Anjali’s Red Scarf Ch. 03

Bbw

Chapter Three: Negotiations

Dear readers: thanks for your patience, I was hoping to get this one done over the Christmas break, but in the end I had to work instead. Then I got a promotion and things have been hectic, with no sign of letting up. But here’s the third chapter, and I’ve just sent the fourth to my beta readers.

*****

I slept soundly and woke a little after nine o’clock. There was nobody else in the bed, but my skin held memories of warmth and contact through the night. When I pulled on my gown and wandered out to the landing I found Anjali sitting on my couch, fully dressed and reading a textbook on combinatorial optimisation that I’d left out.

“Morning! Have you eaten?”

She shook her head. “I didn’t want to use your things without asking.”

“Oh! Please don’t worry about that, you’re always welcome to raid my fridge. I hope you haven’t been waiting too long?”

She looked unsure how to answer, and I realised I’d put her in a position where honesty had to wrestle with tact.

“A while, then?” I added.

“I got up around seven.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry, you must be starving!”

“It’s okay, Sarah, it’s no trouble.”

I was quite sure that if I’d slept to midday she’d have gone on waiting, no matter how much her stomach growled. “Come on, let’s get breakfast.”

After a bowl of muesli and a glass of juice I was starting to wake up, and I remembered that I had other obligations.

“How you doing?”

“Me? I’m fine, thank you. And you?”

“I’m good… I meant, are we okay? About last night!”

“Oh!” Anjali smiled, and patted my hand. “Yes. I had a lovely evening, thank you. So, are we going ahead with this… arrangement?”

“Yes… well, I want to. But do you?”

“Do you know, Sarah, you’re really not rubbish in bed? Actually you’re quite good. If you feel like paying me for more of that sort of thing, and treating me a little, I have absolutely no objections.”

I might have blushed a little. “Okay. Er, if you don’t mind me asking, are you bi then? I just had no idea, that’s all.”

“You’re asking about my orientation?”

“Mm-hmm.”

She was holding her glass in one hand, swirling it and watching the juice spin in a little vortex. “To be honest, Sarah, I don’t think I have one. Not the way other people talk about it. I don’t have this feeling of, oh, ‘I want to sleep with guys’. Or with girls. I meet individual people and I get to know them, and I figure out whether I’m interested in that one person. I don’t need to have a general rule for all seven billion people on the planet who I’ve never even met. I don’t understand how anybody does that.”

“Oh. But I’m the first woman you’ve slept with?”

She sipped her juice. “You’re the first woman who’s asked me.”

“Fair call. I just don’t want to pressure you into anything that’s not right for you.”

“Oh, Sarah, you are very sweet, but sometimes you overthink things almost as badly as I do. I am an adult and some things I can do for myself.”

I held up my hands. “Point taken. Well, then, shall we work out the details?”

We’d already talked at length about Anjali was looking for and sketched out an arrangement, back before we had any idea that the other person in the relationship would be me. Much of our discussion was just going over those rules again and figuring out what we could keep and what needed to be changed.

We agreed on a date every fortnight, Friday or Saturday night: me to cover dinner and any other costs, Anjali to stay overnight with all that entailed, and head home after breakfast.

“Wait, what do you mean by ‘with all that entails’?” said Anjali.

“You know what I mean. Don’t make me spell it out.”

“I think you should. Daddy said it’s always best to be specific about business arrangements, to avoid misunderstanding and bad feelings later.” Was she trolling me? It’s so hard to tell.

“Uh, okay then. You will give me, ah, the full girlfriend experience.” I swallowed nervously; I could feel the roots of my ears tingling. “Sex.” And I could only think of one way to overcome my embarrassment and re-establish my authority. I leant over and kissed her hard and sudden. “However I want,” I added triumphantly.

“However you want,” she replied, with a catch in her breath. That was going a little further than what we’d previously discussed – I’d never have advised her to agree to something so open-ended with Hypothetical Sugar Daddy – but it was done, and she’d said yes, and I wasn’t going to argue.

“Speaking of ‘however I want’,” I said before my confidence ebbed again, “I really like, um, oral. I know we made barriers a rule before, when we were talking about guys. But with us that means dams, and I’m not a big fan. They’re just a nuisance. Would you be willing to consider alternatives?”

“Such as?”

“Fluid-bonding?” She didn’t seem familiar with the term, so I elaborated. “We get tested for STIs, and then assuming we both come up negative, we don’t need to use them. Obviously we’d güvenilir bahis need to have rules about outside partners.”

