Chapter 02 – Leather and Lace

Day 1 of 56. Dom handed this to me. He loves Moleskine though I don’t know what he sees in them. The hardcover’s nice though. He said I should write in it. So I told him I don’t have another book in me. Then he said write about Nice. Write about my room. Write about what I’m going through. Maybe do a “serious” book, and then I punched him. I write serious books. I’ve published 8 through Harlequin. So I’m counting down. I don’t know why I agreed to this trip. This is ridiculous. 48 hours later and I’m a quarter of the way around the earth with Dom. Dom! I could kill that man right now. My apartment is probably reeking. He did a good job though, and he’s good at that sort of thing, I shouldn’t know that about another man really, but he did. He’s sweet. And he’s probably right like he always is. When he first said that we were going to France I thought Paris, but Nice is good. I shouldn’t be so hard on him. Nice is fine. Nice is great. Nice is just as good as Paris… Nice has wonderful beaches. Or is that Marseille. I’m sure I’ll fall in love with it. I’m burning this when I’m done.

Day 2 of 56

Bonjour! I love how that sounds. The owner, I guess, of this little bed and breakfast said that to me today. It made me weak with happiness. Dom said I should write again. I don’t know what good it will do. All I’ve done is think about Him since getting here. I’m still jet lagged and unwomanly. If it wasn’t Dom at the door I’d never let anyone in. He came in this morning. He wiggled his eyes and opened his mouth to do an impersonation of a panda. It doesn’t look anything like a panda, but I still laugh at him. I was still tired as hell, not knowing what timezone my mind was in because I decided to sleep on the plane. He was right, you push and collapse at night in the new location. Dom’s always fucking right. But he doesn’t put it in my face, which over time has made it more infuriating. If he could just say “I’m smarter than you Molly Parker” or “You know you’re not my equal” it would be easier. Him, he always did it. But with Dom, it builds, I’m just waiting for it to happen. It’ll come. It has to come.

Dom’s nice though. He’s always been nice. April teased me once that I was having an affair with Dom. I said no. I couldn’t do that to Him. I could never imagine cheating on someone who I cared about. Even though I stopped caring so much about Him. I should have. I should have taken Dom when I suspected Her. Made Him see what it felt like. But, Dom. It wouldn’t have been right. He would have lost both of us. Now that he’s picked a side, I don’t know what he’d do without me. He’s just a door down if I ever wanted to. Maybe I should.

Day 3 of 56

Violently ill today. Somehow I nabbed the cold and Dom of course didn’t. He’s off god knows where living it up in Nice while I’m in bed sweating through my sheets. God help me if I’m going to survive this.

That was him. He brought me cold medicine. The doctor’s on the way apparently. He called. I can only imagine what the doctor must have thought. Dom can speak french okay, but he doesn’t have the accent like I do. He’s even trying to speak french to me whenever we’re together. That’s cute. He has no control over idioms or vernacular so he just sounds like a well educated tourist. I couldn’t help but fall over laughing when he tried to tell me a knock knock joke in french. It sounded like an internet translation. If only I had the heart to tell him how bad he was.

Which brings up what else he suggested. He might go out to find some “french ass” according to him.

That was him. He came by to keep me company until the doctor came. He could have been spending the day out in Nice. Now it’s after dark. The doctor was slow, so much for house calls. But then again, I’m sick, it’s not like I’m going anywhere. I don’t know what I’ll do with Dom. He went out sight seeing on my behalf. The day before. He has all the pictures of the Opera de Nice. The pictures are amazing. I nearly melted. The outside with rich stone work was all I really needed to see to know I would love it. It reminded me of the time that Him and me went to London, Dom was there too and his girlfriend at the time, and we saw the York Cathedral. It wasn’t as grand as Canterbury, but the way it sat in the center of everything, nestled into the city, it was the same way. The inside was splendid. Somewhat standard for an opera house, just like one Cathedral spoils you for them all, but I wanted to walk through the halls with Dom and snap pictures. I wanted to be a tourist. And then to call Nice home. Hearing him talk about it, how he tried to get into the center box where princesses sat, I wanted to go there. I’d like to go there with Dom.

