Patrick the Fireman, part 2
So that's it, Patrick and I are a couple. We talk on the phone every day, sometimes for hours and hours late into the night. It's not easy finding time to be together, though. Why is it that I am once again dating a guy who lives far away?
Granite Harbor is across the bay and to the south of Raser City. As the crow flies, it's quite close, but in terms of normal human transportation, it's a pain in the ass to get there. You can either take the ferry from downtown then drive for about half an hour, or drive way south and go over a very scary suspension bridge--steep, narrow, only two lanes of traffic and no divider. As you drive you can feel the bridge shaking in the wind. Because I live alone, and because Raser City is cool and fun while Granite Harbor is suburban and boring, most of the time Patrick comes to me.
It's also tricky to line up our work schedules. I'm still working a little less than full time at Sharon's company, but I can shift my hours around. Patrick has three days on when he has to be at the firehouse including over night, then two days off, but he seems to cycle through those shifts randomly. He also picks up extra hours at the ER whenever he can. But if he's not working, he'll come spend the night with me.
If they're both off at the same time on a weekend, Patrick brings Mike with him and we all go out to Lollygag together. They come into town on their motorcycles, so Mike can go back home after, while Patrick sleeps over at my place.
The first time they do this, they both show up already in their club clothes--both in leather pants, Patrick wearing a tight mesh top and Mike in a loose-fitting button down shirt. The dog collars are back, paired with spiked wrist cuffs. They both have on black nail polish and black eyeliner. Knowing how straight they normally dress, I find there's something adorably earnest about their getup.
They arrive at my place slightly freaked out--apparently as they stopped to get gas on their way out of Granite Harbor, they spotted their chief at one of the other pumps. They ducked down behind their bikes, hoping he wouldn't see them all dressed up and with makeup on. They would never hear the end of it. They manage to get away unseen, but vow in the future to change when they arrive.
I get dressed up too, with my hair in pigtails and lots of black and silver eyeliner. My go-to club outfit is a pair of tight vinyl pants, a black velvet bra and a mesh t-shirt. It has the advantage of being both sexy and comfortable--no teetering around in high heels or freezing my ass off in a miniskirt. Also I have pockets for my keys, ID and cash. Take that, fashion.
I hop on the back of Patrick's motorcycle and we head downtown. It's late, and the streets in the business district are deserted. Patrick is wearing a ring with the Chinese character for "demon," which he claims gives him luck. As we pull up to a stop light, he shoots out his fist, brandishing the ring at the lights. Just as he does this, every light all down the street turns green at the same time and he takes off, the wind whipping my hair back and carrying away my shrieks of delight.
Ok, technically I know the lights downtown are synchronized, but it's still slightly magical. Riding down the streets at night, all dressed up, it's like we're extras in a sci fi movie or something. I feel super cool, charged up and sexy. I've always been such a nerd. It's hard to believe this is me, riding on the back of a motorcycle, strutting into a club with a hot fireman. At the club, he lets me lead him around on the chain again, and I know I'm with the hottest guy there.
Whenever I'm around Patrick, I can't help staring at his mismatched eyes. If I had read about it in a novel or seen it in a movie, something that minor would have not nothing for me. But in person, it's damn sexy.
I very briefly dated another guy with a minor eye disorder, way back in my first semester of college. Like with Patrick, I didn't even notice it at all until we had been dating for about a week or two. One day as we were kissing, I realized his eyes were looking in different directions.
He explained that he had nystagmus, I think, or maybe it was something else and I've forgotten the name. His eyes would shake in the way that's typical of nystagmus, but he could control that, and it wasn't what I had noticed. He couldn't control the muscles to make his eyes move normally--it was like they were fixed in the center point. He could move from the center in, but not from the center out. So whenever he looked to the side, one eye would track and the other would stay fixed. It didn't seem to affect his vision much, but it did look unusual. Once I noticed it, I couldn't stop staring.
