Chapter 2: Kukla
"Good morning, sleepyhead."
"Come on. I made you breakfast."
"Yeah, but it's waffles."
Betsy opened her eyes a crack. "Waffles?"
"With strawberries and whipped cream." Ben was beaming. He was stretched out on the bed, his head in his hands, looking young and strong.
"But on waffles, right?"
Ben laughed. "Yes, on homemade waffles."
"I watched a video. It's all very professional."
"But you made them?" Ben pinched Betsy and she laughed, sitting up on her elbows. "What time is it?"
"The holiest of days." Ben crawled next to Betsy and nestled into her.
"And now waffles."
"With strawberries and whipped cream," said Ben. "Homemade."
"Homemade strawberries?" Ben tickled her again, this time not stopping at a single pinch. She rolled around, trying to defend herself, but he was persistent. "Okay, okay," she said between giggles. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry."
Ben stopped and kissed her on the cheek. "Good," he said. "Would you like breakfast in bed, my lady?"
"Mmm, I do like bed."
Ben kissed Betsy's cheek, and then her neck. "I like bed, too."
"Bed is nice."
"Good place to work off all those calories." Ben nibbled her ear, and Betsy locked up. That's how she described it. Her skin would go numb and her bones rigid. It was harder to breathe, and her chest was tight. It was like a panic attack or like an anesthetic was rubbed all over her body. She wasn't just not turned on. She was turned off. She could smell Ben's breath. She could feel the sweat on his hands. She felt his beard on her neck. She was suddenly aware of how bright it was in the room and how badly she needed a shower. It wasn't just that nothing was sexy. It was that everything was so unbearably unsexy.
"Right, but waffles first?" She squeaked, trying to keep her voice even.
"Then shoo," said Betsy. "Fetch me the finest waffles in the land."
Ben laughed. "They'll at least be the finest waffles in the house."
Ben moved out of the room with the same boyish smile on his face. When he was gone, Betsy relaxed. He must have bought it. If he picked up on her rejection, there'd be another fight. Or worse, he'd go to his office for hours on end doing "work." He was spending more and more time in there lately, but strangely, he was also doing more and more of these little things: breakfast in bed, flowers, little texts throughout the day as he thought of her. It was like he was back in college, enamored with Betsy, but also having to go for long periods of time.
Whatever was causing the change, Betsy wasn't sure if she loved it or hated it. On one hand, he was being sweet, caring, and loving. On the other, he made more advances. He was never aggressive; he was infuriatingly patient and sensitive, but each attempt was another rejection, another chance for Betsy to ruin it all. He was being the perfect husband, and her body made her a prudish bitch.
She banished the thought when he came back in with a tray full of waffles, strawberries, whipped cream, orange juice, and - most importantly - coffee.
"My lord," she said as she sat up. She didn't fight the foolish grin on her face. Whatever had caused this change in Ben was a blessing. She'd felt their distance keenly in the past few ... well, years, really. It was nice to have the doting boyfriend instead of the brooding husband.
"My lady," he said as he put the tray over her lap. He moved next to her, getting close enough that it could be considered cuddling, but not touching. He was respecting her space, reading her body language.
"You're not having any?"
Ben slapped his stomach. "Watching my figure."
"And fattening me up?" Betsy arched her left eyebrow but kept smiling.
"You don't need to worry about your figure." Ben kissed her lightly. "You're perfect."
Betsy blushed and turned away. She didn't want to send off the wrong signals. She didn't want him hoping that something would happen because nothing was going to happen. Especially after she stuffed herself on waffles.
"What do you have planned today?" asked Ben as she ate.
"After this? The gym."
"Can I come, too?"
"To the gym?" Ben never went to the gym.
"Sure. Why not?"
Betsy stuffed her mouth with waffles and spoke through it. "Don't you have work?"
Betsy held up her finger, chewed, and then swallowed. "Still." Betsy had expected Ben to go to his office and work until dinner. Weekends were more free time to fill with his office or heading to the courthouse.
"Still," said Betsy, eyeing him closely as she scooped another forkful of waffles into her mouth.
Ben shrugged again. "I'd rather spend time with you than go over another case file."
"What would Peter say?" Peter was Ben's boss, the District Attorney.