He smiled like a buffoon the entire time he flipped through his camera. Every time I see him he has that SLR with him. Just recently he went to only shooting in digital when He gave Dom the latest camera for a birthday gift. I don’t know what Dom saw in Him. They were best buds forever, since before I knew Him. Wherever one went the other did. We even double dated all the time through the string of bad girlfriends (and one boyfriend) that Dom had. I think it was Penny that I wanted to slap the most. She had one of those voices that made me immediately not want to take her seriously. And I think it was then that Dom started taking photos while on a date. What a moron. I can’t help but love him though. He’s one of those lovable morons. The kind you slap for being an idiot and then kiss to make up. The kind that picks up after you when you’re down and then flies you off to Nice when you’re really down. He’s not that much of a moron in the end.

Dom.

Maybe when I’m not snotty and disgusting will I ask him in again. Maybe he’s what I need right now. He won’t be awkward about it if it doesn’t work out. That’s not like him. Not Dom.

Day 4 of 56

I could barely see out of one eye today. I went from bad to worse. Dom stayed in with me all day. He could have been out. But instead he stayed inside and read me Nabokov, beautiful english from a man from Russia. I believe it was his son that helped him translate from original Russian to English. Nabokov’s Dom’s favorite too. He could have been out and enjoying himself and taking in the vacation and instead he read.

He’s got a dorky reading voice though. It’s not so much that he has a bad reading voice, he has the voices down fairly well. It’s almost as if he’s been practicing on someone. But he can’t make the change from one character to the other. So John Wayne starts reading what Katharine Hepburn should be saying. I laugh at him every time and he turns red too. I pity the poor man. I don’t blame him either. He’s had a string of women all who fell through. I don’t know what when wrong. There’s nothing wrong with Dom. He listens to me, he cares for me, but his life doesn’t revolve around me either. Still, when I’m sick, he waits, he shows me pictures, he’s brought me my medicine. And when I’m down, he does this. As sick as I am, he did all of this. I still have five more weeks of France. All because he was sweet.

Day 5 of 56

I’m better this morning. I’m feeling ready. I’m going to ask Dom to go out with me. Here goes.

I don’t know what I’m doing. We had lunch and all I could do was nibble at my food. He noticed too. He asked if I was feeling okay. I blamed it on the cold. Then I feigned that I had to leave and left him. I couldn’t ask. I don’t know if it was still the thought of Him or someone else, but I couldn’t. I hope it was the cold. I hope it was. Dom has been what I’ve wanted through this entire divorce.

Dom asked me if I was okay. It was just me that he was worried about since I seemed okay before. I said I was. I thought I was. I shook my head. I didn’t know what else to do. And then he said that someone there suggested that if we were looking for something different, then maybe we should try this club tomorrow night. I asked him who gave him this tip and he just wiggled his eyebrows. For once, I didn’t know what that meant.

Day 6 of 56

Writing is starting to feel good again, natural even, compulsive. I say this because I’m sitting in my favorite dress on the edge of the bed. I’m in my little black dress. We all have one, we all have something we like to slink into, but this one is mine. I’m sure Dom will recognize it. He helped me pick it out.  I’ve slept on my conviction. I wanted sleep to embolden me and it has. There is a voice still there, has been throughout the day. But when I slipped on the dress, I couldn’t help but fantasize that it was his hands that slid across my body. And when it snapped in front that he wasn’t pulling my body into his chest. I ache for him. I never knew I would fall for someone as quickly as I have. But it’s always been him. All the time, throughout the marriage, he’s the one who has always been there for me. I don’t lust for him so much as need him in my life.

I don’t know where Dom went. It’s 2am and I missed him some how. I wanted to come home with him, to follow him to his bedroom and push him inside. Have a little ferocity behind it and pin him down on the bed. I have certainly missed that these past four months.

I keep wondering if I’ve heard him come in.

Tonight was a whirlwind. I went over to Dom’s door and knocked, with butterflies in my stomach awaiting a first date. It was our first date. I was single, he was too, it could finally happen. So I knocked again. He’s never that long. And then he opened the door. Muscled and calm like he could tenderly take me in his arms or force me against a wall and have his way. I swooned. I was there in my little black dress. He recognized it. But he was in a white shirt and black jeans, it fit him, perfectly. I knew him to be soft and tender, but he looked rugged in those jeans and that tight fitting shirt that put his chest on display. He smiled that little smile he gets when he’s amused more than happy. And I couldn’t help but blush.

When walking away he added a little “welcome back ms. Parker” to our sashay down the hallway. I took a gamble and slapped his tight little behind. He giggled a little. After we left the B&B he gave me the address to put in my phone in case we were separated. Dom, always thinking ahead. It was my first time out in the city. We had only gone so far together and that was just for food. This time, it was for fun.

