Dominating Amy

By: Emily Ryan-Davis

Chapter One

“Not to absolve you of responsibility—you did choose of your own free will, cocktails aside—but he’s half doing this to himself. You’re not helping matters by withdrawing and lying, but he’s not helping by letting you get away with it. If you were my submissive, I’d beat your ass.” Somewhere in the restaurant, wine glasses clinked together as punctuation. As an afterthought, she added, “If you stop being a coward and talk to him, you might still get the whipping you deserve.”

Amy Corcoran, spaghetti noodles twirled around her fork and poised on the brink of a bite, gaped at her dinner companion.

The tall, polished woman sitting opposite her arched her eyebrows. “What? Dishonesty by omission is still dishonesty. You lied. You’re still lying, and you’re both miserable because of it. The role of a dominant lover might be easy for some men but the role of a dominant partner isn’t something most men are encouraged to assume anymore. Mac was raised in the twentieth century. It’s not going to naturally occur to him that you want to submit. If you want him to take control, you have to tell him. And tell him the truth. Give him a seed to nurture and grow.”

The truth.

A slender red candle stood between them. Its flame danced a slow waltz, each dip marking off the seconds that slipped away while Amy scrambled for a response. Neither her brain nor her lungs cooperated--one failed to think, the other to process oxygen. She lowered her fork to the plate to buy time. A slow count to ten helped her fight off a panic attack.

“He doesn’t believe in submission,” she finally said, sucking breath through her nostrils, slowly and deliberately. She despised the wimpy, weak quality of her voice.

Elizabeth Very, Amy’s closest friend and an unashamed dominatrix, pointed a stick of soft, warm bread at her. “Don’t get that look on your face.”

“What look?”

“The one you get when you’ve made up your mind about something and you’re determined not to be influenced.”

“I can’t tell him.” Stomach tight, Amy pushed her plate away. Anxiety and tomato acid met together in battle and she couldn’t eat anymore. She and her husband were already estranged. Their marriage wouldn’t survive the addition of moral and religious convictions to their existing problems. Elizabeth didn’t understand -- her lovers were casual events, impromptu birthday parties, whereas Mac was Amy’s debutante ball -- planned for and once-in-a-lifetime.

“Amy. Hiding yourself is what brought you to this point. If you’d said something to Mac—even if you’d said something to me—that scene wouldn’t have gone as far as it did. You would’ve known how to protect yourself. He would have known how to protect you.”

“I can’t,” she repeated. Her throat shrank and she focused on breathing, made more difficult by Elizabeth’s reminder of her mistake. She hadn’t brought her asthma inhaler.

Elizabeth’s gaze burned into her forehead. Amy couldn’t meet her friend’s eyes. She stared at the wound-up noodles, glistening with tomato and olive oil, and imagined her life like that, all wrapped up around Mac, at risk of coming undone if tilted at the wrong angle.

“Do you love him?” Elizabeth pressed. “Do you want to be with him?”

Amy nodded.

“Want him to stop sleeping on the couch?”

Failure threatened to suffocate her. Elizabeth emptied their shared bottle of cabernet into Amy’s glass.

“Drink that,” she instructed. “You look like you’re going to pass out. The maitre’d is giving us concerned glances.”

The first gulp of wine stung her throat, raw from fighting sobs. She slowed to steady sips and set a rhythm -- sip, breathe, sip, breathe. Gradually the glass emptied. Alcohol warmed her ears. Elizabeth motioned for another bottle of wine.

“He loves you,” she said. “From what you’ve told me, he probably feels like you’re shutting him out. You know him—he doesn’t force himself anywhere. He’s giving you the space he thinks you want.”

“I don’t feel well.” Amy lowered the empty glass to the table. Her hand shook. “I just have to get over this.”