Chapter 4: The Pop Rocks and Coca-Cola Fish - Part 3

“So, how was it?” Stacey asks the next day as she, Mary and I meet for dinner.

“Ok,” I say while trying to hold together my stuffed hamburger.

“Only ok?” Sally asks almost disappointedly. “Most stories about Harrison Allard wouldn't suggest ‘ok’.”

“Alright, so it was amazing.” I give up on my hamburger and lean into the table.  “It went on so long; we changed positions more than a politician running for office. It was like a tantric marathon, an exercise in Kama Sutran coital endurance.”  The older couple at the table next to us startle and turn away, apparently having been listening.

“You sound like you're competing with Jane now,” Mary laughs.
Over the next weeks, Harrison and I get together and have sex of some kind or another.  It’s like he’s trying to see how many times and how many positions and how many different places we can do it. The whole adventure is exciting and I never suggest we try to find something else to do or offer up places I'd like to try.  We work our way through all of the rooms in his house, his convertible, my VW Bug, Ostiningo Park during the hot air balloon festival, and the ugly green carpet on my living room floor.  The newer and more varied the setting the better.   Even the multiple daily phone calls include spontaneous sex talk.

“So what're you doing today?” I doodle a little cartoon of people kissing in the margin of my notes about Endicott Johnson Shoes.

“Working on getting this novel revised.  You?”

“Trying to focus on the research for the latest Beetle request.”

“I wish I had your gorgeous breast in my mouth right now.”

I give up focusing on anything.

Harrison’s controlling nature creates a competition between us. I bring a vibrating cock-ring into the mix and use it with my tongue to make him come more quickly than his ability to hold out for what seems a whole 20 minutes. When between my legs, he insists on holding on and urgently flicking his tongue to keep me crying out even after I try to push him away to catch my breath.I bring in naughty positions dice; he brings in Expert Roles Playing Cards. We start regularly to go through the on-line sex shop websites, but after a while our individual needs to win begin to overshadow the fun.
My friends all begin to weigh in on the relationship and its changing emphasis. Unsurprisingly Jane’s expertise and general enthusiasm for new sexual experiences makes her my friend with the most supportive responses.

Jane and I have stopped at a coffee shop that’s exactly halfway on our walk. I distractedly stir my latte. “I don't know what to think. The sex is great, but it seems like Harrison is trying to find my limits.”

“That sounds kind of fun.I mean, it definitely keeps things from getting stale.I’m up to 69 guys and the options are getting a little repetitive,” Jane says while breaking off a corner of her chocolate chip bar.“Wow, these are great! Do you want some?”

“No,” I return to what’s been on my mind, “It seems like we should subscribe to the Babes in Toyland website because we spend so much time on it.His latest suggestion is getting the ‘Please Sir Flogger’ and ‘Soft Limits Deluxe Wrist Ties.’”

“Are you trying to tell me you haven't tried the restraint experience OR being spanked? You definitely are missing out on something.”

Ah yes, the “Bad Camel” episode. “No. I love what we do, but S&M doesn't excite me. It feels unreasonably submissive. Just the thought of it turns me off. Besides, I just don't understand the current popularity of men dominating women in bed, especially since that trend seems to romanticize rape.”

Jane ignores my last statement. “Have you considered that Harrison might have wanted those playthings for himself? That he wants you to be the dominant one?”

“No. I can't imagine him wanting to let me have the upper hand. He never seems to let go of controlling what we are doing.”

“I still say you're missing out on something. To help keep the sex-research fresh, I've recently become an online sex-dominatrix and it’s a real high.” Jane puts the last of the chocolate chip bar into her mouth and smiles.
While Jane promotes this friends-with-benefits relationship, Mary and Stacey are less excited.

“I don't think this can go anywhere good,” Mary points out as the three of us sit on her back deck one evening after work.  “A relationship that starts and doesn't move beyond sex is falsely one-dimensional.  I know you; I bet it'll get really difficult for you to stay emotionally uninvolved.”

“But Harrison has set the boundaries really well. It’s just a ‘fuck buddy’ kind of thing.” I think about his latest assertion that we need to stay flexible.  I had thought he meant in terms of our physical actions but I found out he meant in terms of commitment. “Sometimes he even goes out with someone else."

“Think about that, Jackie,” Stacey chimes in.  “What does this all give you?”

“Well, really good sex, for one,” I point out.  Both women groan a little and shake their heads.