I asked what kind of fun. He smiled and said I’d like it. I asked how he knew that, and he wiggled those eyebrows again. Apparently, I was getting to know another side of Dom. He was always the one to be subservient, one who I could command, but tonight he had some new vigor. I liked the new Dom. I like the new Dom. He isn’t so much of a push over.

My heels struggled over the stone walk ways and it didn’t help that I was perpetually glancing up to see the buildings in full. It was a world apart from San Antonio. I have been to many places but Nice is another world apart. The only city that I can compare it to is York, with its centrality in culture but overpowered by cities around it. I adored it and even slowed us down to admire even the simple shops surrounding us. They lived in centuries old buildings without a thought. And the walls were etched with stories that a city like San Antonio was just beginning to tell. I wanted to live here forever. There were no sights, no sounds, no photos to be taken, I just wanted to live here in that magnetism that some cities exert and pull people into their fold.

I spun feeling at home on my first outing. Nice. I belong to you.

Where we were going was a small club of sorts. I eyed Dom, not knowing he was a club kind of man, but I smiled and grabbed his hand. There was a rush from that contact. I can still feel it. My heart pounded and my breast swelled. But it was the promise. One that felt like it had been kept for years finally coming out. That I had made a mistake for so long, but never been able to utter a word. It was always Dom there to support me through everything, every hiccup, every illness, and I was there for every bad date of his. We knew each other for as long as I knew him, and I finally realized it all. I wanted to tell him then. Dash in front of him and feel him slow against me. I would look up, up into his eyes, and he would smile a little and ask what I was doing. And I would say “Dom. I love you.” And he would look down at me, cupping my chin with his fingers and say “I love you to Molly Parker”. If only I were that brash.

And I wasn’t. If only I was. Then I wouldn’t be here. Alone.

So instead we went down into that heated cellar of a club. The blue light within spilled onto the stairs. Water seemed to run down below us as we descended into that lair. I didn’t know what I was ready for. I had missed my opportunity and was waiting for another. But I knew for sure I was in for anything.

But I wasn’t.

Blue and red and yellow and green swirled above us lighting the immense room below. Dom turned with those eyebrows and said “what do you think?” I didn’t know what to think. Around me were men dressed in chaps and leather thongs. Some were holding whips and others riding crops. Some were fit and others were not. I stared at their bodies. And then Dom took off his shirt and tucked it into the back of his black jeans. It was like he was an oiled greek wrestler. In slow motion he transformed from Dom, my pet angel, to Dom, my dark warrior. His dethroning was met with congratulations from men around him, and some women. I was jealous.

I could have worn something else. I could have. I don’t know what, but something in there would have belonged to this, this leather and lace party. Around me were not just men in leather but women. I think of April, May, and June as girls, not women. But these women were truly women. Some were in corsets, others in leather jackets with nothing underneath, some with lace stockings running up and some with nothing but a corset and thong. Nowhere could I detect even the slightest hint of insecurity. I wandered into the throng, feeling insecure in my little black dress. Dom kept reiterating that in this group, no one cared, no one passed judgments on something like clothing, it was just being here, exploring, knowing oneself, that mattered. It sounded nice, it sounded like something I could belong to, especially if he was interested in it. He could show me.

We danced on the floor together. Never had we danced like that before. Sometimes, with Him around, Dom and I would dance and do it ironically. But now, now I had him. The world seemed to close in and people around us disappeared when I pressed myself against him. The slow movement of him matching mine as we neared closer to one another. I could smell his cologne. He only wore it when he went out with someone. I was his. I didn’t need to ask. I wait for him now, knowing that it will only take a word. I can still feel his body against mine.

But then, he was gone. The thump of the subwoofer pounded against the floor and shook my ears. He said he was going for some drinks. I didn’t know how long it had been. It had seemed like a flash of him whispering it in my ear and then arriving at nowhere. I looked around. Around me were women in lace grinding against men in leather jackets and chaps. I wanted to be like them more than ever. Alone, in the throng, without Dom near me, I felt an alien.

So I ran. Dom was taking forever and I needed to run. I found the bathroom. Inside was a line of women standing in front of the mirror. All doing their obscure makeup to look as off kilter as possible. I hated them. I wanted them all to go away. They were so sure of themselves. So confident. They would never have made the mistakes I had made. They would never have been so cowardly. Their men would never desert someone so proud. And if their men did, they would have a leash to snap back at their man and make him submit. I hated them, and I wanted to be them.