Our relationship was a disaster, for reasons I didn't understand at the time. In high school, I had been a social outcast. Even my prom date was a pity date, arranged by my friends. I arrived at college with a head full of romantic ideas, secret weird kinks, and zero dating experience. Anyway, after a month of blissful happiness on my part, suddenly, out of the blue, nystagmus guy dumped me and I didn't even know why.
Looking back, though, I'm pretty sure it was because of the devotee thing. I never told him, of course. I didn't even know the word back then. But I have a very clear memory of him yelling at me, seemingly out of nowhere, accusing me of having said something he found patronizing and offensive. I was so shocked and confused at the time, I didn't ask for any explanation. I have no idea what I said, no memory of what I said that made him so upset. But what else could it have been? I was obsessed with his wonky eyes, and he was sensitive about it. I could have easily said something about it that pissed him off and not even realized it.
Then, when I was a senior in college, I met K and that just cranked my dev eye fixation up to eleven. K had congenital glaucoma, so his eyes were that distinctive opaque blue. But they were also mismatched, because he'd had surgery as a teenager, a failed corneal transplant in the right eye. The one with the transplant was flat, while the other eye bulged out slightly, cone-shaped from the pressure. So yeah, anything unusual about the eyes is high on my list of dev turn-ons, with K right up at the top.
Anyway, I'd like to think I've developed better social skills since that fiasco with nystagmus guy, so I try not to dwell on it with Patrick. But he really likes that I'm so kinky. I don't mention his mismatched eyes, though. I'm sure he hardly even thinks about it himself.
Despite all our dressing up and posturing at the club, in reality the first few times we have sex, it's just vanilla. I really want to do more kinky stuff with him, but I'm not sure where to start.
"Oh for god's sake, just do it," Cyril tells me when I turn to him for advice. Tovia has been spending all his time with Elisa--I have hardly seen him at all lately, so Cyril becomes my go-to for SM tips.
"But do what?" I complain. "That's the problem! I have this vague idea that I want to top him but I can't think of anything specific to do."
"Do whatever you want! Remember you're in charge. So take charge!" Cyril mimes grabbing someone by the back of the neck and forcing him down to his knees, then walks in a circle around this imaginary person, swaggering in a menacing but sexy way. "Just let him know he's yours and you can do to him whatever you want," he drawls theatrically, his voice dripping with honey.
The light goes on in my head: this is all about acting. Cyril is an actor. I used to be in school plays all the time when I was a kid. Ok, I think I can do this.
But first I need some better equipment. I still have the riding crop, but I'm beginning to realize it's not the best tool for the job. I practice on a pillow, trying to hit the exact same spot over and over, but I'm so uncoordinated, I can't get much power behind my swings. I also have a suede cat-o'-nine-tails I bought at a Ren Faire. The proper way to use it is to get all the "tails" to land in the same spot at the same time. I'm even worse at that. It's time to go shopping again.
At one of the leather shops in Queenstown I find the perfect flogger. About fifteen inches long and an inch or two wide, it's kind of like a leather paddle, rigid at the base but with the two sides separated at the top, so they slap against each other when you hit something. It makes a loud crack, a sound and sensation kind of like hitting with a leather belt. It seems foolproof.
I tell Patrick about my purchase as we're talking on the phone that night, and he's excited too. He has even less experience with SM than I do, but he's eager to try.
"We should have a safe word," I say. "It's supposed to be something stupid that you would never say otherwise."
"Ok, if you want. But I don't think we need it."
"It's for your safety," I point out.
"Whatever. I have a really high pain tolerance," he brags. "This one time I dropped the fire hose on my foot and it broke my little toe. At the ER, the doctor just jammed a metal pin right in there--no anesthetic or nothing."
"Nope. That hurt like hell, but anything less than that I don't even notice."
Well, ok then.
When Patrick comes over then next time, I am ready. I'm dressed up in my vinyl pants and the platform heels I bought with Ray, and I've got the leather paddle in my hand. Patrick breaks into the biggest grin when I open the door, and it's all I can do not to smile back and kiss him.
"What took you so long? You're late!" I bark at him.
