Numbness had set in hours ago. The pain had moved from tingling to pulsing to nearly unbearable, but she had breathed through it.
This was penance.
She sat on her knees on the living room floor, palms resting on her thighs, head lowered, listening to the symphony of birds from the open window.
This was prayer.
The pauses between the bird calls elicited expectation inside of her: she waited for their songs, and as they began to taper off, she knew that sunrise had given way to morning.
This was listening.
She focused on her naked body…the curve of each breast and the swell of her belly. Her skin was just barely tan in the places that had been kissed by the sun.
This was introspection.
Hunger threatened to call away her attention. Her stomach grumbled, and her mouth was dry.
But this was cleansing.
He came in the front door, sweaty from his morning run, and found her there, her body curved in on itself…a squat, fleshy S.
“What are you doing, Emily?”
She looked up at him.
“I’m sorry,” she said softly.
He walked to her, crouched down, and took her hands.
“How long have you been here?”
“Since you left,” she replied, eyes down-turned.
“That was over an hour ago. Do you think you can stand?”
“Probably not. My feet went numb shortly after I knelt down,” she admitted.
“You know this isn’t good for your circulation?” he chided questioningly.
But she remained silent.
He put his hands under her arms and pulled her up off of her knees, placing her on the couch, then sat next to her.
“Why were you down there?”
“I was punishing myself.”
He looked at her quizzically. “Well, this isn’t going to fix the ticket,” he told her.
“I know,” she said. “But, I don’t know what else to do. I’ve cried. I’ve apologized. I’ve gone to traffic court, and I still owe a hundred dollars. So now all I have left is self-punishment.”
“But this is a bit excessive, isn’t it?”
“Do you think so?”
“It was a parking ticket, my dear…a parking ticket. That’s all.”
He tweaked her left nipple and smiled.
“I’ll even pay it for you tomorrow if you promise to be a good girl and stay naked like this for the rest of the day.”
“I couldn’t walk to the closet right now if I wanted to, and the feeling is just now coming back. It’s going to hurt like hell.”
“I suppose I should take your mind off of it then.”
But she put her hands on either side of his head and said, “No. Please. I want to feel it.”
He cocked his head to the side in question at first, but nodded in acquiescence and placed both her legs across his thighs. He pressed and rubbed her feet back to life as she grimaced and whimpered within his grasp. He noticed her nipples rising to attention as her face tightened liked she’d just tasted something terribly sour. He held her calves in his palms and squeezed, and her head fell backward, her mouth opening and her breath catching. Her abdomen contracted and undulated as his hands made their way up her thighs. She was crying at this point…and shuddering.
“Please…please…” she begged.
Well this is an interesting kink, he thought to himself…who knew that “pins and needles” could be a thing? But what a world of possibility this opens…