Victoria said hello.

She was a goddess. I didn’t dare ask her age but she was older than I was. Not much older, maybe she wasn’t, but she looked older. But she was a goddess. She smiled and ran a finger just beneath where my mascara would hit her finger. I choked a little. She soothed me. Her voice velvet, rare, and sexy calming me. She shooshed me and asked what was wrong. I didn’t know. I wanted to say everything. But instead I just cried harder than I thought I was before. She asked again, in that smoker’s alto that she has. It was a voice that I wanted to take home and fall asleep in. It was like Dom, deep, sultry, and calming. So I said I felt out of place, like I didn’t fit in, like everyone else was sexier. She hugged me deeply and said everyone has that experience the first time. No one really comes to these parties and fits in, they mingle, they nibble, they like but don’t like, it’s only after they go heads first that they come to love it or hate it. I nodded and she did too, she nodded and her eyes widened and she drew a smile and then laughed.

“Off with it then!”

She cried. I didn’t know what. Then she pointed to my dress. I shook my head no. There was no way I’m letting go of a D&G dress in the middle of Nice to someone I don’t know. So she shrugged. And then got that smile that I’ve only ever seen smokers get. The smile where they know they’re killing themselves, but don’t give a fuck or what the fuck you think. So she reached behind her back and I saw the arms work. Slowly down the back they traveled. And then the corset fell to the floor exposing her entire top half. She stepped out of it. Then she pulled her lacy tights down to the floor, and smiled. With her tights in her hand, and corset in the other, she stood naked in front of me. I eyed her. She looked the same age as me, but her breasts sagged more, her ass drooped a little more, her face was a little leathery from smoking for decades, but she was there. Victoria didn’t give a fuck what I thought. So I reciprocated. I pulled my dress over my shoulders and stood before her, but I still had my thong on. She smiled, and nodded, and that came off too. I felt no shame for once. If this was with April, May, or June, I would have been devastated. But with Victoria, with this underground party, my slightly sagging breasts and slowly disappearing chin and the double lines I have forming under my ass, didn’t matter. She laced up the corset on me and I slipped into her stockings. The pressure of the corset was increasingly pleasurable as it went tighter. I asked Victoria if that was normal, and she said for some, yes. While she wormed her way into my dress I looked at myself in the mirror. I looked like a leather and lace goddess, one Aphrodite should be wary of. Victoria had finished fitting into my dress. She looked better in it than I did.

I watched her sashay away, envying her. She did look better in that dress. It wasn’t that her breasts were bigger, it was the way she moved. There was a sultriness, a self confidence that I couldn’t mimic. Without a thought she could walk up to a strange man and seduce him. I wanted that power. Staring in the mirror as tramps moved around me I knew I had in in me. If I just had the belief that I could get whomever I wanted, I would get who I wanted. I breathed in and out and it slowly became a reality. The realization flooded over me and swelled my head till I leaned over the sink knowing I had dawned on the truth.

I went out onto the floor looking for Dom. I knew I would get him. If only I could find him. I searched through the floor, looking for him, sometimes waiting for him, then not knowing what to do. So I sat by the bar, distraught. I must have had the look I wanted though. Men would place their hand on my back and ask if I wanted anything. I would say white wine and they would smile and order me one. Dom never showed up. I don’t know where he went. I sighed. That’s all one can do when abandoned. Dom’s never abandoned me.

I went home on the lonesome streets. I felt scared and out of place. Nice no longer welcomed me. It was an imposing horror of shadows and stone. I shrank.

At home, at the B&B, they had wine for us to drink freely. I chose a couple of bottles, some white, some red.

 

Day 7 of 56

I woke up today having fallen asleep on you ms. diary. I’m not sure what time it is or whether I care. It’s 9am, which means I don’t care. What a night. I’m still in my corset and lace. I feel pretty damn sexy in it too, not that it matters to you. I should greet Dom like this. He hasn’t seen me this sexy since ever. Am I still drunk? This feels drunk like. Does it matter? I’m going to see him. And when I see him I’m going tell him I love him. I will. This time. This is the last time. I’m going to tell him I love him.

Day 8

I woke up and went to Dom’s door. I was sure of what I was going to do. I knew it, down to the depths of my soul I knew what should come next.

He opened the door and it began like a tape playing through my head and out my mouth. It wasn’t even open yet, it just had to come out. As the tape played “Dom, I’ve always felt this way, but I only just” the body appeared.

Victoria was at his door.

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