I walk into the supermarket a step behind Jim, taking in the bustle and chaos of a Saturday afternoon, accepting it as a given, not fighting it the way so many of the shoppers are, their faces tight with frustration as they try to push overloaded carts.
We're here to get the food that will fill our bellies this week, nourish our bodies; that's something to approach with a positive attitude. We'll be making ecologically sound choices -- I've persuaded Jim it's the way to go, and really, at heart, shopping local and organic is natural to a sentinel; I didn’t have to push him too hard, thank God.
I don't like doing that. I will if I need to, but it changes too much between us. Jim's irritable and unsettled for hours, even days, afterwards, and it's a case of picking my battles carefully.
Jim hesitates at the carts, choosing one carefully, with an eye to squeaky wheels or worse, one that will jam, bringing forward progress to a stuttering halt. When he's satisfied with one, he pushes it into a clear space and I place my hands on the bar, precisely, exactly, four inches from the center point. Jim glances at my hands and gives the smallest of nods and we begin to shop.
The vegetable section is tricky; people don't just walk up and down it; they circle, back-track, dither. Keeping the body of the cart level with Jim's right hand, so that anything he picks up can be dropped into the cart without effort, without looking, isn't easy.
An avocado, two days from ripeness, misses and falls to the floor when I'm trying to get past a couple squabbling over Bosc or Anjou pears, their cart angled across the width of the aisle, and I hiss out a breath, annoyed at them, at myself, even, for a rebellious moment, at Jim, because this is too hard, I can't do it, it's just --
"Easy, Chief," Jim says quietly, his voice calming me. I meet his eyes and see, not disappointment, but kindness, understanding. He bends to pick up the avocado, tosses it in his hand and then shrugs and places it in the cart. The floor isn't that clean, painted gritty by a thousand soles, but Jim's pragmatic; we won't be eating the skin, after all, and it will be washed when we get home anyway.
"One," he adds casually as he turns away to examine the lemons.
He understands, but that changes nothing. I wouldn't want it to.
Jim walks through the heaped produce on display, back straight, eyes serene, choosing the best, the freshest, the sweetest of what's on offer. He doesn't ask my preferences when it comes to the variety of apple or lettuce or plum tomatoes versus vine-ripened. He knows what I like and if it doesn't match his own choice, I have to hope that he's feeling indulgent.
I remember a Rainier apple he bought me once, a single apple, sitting in the cart alongside the bag of tart (tasteless, if you asked me, which he didn't) Granny Smith apples he'd chosen. That evening, he sectioned it with a knife, the slow, clean snick of the blade as it parted the peel, slid through the flesh, met the wood of the chopping block reaching my ears as three separate sounds.
He fed it to me, piece by piece, slowly, so slowly, and I licked his fingers afterwards, sucking the last of the thin, sticky juice from them while he watched the news, his attention divided between the latest political scandal and my appreciation of his treat. He took the blindfold off me when the sports came on.
It takes us ninety minutes to shop, check out, and load what Jim's bought into the truck. The count's up to four -- it's really busy in there -- and the ache of need that flared to life when we walked in, fuelled by anticipation, is now a banked flame, warming me. Just the Saturday shop -- but like everything about my life with Jim, it's part of our relationship. I don't do anything, apart from teach, that isn't done the way Jim likes it. He's fussy at times, sometimes too much, so that what should support me constricts and stifles, but he's willing to listen when I tell him that, even if he doesn’t always stop. It's amazing how often a rule that chafes me can become as welcome as the clasp of his hand on the back of my neck once we've discussed why it's there.
Jim's pleased with me today, I can tell. I walked with my head high, my steps measured and I didn't slouch, not even when he took fucking forever to decide which steak he wanted. The spanking I received after breakfast, fast and hard, Jim's breath controlled, his hand merciless as I wailed, tasting toothpaste and tears, was the perfect start to the day. I can feel the burn across my ass as if his hand's still on it.
And when I've taken the cart to one of the bays in the parking lot, I turn, maybe faster than he's expecting, and he's standing by the truck, keys in his hand, and he's watching me, smiling. God, his face…no one's ever looked at me like that before. Like I hung the sun, made the stars shine…
I'm supposed to walk back to him, my gaze lowered, but I can't help it; I run, never taking my eyes off his smiling, loving face, jog up to him and feel his hand ghost across my ass as he murmurs, "Another three for that and I hope it was worth it, Blair."
I give him a grin, not even trying to look regretful or apologetic, and then lower my eyes because there's an impulsive moment and then there's studied disobedience and guess which one gets me the kind of punishment that I don't enjoy? "Totally."
"Brat," he says fondly, and tousles my hair. "Let's go home."
I can't wait -- but I will. Jim never delivers the strokes I've earned until the food's been unpacked and put away, just exactly the way he likes it.
Seven on top of my already toasted ass…I shiver as I fasten my seat belt, and Jim chuckles. "Want to stop for lunch on the way back?"
No. Not at all. That's the last fucking thing I want to do with my dick hard and a hundred dollars worth of groceries sitting behind us. I take a deep breath to tell him that and then pause and reconsider."Whatever you want to do, Jim. You're in charge."
"Yeah," he said thoughtfully. "I am. Lunch is on you, I think."
Turns out that he means that literally, so I don't complain.
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