For a second he looks confused. "Uh, sorry?" he mumbles.
"Sorry, Mistress!" I correct him and he starts smiling again.
"Sorry, Mistress!" he repeats, getting in the mood.
"Get in here!" I grab the front of his shirt and yank him through the door, making him stumble on the threshold. He's blushing and grinning from ear to ear.
I strut around on the Persian carpet, making him grovel and apologize some more. Then I sit on the bed and make him kiss my feet. The feeling of his tongue on my toes at the open top of the patent leather shoes is incredible. Every once in a while, he glances up at me, making sure he's doing it right. That look on his upturned face, half nervous, half confident, is so sexy.
After he worships my feet for a while, he starts getting bolder, running his hands up my thighs, lunging forward like he's going to kiss me. I can see this turning vanilla quickly.
"Did I say you could do that?" I demand, kicking him lightly on the shoulder.
"No Mistress," he says, looking down. "I'm sorry, Mistress."
"That's right you're sorry!" I rant. "You need to be punished! Drop your pants!"
Patrick always wears a thong, even under the full firefighter suit. I make him pull it down, and he kneels with his bare ass in the air, thong and jeans around his knees.
I haul off and whack him one right across the cheeks with the paddle. It makes a satisfyingly loud crack. Patrick gives a little sigh. Pleased with myself, I start walloping him faster, but then on the fifth whack, the paddle slips in my hand and strikes him with the edge. Remembering what Cyril taught me about acting, I try not to break character by apologizing or anything, so I just take a firmer grip and keep going.
But after another two or three more whacks, I notice that Patrick doesn't seem to be enjoying it so much anymore. In fact, he's gripping his hands together in front of him so hard his knuckles are turning white and he's trembling a little all over.
"What's wrong?" I ask, walking around in front of him and finally dropping the Mistress act.
Patrick leans back with a little moan. "When you hit me with the thing sideways, you nailed me right on the nuts," he groans.
"Oh my god! I'm so sorry! Are you ok?" I help him pull his pants back up and climb onto the bed. He assures me that he's fine, but I still feel terrible. I apologize over and over.
We're done for that night, but after that, amazingly, he still trusts me, and we do it more and more. I insist we use a safe word from then on, though.
We roleplay and he lets me flog him and tie him up. One night, I handcuff him to the chair in the kitchen and feed him dinner. It's so hot I want to tear his clothes off right there. We play around with blindfolds too and he can tell that gets me going more than anything else. So I tell him in more detail about my thing for blind guys, and he seems to really get it, without freaking out or judging me.
From then on, whenever we have sex in the regular way, just as he's about to come, he rolls his eyes back in his head so only the whites are showing--it's seriously the sexiest thing. I come instantly every time. It's like a switch in me he can just flip at will.
He's not kidding about the high pain threshold. I'm more careful about the flogging, but soon we realize the leather paddle is not enough. It makes a nice noise, but because it's so wide, it's more of a thud than a sting. I cast around for something thinner, faster. Leaning up by the front door with my gardening equipment is a packet of bamboo stakes, each one about a quarter of an inch thick.
I give him a proper caning with the bamboo and he loves it. But I don't realize until after I've finished that I've broken the skin. After five minutes, he has huge welts in a striped pattern all over his ass. After ten minutes, bruises show up under the welts.
"I'm so sorry!" I say as he gets ready to leave. "I know you have a shift tomorrow."
"Nah, don't worry," he shrugs as he pulls on his thong, then his jeans. "No one at the station is going to be looking at my ass, believe me."
Two days later, I get a phone call. "You are not going to believe what happened!" Patrick bursts out as soon as I pick up. "We were transporting some dude to the hospital like normal, right? But then when we got back to the station, the captain told us we'd been exposed to meningitis. He said we had to be vaccinated right there and then."
"So it's a shot in the ass! Our captain was like, 'Ok boys, drop 'em,' right there in the middle of the station! I go, 'Nah, 's ok, I'll just do it myself,' and I tried to sneak away but he caught me."