"He says I work too much as it is. The pay is shit for how much time I spend there. I'd rather rest when I'm resting instead of trying to get ahead, you know?"
"Make sense." Betsy tried to let her face stay neutral. If it weren't for the waffles and the flirting and the consideration and the attention and the personal time and, well ... everything, she'd have given him shit about this being new. For years his career had been put ahead of their marriage.
"You seem happier, lately," said Betsy cautiously. "More upbeat."
"I am." Ben smiled wide like a big dope, and Betsy smiled back.
"Hmmm." Ben's face scrunched up in concentration. Half the time when he was thinking, he looked pissed off, but by now, Betsy was used to his thinking face. When he was trying to articulate something or listen closely, his brows would furrow, his eyes would darken, he would look down, and his lips would form a thin, tight line.
"I guess something just clicked," he said finally. "Like, I asked myself what I really wanted, what really mattered, and becoming a District Attorney one day suddenly felt small compared to everything else."
"Like you, like our marriage, like my health. I realized that so much of my life is my job, but that's a choice. I could step back at any time and make my life more. It could be about you, or running, or cooking. It could be anything."
"The waffles are pretty good. Crispy outside, still fluffy."
"Thanks." Ben smiled, and she thought she detected a hint of a blush. He reached over and grabbed the empty tray as Betsy saved her coffee and kept it by her side.
"So, gym?" he asked.
"Not yet. Too full. Shower first."
"Before the gym?"
"Before anything, yes." Ben's face danced between confusion and disgust. Betsy laughed. "I don't sweat as much as you. I'll be fine."
"Women." Ben shook his head in disbelief. "They're like magical creatures."
"Well, I'm gunna clean up the kitchen and get changed. I'll see you when you're out."
Ben leaned in for another kiss, and Betsy obliged. It wasn't a peck, and his lips lingered and parted, Betsy locked up again. He couldn't want more, not right now. He had a tray in his hands. She felt stuffed like a turkey. There was no way he wanted to get frisky after all that. Her skin felt too tight across her body. Goosebumps erupted everywhere, and her heart rate increased as panic set in.
She broke away and ran her hands through her hair. "I need to shower," she muttered and stood up quickly. She spilled some of her coffee on her top and hissed.
"You okay?" asked Ben.
"I'm fine. Just go clean up. I'm fine."
Ben looked at her, confused and hurt, but nodded and left the room. Betsy cursed herself. With her luck, he'd be off to his office to brood. That would be her luck. Overnight her husband turns into the most considerate person in the world, and she ruins it.
Betsy hurried into the shower. It wouldn't take Ben long to clean up and change, and she didn't want him waiting on her, again. It seemed like that was happening more and more lately, like their whole marriage was waiting for Betsy. Waiting for her to engage, to respond, to spread her legs and let Ben fuck her. It's not like she wasn't involved in the relationship. She did her best despite Ben's workaholic tendencies. It was her body that seemed to frustrate Ben more and more each year.
As far as she knew, she'd always been like this. In high school, she thought she was a lesbian after guy after guy would make a pass at her and it filled her with dread and nausea. Even her first few boyfriends couldn't get past kissing her cheeks without causing her entire body to enter fight or flight mode. She even thought she was asexual, but she found that she could get aroused. The idea of sex turned her on. She could even get herself off with toys and plenty of time, but anytime someone else tried, she just ... locked up.
Ben knew what he was getting into when they got married. Their wedding night was a bit of a disaster. She had tried to get herself as drunk as possible at the reception in order to help herself relax, but she crossed over relaxation and entered paranoia. She thought he was going to rip her apart with his cock. She kept swearing and insisting that he was tearing her, but when he checked, there was no damage. She was fine.
In the first few years, they found a happy medium. She could get off along with him if there was plenty of foreplay. Ben would spend over an hour between her legs, licking and kissing as much as she needed to get comfortable. Sometimes she'd never get there, but she'd help him cum. For a while he didn't resent her for it, but that didn't last. As work picked up, they had less time and energy for foreplay. Sex with Betsy wasn't worth it unless they had almost two hours for it, and who has two hours for sex? Certainly not new lawyers trying to get noticed by the District Attorney.