It felt a bit like cheating. Back when we first discussed the idea of her escorting, I’d told her that she mustn’t let any guy pressure her into unprotected sex, because it wasn’t safe to trust him on what risks he might be taking. Now I was effectively asking her to trust me, telling her that this was different.

“Hmm.” She was toying with her glass again, standing it on a corner at the limit of balance. “I need to think about that. Can I get back to you?”

“Sure. Now, about money…”

I knew that what I was offering was close to the bottom of Anjali’s range, and she knew I knew, but it was the most I could reasonably afford. I apologised for that, but she shrugged. “At least I know you’re not a serial killer, and you won’t get offended if I talk about my doctorate sometimes. I can give a discount for that.”

“Thanks, sweetie. And if you do need more help occasionally for something, like your computer breaks down or whatever, I may be able to help. But the budget probably won’t stretch to diamond rings.”

“I wouldn’t want them. Number one, blood diamonds, number two, I don’t wear jewellery.”

I searched my memory. “Huh. I guess you don’t.”

“I love looking at it,” she added, “but wearing jewellery drives me absolutely mental. It’s so distracting having something like that against my skin. I can’t stop fiddling with it. I have enough trouble finding clothes that don’t annoy me, it’s why I started making my own.” She flipped the hem of her blouse inside-out to show me the stitching, fine and neat. “It’s flat seams or nothing for me.”

“I quite like you in nothing.”

“Yes, well…” She looked a trifle flustered. “I suppose that could be arranged.”

“Well, then, I suppose I should settle for yesterday.” Somehow that was easier to say than last night. I scrounged a hundred from my purse and put the rest through as a bank transfer; in future I’d bring the whole amount in cash.

“Okay, what else do we need to cover?”

We talked through the mundane stuff. What we’d do if she or I were unable to make a date, what to say if we bumped into somebody who knew one of us, or if her parents asked about her finances. (“Not ‘if’,” she said, “when”.) There was just one last thing to negotiate.

“How long do we think this is going to go for?” I asked.

“How long? I am not sure. Do you mean some sort of fixed term?”

“Not like a binding one. Obviously if circumstances change and we need to break this off… I dunno, you meet somebody and want to follow that… I don’t want you to feel locked in. Always free to leave. But I deal with stuff better if I have some idea what to expect. And I guess you’ll want that too, if you’re looking at committing to rental leases and stuff.”

“Oh! Yes, that’s a good idea. How long do you think, Sarah?”

It felt weird to be talking about this as matter-of-factly as if we were trying to decide what sort of phone plan to commit to. “Let’s say… what if we make it a year? And at the end of that we can review, talk about whether it’s working out, whether we want to finish up or renew or change the deal.”

Anjali nodded. “Yes, that seems sensible. Shall we put it in our calendars?”

So we did. Then we said goodbye and I paused, unsure of the etiquette – does one kiss one’s mistress on such occasions? – until Anjali offered a hug, and as she made her way home I sat down to think about what had just happened.

I didn’t feel guilty about it; I wasn’t entirely sure what I did feel. Surprise, perhaps. The idea of paying anybody for sex, let alone Anjali, had never seemed quite real. Yet here we were: I’d offered, and she’d accepted, and somehow we’d committed ourselves to a year of it. Would I ever get used to it, or would it always have this not-really-happening feel?

Meanwhile, I sent Anjali a polite thank-you message and then left her in peace, figuring that she would also want some space to process things.

She called me back two days later. She had thought about the safe-sex question, and after some talk about screening methods and testing windows, she was willing to agree to my request on two conditions.

“First rule, we have to be exclusive with one another. If you do sleep with anybody else you need to tell me immediately.”

“Agreed. And the second thing?”

“You have to find a clinic with no Indian staff. I don’t want anybody gossiping.”

Easier said than done, but I managed to find one that fit the bill, and a few days later Anjali and I met at a sexual health clinic. “If anybody does see you,” I told her, “I’m here for a check-up and I wanted you along for reassurance.” Which was true, as far as it went.

Each of us filled out a questionnaire. It was the first time I’d had to answer yes to the question about paying money for sex, and as a result I got a considerably more thorough check-up than I was used to. A gloved nurse swabbed my delicate bits with a cotton türkçe bahis bud, I peed in a jar, and then it was Anjali’s turn. Afterwards we shared a coffee nearby and made plans for our next date.