"No way! So what happened?"
"What do you think happened? I dropped my pants, and everyone was like, 'What the hell happened to you?'"
I'm dying laughing by this point. "What did you tell them?"
"I said I fell on a grate," he declares, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.
The first time I go to his house in Granite Harbor, Patrick accedes to my fear of driving and picks me up. As he speeds over the suspension bridge, I am so glad he is the one behind the wheel and not me. I love how safe he makes me feel. Despite our Mistress/slave role play, I don't want to be like that 24/7. It's way more sexy to only do it sometimes, as a game. In real life, I love how confident and capable he is. I feel like I can trust him completely. I almost wish there were some minor disaster so he could swoop in and save me.
On the way to his house, we stop at a tiny hole-in-the-wall restaurant at a strip mall and get tacos for lunch, then he takes me to the station house. It's a small concrete box on a mostly empty road. Inside, guys in blue jumpsuits lounge in their socks in front of a huge TV, right next to the fire truck. I'm a little disappointed there isn't a pole, but I guess that's too 19th century.
Patrick introduces me and the guys all tease him, repeating various embarrassing stories. As far as I can tell, the firehouse is basically a frat that occasionally does some work. Most of their time is spent pranking each other, the more elaborate the prank, the better. They tell me some long story about how they rigged up IV tubes under the table to squirt soda in the lap of anyone who sat in a certain spot. Another story is about someone's kid who stuck a potato in the tailpipe of the fire truck. To get revenge, they drove up in the truck behind the kid as he was riding his bike and laid on the siren.
"He was like aaaaahhhh, right into the ditch," Patrick laughs, miming the kid falling off his bike.
This is all very entertaining but I am still slightly dreading getting to his house. Patrick mentioned that he has a dog. I don't like dogs. Actually that is kind of an understatement. I don't want any dog anywhere remotely near me. I'm less afraid that the dog might do something to me than that I might do something to embarrass myself and Patrick will lose respect for me. Like I might jump or scream or something, making him realize I'm not as cool and sexy as he thought, but actually kind of a loser.
"You promise you'll keep the dog outside?" I ask nervously as Patrick drives us down broad, sidewalk-less roads dotted with a few small houses at the end of long dusty driveways.
"Sure. I hate that fucking dog anyway. It isn't really mine. Candy is the one who bought it."
Candy is his ex, who dumped him about six months ago. Candy really is her name, it's not even short for Candace or anything. Who names their child Candy? Someone who doesn't mind seeing their daughter on a stripper pole, that's who. He has only mentioned her a few times but I already have a bad opinion of her.
Patrick pulls up in a gravel driveway beside a small one storey house. I can see Mike's truck and their motorcycles in the drive. As soon as we pull up, this huge black and brown mutt comes charging out of the house, barking and jumping. I stay in the car until Patrick subdues it and banishes it to the backyard.
We go in through the kitchen, where Mike is eating canned chili and getting ready to leave for his shift. Together they show me around the tiny ranch house--after the kitchen, a big open living room and two small bedrooms, all one storey. In Patrick's bedroom, the big walk-in closet has a second door cut into the drywall but they haven't gotten as far as putting in a door frame or even cleaning up the bits of plaster from the shag carpet. Next to the closet, two shotguns lean up against the wall. On the bedside table, incongruously, is a copy of the Rubaiyyat and a self help book on getting over a broken heart. I tease Patrick about this mercilessly, until Mike admits that he's the one who bought it for Patrick.
"I had to do something," Mike confides, taking me aside while Patrick phones for pizza. "That bitch Candy messed him up so bad. You have no idea."
I nod sympathetically. "I've had my heart broken too. It just takes some time to get past it."
Mike shakes his head. "I never seen nothing like this. They were together since high school. He was getting ready to ask her to marry him."
