The morning after the party,
A bedroom door opened and Cassie emerged, in a manga tee-shirt that hung almost to her knees. Cassie was a doctor, a glowing light-brown woman with large, almost black eyes and an extraordinarily sweet face framed by medium-length black hair. She was small but contoured. She lifted weights.
Cassie was embarrassed to find me, and uncertain of her welcome. Last night she’d performed the party’s most spectacular piece of bad behaviour, launching a screaming attack on her best friend, accusing her of fucking her last boyfriend, of pretending to be sweet but always undermining her and other feminine offences.
It’d been the least fun part of the evening, but I’d already forgiven her because the outburst had been so out of character, and because, only a few minutes later, Cassie had fallen asleep in that same friend’s arms. Wine sometimes solves the problems that it creates.
But Cassie was hung over, embarrassed and ashamed, so I hugged her. I let her go when she winced. But she emerged from the bathroom a few minutes later, having dealt with her bladder and her head, and wrestled her way back into the hug. “I’m really sorry, Jaime. I don’t know what … Well, I’m sorry.”
“Ah, love, it’s okay. You’d had a bit of wine. And … you probably had reasons.” I found myself hugging Cassie with one arm while reaching down to squeeze her ass with my other hand.
Cassie rubbed my chest with her forehead. “No, I didn’t have reasons. Not good ones.”
Cassie smiled up at me. “And I still don’t think it came from nowhere.” More smiles.
A nice man was being nice to her. And the ass-squeezing was probably a great comfort in her time of self-recrimination. Then information from that bottom-squeezing hand swamped my brain. I added, “Though … if you ever do anything like that again, Cassie, I’ll put you over my knee.”
It took me a moment to hear what I’d just said. I sounded like a roué in an ancient sex comedy, something black and white and British, on television at three in the morning, starring Terry-Thomas and Syd James. I’d kept bdsm hidden for years. I played bdsm with strangers, or I masturbated to dark fantasies, but I didn’t offer to spank my women friends. Or I hadn’t until just then.
It was the stupidest thing I’d ever said. I wanted to slap my forehead, but I was patting Cassie’s ass and in the absence of complaint from her I’d keep doing that. Still, I’d just threatened her with assault: low-level violence, some sexual content. We still hugged, but she was no longer holding an honourable gentleman.
Cassie didn’t seem to mind that I wasn’t a gentleman. Her eyes widened, but she said, almost without a pause, “Yes, yeah, I know. You should.”