So now the distance in their marriage was her fault. Oh, she tried to blame Ben. She wanted to say he worked too much, that he was too emotionally and physically absent. But she recently started a web-design company. It wasn't like she had time. None of them had time, but that wouldn't stop most couples from making love, just this couple. All because of Betsy's stupid, pathetic body. She didn't know how long they had. A year? Two? At some point Ben was going to try to become the next District Attorney, and she'd never see him again. Or maybe some young clerk would make a pass at him, and he'd respond. Who could blame him? When was the last time he got to fuck somebody? Years? Shit. It was.
Betsy stepped out of the shower and toweled herself off. She knew that if it ended, it would be because he cheated. She wouldn't even be mad at him. At the end of the day, he has needs. They made vows, pledging their bodies to each other. She wasn't living up to her end of the vows. He deserved better, and if some tight young secretary gave that to him, maybe Betsy would be happy for him. Maybe.
Ben was waiting for her downstairs. He'd lost weight. Not a ton, but in the tight workout clothes, she could see how his belly was slimming down, his chest was thickening. God, it was so unfair. He'd become more and more attractive, losing weight and gaining that gorgeous silver fox look. Women would flock to him. In the meantime, Betsy would wrinkle and sag. She'd fight age with every fiber of her being, but she'd lose. She was lucky she had his attention now, but she wouldn't be able to keep it for long.
At the gym, she expected him to split off from her. She typically started with a quick stretching routine and then ran. She expected Ben to go to the weight room, but he followed her into the small yoga studio and got a mat like he'd done it a dozen times before. She asked about it, but he didn't make a big deal.
"You gotta stretch before you work out," he said. "At least it's quiet in here."
And so they stretched together in silence. At first, she thought he was copying her routine - he kept turning his head and glancing at her occasionally - but the longer she worked at it, the more she realized he wasn't watching her movements; he was watching her body. He was checking her out as she bent over, as she arched her back. At first, she tried to ignore it, but her mind wasn't there. Was he hoping for something to happen after the gym? Was she teasing him? Leading him on?
Betsy couldn't get out of her head. She cut her routine short and headed to the treadmills for a run. Ben followed behind her. She turned around and scowled.
"What?" he asked, pretending to be innocent.
"Aren't you lifting weights?" she asked.
"Nah," she said with a grin. He slapped his gut. "Cardio is the best way to burn this off."
Betsy sighed and turned back around. She sighed as he picked the machine right next to her. She sighed as he grinned at her as they both started to run. She put in her headphones, and blasted some cheesy pop, anything—dear God anything—to distract herself.
He waited until they were home to make his move. As soon as the door was closed, his hands were on her. He was drenched in sweat—even after their awkward cool down in the yoga studio—and she shivered as his slimy skin slid over hers.
"I could use a shower," he said as he kissed her neck.
"Yes, you could." She slithered out of his grip, tucking down as he tried to enclose his arms around her. She moved towards the kitchen, and he followed her. She sighed at the sound of it. Why did he have to push? If he just took the hint, no one would get their feelings hurt.
"You could join me," he said as she opened the fridge.
"I already took one." She smiled, hoping it looked genuine. "How about I make us some lunch?"
"I'm not hungry for anything in that fridge," said Ben. His grin widened, and his eyebrows darted up. God, he was adorable. And handsome. And he tried so hard. Why did it have to be this way? Why?
"Oh, really?" Betsy leaned into the fridge and grabbed the first thing she could: sliced turkey. "Not even this?"
Ben laughed. "The model is better than the product." He approached boldly, in one smooth motion. He was strong and confident. She'd seen him workout. He could have kept going. He should have kept going. She would have loved to watch him.
It wasn't that she didn't want Ben. He absolutely turned her on, but that filled her with dread. She couldn't give him what he wanted. Every invitation was an inevitable rejection, another fight, another week of silence.
But she wrapped her arms around him. She looked up as he bent down to kiss her. She kissed him back and let her body warm with his touch, his heat. She melted into him. Her body wanted it, part of it. Would the rest of her behave? Could she have her cake and eat it too?
Maybe this time.
Betsy broke away and dramatically tossed the turkey into the fridge and slammed the door. She hoped it looked confident and sexy, but who could say? She laughed nervously, and before he could kiss her again, she grabbed his hands and pulled him upstairs.