Anjali had had a long day flat-hunting, so we met up for late dinner at a Thai place a few blocks from my apartment. It had been rainy on and off all day, worsening in the evening, and despite my raincoat I was wiping water from my face as I walked in. Anjali was already there, of course.

“How’s doing?” I asked.

“I am considering ways to murder our departmental admin, but otherwise good.” She told me the story over dinner: admin had lost some paperwork and missed a deadline, which meant Anjali was missing out on a programming course she badly needed to do. It was Python, a language I knew pretty well, so at least I was able to point her at some free resources.

We spent dinner griping about the frustrations of postgrad study and the Melbourne rental market. The rain continued to worsen, and by the time we finished our meal it was really hammering down. My raincoat protected me from most of it, but even with an umbrella Anjali was somewhat damp by the time we made it back to my place.

I switched on the heater and made us both tea, and as we sipped it I chattered some more about programming. After about twenty minutes, Anjali cleared her throat.

“Sarah, is everything okay with us?”

“Um… yes, I think so? Why?”

“This doesn’t feel very much like a date. And you’re monologuing. I think you do that when you’re nervous?”

I sighed. “Yeah, I guess I am. I just, I don’t really know how to switch over from the bit where we’re friends talking about your thesis to the bit where I’m, er…”

“Paying me for my affections?”

“That thing. Yeah. It’s not that I’m not interested! But I don’t know how to break the ice. I know it’s stupid, I just worry about making you uncomfortable.”

Anjali leaned over towards me. “You have my permission. I rather thought I’d already given it to you. Didn’t we already have this conversation?”

“Yeah, you have, you did. But for me, consent isn’t something that just happens and then stays happened forever. Sometimes I need reassurance that it’s still okay, that you haven’t changed your mind. Even if you’ve already told me, I need to hear it again. Does that make sense?”

She nodded. “I think I know what you mean. You want to know that the rules didn’t change without you noticing?”

“Yeah. That.” I sighed again.

She set her teacup aside, rose to her feet, and walked over to kiss me on the lips. “Consider your permission refreshed.”

I reached up to pull her back in for another kiss, running my hands through her hair. “Why, Lily, I do believe you’re soaked. Let’s get you out of these wet things.”

“I thought you’d never ask.”

Rising to my feet, I took her by the shoulder, turning her slowly so I was at her back, and closed my arms around her. As I began to work at the buttons on her blouse, I nuzzled at her neck, and she pressed back against me.

“Mmm. That’s nice…” She pressed her hand over mine.

I swept her hair to one side, the better to expose her soft skin, tickling her throat with lips and breath. We were facing the big window that looked out onto the city; tonight the lights were blurred by rain, and my glass was beaded with wind-blown drops.

Anjali (Lily? Who was she tonight?) murmured something and turned her head to kiss me, sighing as my hand found her breast, reaching back to stroke my cheek. We swayed together as I undressed her, garments drifting to the floor one by one, and outside the sky flickered—

I counted one, two, three, four, five, and then there was a slow rumble.

“I love storms,” I said, holding her tight. “I love to sit here on nights like this and just watch the show.”

“Storms scare me.” I could feel the tension in her body.

“I can draw the curtains and put some music on if it’ll help.”

She shook her head. “I’m all right. I feel safer with you around.”

Well, that made me glow a little, deep down inside. Still, she was shivering a little; I chose to interpret it as cold.

“Let’s snuggle on the sofa.” It was big enough for us both to lie full-length, me behind her, both of us still facing the window.

“You’re lumpy,” she said. I’d stripped her down to her underwear, but I was still mostly dressed, and I hadn’t emptied my pockets. My pockets…

“Oh, that reminds me, I have something for you. Two things. Wait a moment.” I got up and shed my jeans, then fetched a gift bag from the kitchen counter.

“Oh?”

I climbed back into my position behind her. “Here you are, sweetie.” I handed her the bag and snuggled against her back, fingers stroking her skin.

She reached into it, and pulled out a packet of stockings. “Oh, thank you!”

“I did say I’d get you another pair. Besides, I had so much fun with the last pair.”

“Yes, well… now, what else is this?” She up-ended the bag, tipped out a box, and güvenilir bahis siteleri opened it. “A… a rubber duck? Er, thank you?”

“Not just a rubber duck. If you press the back, just here…” I guided her fingers and showed her where to squeeze. There was a muffled click and the duck began to vibrate in her hand. “Press it again to change the speed, or turn it off. It’s waterproof too.”

