He was waiting for me at the baggage claim. I had no baggage to retreive; I’d come straight from the hotel room. All that I had was a backpack with my laptop and some toiletries and a duffel bag with all the BDSM gear I need for work.
I was self-conscious because I knew I probably looked like shit. I’d tried to do my hair in Chicago during the layover, but all I had was a small bag of makeup to do my face (touch-ups in between sessions in the hotel room) and I was wearing jeans, Sketchers (I love Sketchers! Fuck the haters!), and a baby T-shirt with a campus mascot on it which is…a Gecko lizard.
He looked great, as he always does, but I gotta say, he didn’t look as good as when I left him. He’s always taken care of his skin and hair–he’s the only man I’ve ever met who uses uses Retin-A and sunscreen daily–but he looked older. I used to tell my shrink that it was as if he would get stronger as I got weaker (and, over the course of our relationship, I did get weaker, both as I became thinner to meet his demanding aesthetics, and as my boundaries broke down). He looked smaller somehow. Maybe he stopped taking the testosterone when I left (because that was what the Collector needed, MORE TESTOSTERONE)? Did he have more silver in the wheat-blonde hair? Was I imagining things?
But he practically ran up to me when I came off the elcelator and crushed me to him so tightly I couldn’t breath. I dropped my bag and he picked me up and spun me around.
His sweater was so soft–all his clothing is of the best quality. He smelled good. Why didn’t it feel like coming home? I was still hurt.
He grabbed the back of my head and kissed me hard. I’m sure I tasted great after four vodka-and-pineapples on the airplane. I brushed my teeth and Listerined, but after about three, you invariable taste like booze. When he released me, I pulled away.
“I’m sorry. I’m not ready, Collector.”
He had the good grace not to act offended. “I understand. Let’s go home.”
He picked up my bad and I followed him out to his car. He has a gorgeous car he almost never drives. I’ll never understand why anyone in Manhattan has a car–the fucking parking space alone is hundreds of dollars, and driving in the city is a goddamn nightmare–but I guess if you’re rich, it doesn’t matter.
“I’m so glad you’re here! Are you warm enough? Do you want me to turn on the seat heaters? You must be tired. Are you hungry? Do you want me to cook anything? I ordered elk steaks. White asparagus. African pineapple. All your favorite foods. I had the housekeeping put fresh linine on the beds.”
“I’m just tired. I’m sorry.” I was, and starting to feel hung over, too.
He patted my hand. Then he tried to put his hand on my thigh. That was too fucking much. I did let him hold my hand, though. The Collector’s hands are huge for his size, and his fingers are long. The left one is covered in scars from his years of cooking, where he’s cut himself. They are not soft. It’s one of the first things I noticed about him when we met years ago. I thought it was odd that a man with a desk job would have hard hands. I learned it was because he doesn’t wear gloves when he lifts weights. I loved his hands. They are downed in golden hair. I thought of them as wherewolf hands, which he found complimentary.
We got back to his building and he turned in the keys at the parking garage. The front doorman recognized me. I would never live in a doorman building, even though it’s convenient to get packages. I hate that they can monitor your movements. I guess rich people are used to it.
“Do you want me to give you a bath? Do you want to take a shower?”
Now, I don’t know if you remember, but bath time used to be a serious ritual between the two of us. Almost every night, it was bath time after dinner. I was just not up for bath time. Too intimate.
“Please don’t be offended, Collector, but I’d prefer to sleep in my own bed until I feel comfortable again.”
I have my own room in his house. He gave it to me when I moved in, so that I could have my own space.
I went to my room. He’d put the door back on the hinges. I hadn’t had a door on my room in years. His sons had commented on it, and we just said it was “broken.” Yeah right, it was in a fucking closet. When I examined it, I saw he’d even installed a lock.
As if any lock could keep him out. But I appreciated the gesture.
He was as good as his word: everything was exactly as I’d left it. Right down to the Hello Kitty toothbrush he’d left me in the bathroom.
I changed into gym shorts and a fresh tank top and fell into bed. After a few minutes, he came in with some hot chocolate and an Ambien. I could tell the hot chocolate had alcohol in it, and God knows what else.
On top of all the other alcohol you’ve had today, not to mention the propronolol, this shit might knock you out for days, I thought to myself.
Then: fucking fine with me.
(You know, I had a dream about the Collector in the last month or so. I was back at his house, and he gave me dinner, and then drugged the food. I passed out in my bed, and when I woke up, I threw off the covers. He’d amputated my feet. There was no blood or pain, just bandaged stumps where my feet used to be. He came into the room and said, “Don’t worry. You’re still beautiful. I just needed to make sure you couldn’t run away from me again.)
I still have my feet. But that is, in a sense, exactly what he did to me.
I did indeed sleep the rest of the night, and most of the day. He woke me up at 6 PM to get ready for dinner.
TO BE CONTINUED.