Now that he mentions it, I see traces of her all over the house. One wall of the living room is covered with photos of Patrick and Mike, but here and there are big holes where there were obviously photos removed. A big box of photos on the desk is labeled "Candy n me." And there is the dog, which Mike keeps letting back in the house. Mike seems to have taken over as the main caretaker for the dog. Luckily for me the dog pretty well behaved, so there is no unfortunate incident. We mostly avoid each other.
I find it adorable how close Mike and Patrick are, like brothers. They really look out for each other in a way that few guys do, and they're not afraid to show it. When so many people our age try to play it cool and aspire to ironic hipsterish distance from everything, even their closest friends, it's so refreshing to see genuine, sincere friendship.
Just before departing for his shift, Mike asks Patrick if he'll be taking me by his parents' house to meet them. They live just up the road.
"Nah, not after what Mom said," Patrick mumbles. After Mike leaves, I grill Patrick on what he meant by this. He doesn't want to answer.
"They're not my real parents," he says. I'm shocked he can say this so casually.
"Uh, I think they'd be hurt if you said that to them." He just shrugs.
"What did your mother say about me?" I insist.
"Aw, it's nothing. She just, I dunno, she thinks you're snobby."
"What! How can she think that when she hasn't even met me? What did you say to her?"
"Nothing! It's just, you know, you have that degree and you're so smart and everything. What would you be doing with a dumb firefighter like me?"
"Seriously?" I can't believe I'm hearing this. "You know it's not like that, right?"
"Yeah, I'm sorry. I tried to explain it to her, to tell her how awesome you are. She'll get over it. Don't worry."
I try to take his advice and relax. We make out a little now that we have the house to ourselves but neither of us is in the mood for SM games. We spend the evening lying on the couch eating pizza and watching bad movies on TV.
Later on we have sex in the ordinary way then go to sleep, or rather, he goes to sleep while I lie awake in bed, staring at the half-finished closet and wondering where I fit in to his life.
I go out to dinner with Tovia for the first time in many weeks. He still won't admit he is a devotee, and I gave up pestering him about it. Actually, we've been drifting further apart. We don't see each other as often as we used to, and the times we do talk, we often bicker over stupid shit.
Over dinner, we compare notes on our relationships. It sounds like he and Elisa have gotten really serious. I can tell by the way he talks about her that he's gone from starry-eyed infatuation to seriously planning an actual future with her. I still haven't met her, by the way, but it doesn't occur to me to insist. I don't want to pry.
"So how's it going with Patrick?" he asks.
"Oh my god, I think I'm really falling for him!" I gush, clutching my chest melodramatically. "Last week he came over late, as soon as his shift ended. He brought me a box of chocolates! No guy has ever done that for me before. Then as we were laying in bed watching TV, he took a piece of chocolate in his mouth and kissed me, so we both bit off half."
Tovia wrinkles up his nose. "Gross."
"Oh come on, it was not gross. It was sexy and romantic."
"Well good, I'm glad," he says, conceding the point. "You deserve to be with someone decent for a change."
I smile, then sigh. "Yeah, well there's still time for it all to go horribly wrong."
"Wow." He gives me a pitying look. "I'm glad I don't live in your brain."
I just laugh.
I don't mention to Tovia that during that same visit, Patrick also gave me a ring. Not an engagement ring. Just a plain steel ring that probably cost a dollar. He pulled it out of his pocket and handed it to me with a half scared, half eager look on his face.
"Look, I know it's like way too early...." he said, not meeting my gaze. "This isn't really anything....I just, I, um, wanted you to, ah, have it...."
I kissed him hard without saying anything and slid the ring on my finger. He's right, it is way too early. But despite my kinky, adventurous ways, what I really want is to get married, to commit to one person forever. Before Patrick, I've never met a guy who wanted that too, at least not with me. I keep telling myself he can't really mean it yet, but just the fact that he's thinking about it is intoxicating. I'm seriously in love. What I said to Tovia was a bit of preemptive magic. If I say we're totally in love and things are going great, that might jinx it. Like how I still haven't copied down Patrick's phone number into my address book, but still pull out that same matchbook every time I call. Part of me does feel like it's all too good to be true.