She giggled. “What a clever idea. You shouldn’t have!”

“Told you I’d get you one.” I let go her hand and slipped my fingers under her bra, began to tease at her breasts, as she turned the duck over, testing its settings, cycling from slow to medium to fast to off. Then the thunder growled again, louder than before, and she shuddered; I squeezed her tight. “I thought I should get you something that won’t scandalise your parents.”

“Good thinking. You know what they’re like.” Mrs Kapadia had a bad habit of inviting herself into Anjali’s room to “tidy up” with the thoroughness of a police search and about as much regard for matters of privacy. “Thank you, it’s sweet of you.”

“Kiss me,” I said, and she turned her head and for a few minutes I enjoyed the taste of her mouth, and my hands moved on her, and by the time we came up for air she’d lost the last of her underthings. “Shall we try it out?”

“You’re the boss,” she said, and that gave me a sinful little tingle. She bent her knee, and slid the duck down between her legs, and clicked it on again, and I held her while she put it to use.

Sex is personal, but masturbation is private. I’ve always felt shy doing it in company, even with a lover who knows every inch of my body. Holding Anjali close while she pleasured herself: that made me feel like I was somewhere I shouldn’t be. If there’s something sexier than that feeling, I don’t know what it is.

She fumbled for a bit, perhaps nervous, perhaps distracted by the newness of the situation and the unfamiliar toy, and then she found her groove… so to speak. My palm was pressed against her ribs and I could feel her pulse fluttering, and more than that: the rhythm of her fingers, the soft buzz of the duck, her breath coming rough and shallow.

It was dark outside – or as dark as the city lights and the thunderstorm allowed – and in the window I could just see the two of us faintly reflected, superimposed on the cityscape that stretched out below. Her eyes were closed, whether from shyness or from bliss.

I wanted to do something. Kiss her neck, perhaps, or tweak her nipples, something to make her gasp and fuel her fires. But that would have made me a participant, and that was a different kind of chemistry. Right now what I needed most, from that dark and hungry place deep down inside, was to be the voyeur: to watch as she rubbed herself, drove herself towards that utmost nakedness that comes at the moment of orgasm, both of us knowing that she was doing it because I’d told her to. So, as the lightning flickered in the sky and the wind-flung rain spattered on my window, I kept still and witnessed as her movements became rougher, harder, as sighs became groans became cries, and at the last she quivered and yelped. “Ah, ah, oh…OH!”

Then abruptly she stopped, and pulled her hand away. I knew the signs; she’d become hyper-sensitive, to the point where the slightest touch to her clit would be unbearable. Now I did kiss her at the nape of the neck, and I whispered, “That was splendid, my dear.”

“Thank you?” I thought I saw a blush on her face, although her skin tone made it hard to be sure. “Gosh, that was—”

The room lit up and thunder cracked, less than a second away, a long loud stroke that rattled the windows. Anjali gasped and I hugged her. “Shh. It’s all right.”

I stroked her hair and we cuddled together for a few minutes until the storm had passed over and the thunder was muffled by distance.

“So is this bedtime?” asked Anjali.

“Not yet, my dear. I haven’t had my turn yet.” To be honest, I’d very much enjoyed Anjali’s little exhibition, and I would’ve considered it a night well spent even if it had gone no further. But that’s no reason not to look for more.

“Oh! I’m so sorry, I forgot you hadn’t, we hadn’t…”

“Quite all right. You were distracted.” I chucked her under the chin. “But I did have some ideas about what I’d like to do tonight.” I paused. “Or, I should say, about what I’d like you to do.”

“Let me catch my breath and then I’m all yours.”

“I’m going to take a quick shower, freshen up a bit, and then I’ll see you in my room.”

When I emerged from the bathroom in my dressing gown, Anjali was sitting on the edge of my bed. I gave her an envelope from my desk and waited while she read the letter inside.

“Test results, Sarah Weber… negative HIV, syphilis, gonorrhoea, et cetera et cetera et cetera. All good. Me also, I didn’t think to bring my letter.”

“I trust you.”

She folded the letter, put it back into the envelope, and handed it back to me. “Well, then.” And she looked up at me, waiting for direction.

With one hand I took her chin between thumb and forefinger; with the other I slid her glasses off. “Lily”—she blinked at that, then grinned as she remembered the name—”it’s time you learned how to go down on me.”

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