading.
So what had happened? Sonia bored me for two paragraphs as she
described her own feelings about the text then wrote a bit about how Jules had
offered to coach her before her next debate. Finally there it was. A word leaped
out at me, big and bold and black: Handcuffs.
He said I was beautiful, but out of
control. The way I had to gesture when I spoke, pacing, like an animal. He
said he wanted to bind me down, so that I couldn’t move, and then he would
would see—what I had to say.
I put the book down. I knew the ending already. She hadn’t let
him bind her down. But I was aflutter at the thought that this man was so
attractive, so intelligent, so kinky, and yet so unable to read the fact that
Sonia was not the type of girl he was after.
All year, I’d watched different men discover this fact for a
variety of reasons. Sonia was like a coveted chocolate from the center of a
scarlet, heart-shaped box—once you bit in, you found you’d made a disappointing
choice. Too much nougat. Too many nuts.
I’m the opposite. My co-worker, Dan, described me as WYSIWYG:
What you see is what you get. Simple attire: well-worn Levi’s and an oxford
button-down. Simple hairstyle: long and straight to the middle of my back. No
frills, maybe, but simplicity can be sexy, too. Calvin Klein built his empire on
clean-cut lines, didn’t he? Not that I could compare myself with the models in
CK ads, but I have always striven for that sharp elegance. Black and white. No
I reread the part about being bound again. And again.
Reluctantly I put her book back, exactly where she kept the journal, and went to
my own room to touch myself. This was a skill I excelled at. In seconds, my
hands were in routine motion—one stroking my breasts, the other making lazy
circles over my clit through my panties—slow, languorous circles that had my
breathing quickening immediately. But what to think about? What fairy tale to
display today? I stared up at the ceiling, mentally tracing a tiny crack in the
biscuit-hued plaster. Not sexy. I turned my head and took in the posters on my
wall: black-and-white photos of lovers kissing on the subway, kissing in a way
I’ve never been kissed. Sexy, but distant. I’d never experienced passion like
I turned my head the other way, confronted by my own image in
the mirror over my dresser. Damn. Shy girl, with straight red hair, freckles, a
lost look on her face.
I shut my eyes. It was safer this way.
There is a specific routine that always gets me off. I stroke
myself gently at first, always through the barrier of whatever undergarments I
Oh, like that. Yes, like that.
Only as the pleasure begins to build do I give in to touching
myself skin to skin, fingers slipping underneath the waistband to taunt and
tease. Why? I need to make myself yearn for release. See, when I’m by myself I
have to play both Dom and sub.
But did I?
Suddenly I thought of Jules. He wouldn’t want me to touch
myself, would he? He’d want my hands tied, so that I couldn’t move, so that we
could see what would happen. Nice thought. But that presented an urgent problem:
Could I actually come without any touching at all? Was that possible? I’d read
about a porn star who could do this—a male, who would focus until he reached
that pinnacle of pleasure all by himself. But, then again, he was a pro.
With my hands at my sides, I spread my legs wide on my
mattress. I thought of Jules, conjuring him up in my mind.
When I draw, the pictures appear without thoughts. My hand
works almost independently from my brain. I fall into the zone. That’s the
easiest way for me to describe the sensation. Sometimes, when a picture is
complete, I have no true recollection of having put pen to paper—or in my case,
pencil to napkin. That’s where most of my art takes place. I draw all the time,
quick sketches or “doodles” as my co-worker Dan says, a hint of a feature here,
a line of an emotion there.
Coming is like that for me. I lose myself in my fantasies. When
I emerge, I am dazed.
This was different.
At first, I felt nothing. I was aroused, but I couldn’t imagine
climaxing without actually touching myself, physically sliding one hand down my
body, pushing my fingers under my white cotton boy shorts, finding my clit and
pinching tight. I tend to tease myself—throwing in firm strokes in between the
sweet caresses. This was frustrating. My legs were spread, my heart was racing,
but nothing happened.
I almost gave up right at the start, almost said, “fuck this”
and went with the normal dog-and-pony show: round and round, in and out, round
and round. A pinch, a spiral, a pinch. My hand was actually in motion, on the
way back to the split of my body. But then I thought of what Sonia had written
He said he wanted to bind me down, so that I
couldn’t move, and then he would see—
see—what I had to say.
Oh, I liked that. No man had ever spoken to me in that way. I
had to steal Sonia’s sex life for my own form of foreplay, but I had no shame. I
stole away. What if Jules had said those words to me? How might I have
responded? I definitely wouldn’t have left the building. I would have
desperately soaked up every last moment Jules was willing to give. So why not
My pussy began to grow wetter. I could feel my juices flowing.
Slowly the heat built between my thighs. I imagined Jules watching me. I
envisioned him standing at the foot of my bed, staring down at me with those
dark blue eyes of his, daring me to come without any additional stimulation.
“You can do this,” his eyes seemed to say.
“No, I need you. I need you to touch me,” I responded, lips
moving, with no sound, like a TV show on Mute.
“Come on, Kate. All you have to do is try.”
“I am trying.” And I was. Really.
“Try harder. Do this for me.”
I’d drawn his face often enough to imagine his expression. The
challenge in the tilt of his chin. The dare in his eyes.
But something was wrong. I recalled what Sonia had written in
her diary, and then I brought my hands over my head and clung to the curlicues
of brass that make up my headboard, pretending that I was cuffed. The metal was
cold against my skin, and I shivered but didn’t let go.