Emily had just confirmed that I was in a position that I could order her to stop smoking. And she’d obey. Sort of. As best she could. Until I made it so, through perseverance and discipline. I decided to accept that gift. “Yes. You quit smoking, for good, on Monday. After you’ve had the third instalment.”
Smoke spurted. “Instalment!”
“Well, you know.”
This was more, and easier, than I’d expected. I said, naively, “Good. That’s settled.”
Emily stubbed out her cig and turned to me. I hated tobacco, but it was never the only thing she tasted of. Just then, she tasted of milk and sweat. She said, “Yeah… this is good.” I almost patted her welted and super-sensitive bum. I remembered to stroke the small of her back instead.
“We’ll be all right. Well then. Brush your teeth and come back to bed.” And Emma obeyed. I pretended to be nonchalant. I was jubilant.
We slept through the morning, and greeted each other across the pillows in the early afternoon. Emily had slept on her stomach. I kissed her, and inspected the damage. The stripes were bright and her skin was flushed red, even where the cane hadn’t touched, but there was no swelling. Her body was impressively efficient at repairing itself. I kissed each rounded hillock, which drew a sigh rather than a yelp, another sign of healing. I gave Emily a progress report, took a photo of her ass and showed it to her, and got up to make lunch.
Emily said, from the bed, “Shouldn’t I do that?”
“Well, make lunch. Things. Now that I do what I’m told, shouldn’t I make lunch?”
“Will you test the surfaces with a white glove? And beat me if the glove gets dirty?”
“Okay, a feather duster and white gloves. And I’ll definitely beat you. One moment.”
In the kitchen I put rolls in the oven and made omelettes. It was a gesture, to show that certain things would go on as before. We’d shared chores and making meals, and we still would. I reflected, pouring out orange juice, that I could make Emma do all the housework.
I could sit on a couch and have her do all the work while I wore me a wifebeater singlet and shouted at the sports game. But getting out of housework still seemed a petty use of something as grand as Emily’s submission. It’d be a quick way to have her fall out of love with me. Anyway, I didn’t watch sports.