"Let's clean you up, dirty boy," she said. Did it sound sexy enough? Flirty enough?
"Yes, ma'am," said Ben, and his voice was serious. She expected more laughter, more banter, but she turned around and his eyes were concentrated, serious.
Betsy swallowed, trying to steel herself. Without asking a question—she didn't trust her voice—she hurried up the stairs and into the bathroom. Ben was on her in an instant, kissing her lips, her neck, her ear, her shoulder. Their hands were a blur, trying to get clothes off as quickly as possible. There was so much fabric, and each of it wet with sweat or tight to the body. But Betsy forgot all about the clothes or her nudity as Ben's lips moved over her body.
At first, he was hungry. His lips darted from one patch of skin to another without thought or hesitation. But as he devoured her, his fire cooled. He kissed deliberately, slowly. His wet lips parted and closed with the tiniest slip of tongue on her skin. He savored her, and Betsy didn't fight the moans as her body arched into him. His hands clutched her back, holding his prey in place, but they didn't roam. He didn't want to grope her; he wanted to consume her. And with his diligent tongue, his velvet lips, he did.
She moaned into it, and his lips moved down her body. He kissed between her breasts, and she wove her fingers through his hair, guiding him. Guiding him down, deeper. Yes. She wanted this. She needed this. He'd tried so hard, put forth so much effort. He deserved it.
Her stomach tightened as the thick kisses trailed down her stomach. He peeled off her pants and panties, and she writhed, pulsing her abs and hips as he went. She gasped, and she felt his hot breath wash over her skin as he smiled.
He eased onto his knees and lowered his mouth. The cool air washed over her burning skin. His wet lips approached, closer and closer to her hips, her thighs, her pussy. Betsy stepped back and sat on the edge of the sink, spreading her legs. Ben adjusted, still kissing the dangerous area between waist and crotch, kissing slowly and carefully, practically nibbling or licking, as he hesitated.
He was asking for permission. Betsy smiled, pulled Ben's hair taut in her hands, and brought his good tongue to her pussy.
But as he licked, she froze. There it was: that revulsion. The nausea came first, and she slid off the sink. She gave a thousand apologies as she stormed out of the bathroom and into their bedroom. Ben tried to follow, but she waved him off. This was worse than before, worse than any other turn off. She plummeted straight from heaven to hell with no warning, no in between. This may have happened when he tried to penetrate her, but this? This was supposed to be safe.
Ben knocked on the door, but she didn't respond. She heard him shuffle away. When she heard the water start running in the shower, she knew it was safe to cry.
Ben was in his office after his shower. They didn't speak the rest of the day. Even during dinner, she sat in silence. He complimented the meal, but not much else. Ben recommended a movie for dinner, and, even though she didn't feel like it, she agreed to it. They'd been watching a lot of movies lately. She would curl up into him, and he'd stroke her hair. It was nice.
Assuming it didn't make her nauseous to have him touch her tonight.
But it was fine, and as the movie went on—some drama about a snake goddess—she started to doze off. That was normal too. Most nights she fell asleep during the movie and woke up alone on the couch. She'd get some water and join Ben in the bedroom, just like most nights recently.
Tonight was different. Yes, she woke up in the cool light of their living room, only the soft blue light of the television to guide her. But she didn't feel sleepy. Not in the slightest. She felt like she'd slept for twelve hours. Her day was just starting.
More than that, her body was hungry. She must have been dreaming of something—Ben perhaps? Whatever it was, it had worked her up. She slipped her hand down her panties and almost moaned from checking herself. She was soaked. She checked the outside of her shorts. They weren't soaked, but there was some dampness. Her scent lingered through the clothes.
Oddly, she didn't worry too much about it. As soon as her body registered that it was strange, it filed the information away with a dozen explanations: she must still be wound up from Ben this afternoon, she was still turned on and never got her release, it's been weeks since she came, or perhaps her cycle was at the point when everything turned her on. It was nothing to stress about. She was turned on. She was wet. So what?
A new thought bubbled into her mind: she should apologize to Ben.
She checked his office first, but it was empty. She turned to check the bedroom, but a familiar blue light glowed from the monitors of his computer. He must have forgotten to turn it off. She went to turn it off but froze.