“Just be careful,” Mary says as we all sit back while the tree frogs sing in Mary and Donald’s backyard woods.
After a while, Harrison and my competitions are finding their way into the general intercourse of our lives.We argue about our different strengths both in and out of the bedroom. His writing production is more important than mine. My ability to maintain a long relationship is preferable to his. His fame is significantly greater than mine, a fact he often uses to tell me how and what I am doing wrong with my own writing choices.

As that dynamic increases, our adventures into the wild and unusual settings diminish. Anymore the place we end up is an inexpensive room in the local Comfort Suites or Days Inn. Most times the critiques come as we lay side-by-side on a bed.

“What about taking a bike ride through the nature reserve behind the University sometime?” I turn on my side and reach over to stroke his chest.  “I haven't ridden a bike in a while, but one doesn't forget, right? I'll make a picnic lunch and we can ‘make an afternoon of it.’”
“Well,I'm not sure we could really ride together. I usually ride at a speed of 12 to 15 miles per hour.” Harrison rolls over to the other side and gets out of bed to get dressed.

Since when is a casual bike ride through a nature reserve a race?  And since when does he turn down a chance to “make an afternoon of it” - our personal code-phrase for sex?

I decide to see if I can ride a 15 minute mile per hour pace.  I call David about an offer he made when we talked about Harrison’s biking. “Hey, is your offer to borrow that extra bike you two have still good?"

“Sure,” I hear Sophie bark twice in the background and know this means they're getting ready to take a walk.  “If you want to borrow it today, I can bring it by in a few minutes."

Soon David rides up on a too-short road bike, his knees bending high and Sophie running along beside as happy as can be.

I'm on my front stoop waiting. “This is great! Thanks!"

“No problem.  It’s just sitting in the garage; I did think to fill the tires for you too. No hurry getting it back either.” He gets off the bike and Sophie winds herself around David’s legs. “Sophie!  Stop!” the two of them get into a bit of a twisting match trying to get untangled.

“I'll probably have it back to you this evening, and from the looks of things, you both might still be here when I return!"

“Ha ha, funny lady,” David finally successfully unravels himself. “There! Come on, Sophie girl.” The two of them head off down the hill waving hand and tail.

I feel pretty confident I can do this since I've been working out on the spinning bike at the gym.  As it turns out, I am able to do 15 miles in an hour, but as I ride home with the shadows and smells of the woods giving way to the hazy sunlight of the streets, I know that while I can do 15 miles in one hour, I can't keep up that pace for more than one hour. I breathe heavily and slowly ride back up the hill to my place, all the while cursing my need to prove myself to Harrison.

The next time we get together, I tell Harrison about my success just to show that I'm up to his standards. I don’t mention that I had to soak in my tub afterwards.

“Ah, that’s great.” Harrison distractingly says as he sits on the side of the bed half naked and taking his shoes off.  He steps out his boxers and reaches over to me. “Here, let’s take a different kind of ride.”

Quickly he’s turning me over and running his tongue along my spine, between my legs – stopping to make me begin to squirm – then turns me over and runs his tongue up my stomach to my breasts.  We don't talk about taking a bike ride again.
And yet on days when we don't spar for supremacy, we talk about profound inner feelings.  He tells me secrets that he says he’s told no one else, and I start to believe I’m wanted for something more than just sex and sparring.  I rationalize that I'm his equal and really not giving in to his controlling personality, a rationalization that comes in part because I increasingly want a more committed relationship. Mary and Stacey have proven right about my inability to keep from becoming emotionally involved. I’m falling for him even with the contests and I've completely forgotten that conversation the first morning-after in his kitchen.

Harrison seems to be more than satisfied with the friends-with-benefits relationship, and when I stop to consider our relationship, I can see why.  He has it all but it's not without my participation. I try to focus on Jane’s ability to stay detached and just enjoy the experience. I’m discovering barriers around my sexual comfort zone, though, particularly with Harrison’s increasing comments that he wants to try to include someone else. So far I've said no, but I can't help but get anxious and jealous when Harrison goes out on a “commitment buster” date. 
Then Harrison’s new book comes out and Harrison’s publicist suggests it'd be good for him to go out on a book tour.

“Do you want to come?” Harrison asks the next evening on the phone. “It might be fun seeing if we can come up with as many new positions as states we go through.”

“That sounds great,” I sigh, “but I can’t.  You know I have to work on this series of columns about the food industry for the Better Foods Better Life e-zine, and I won't get anything done if I'm chalking up sex positions.”

“Well, ok.  I'll call you in a day or two.” Harrison’s tone has gone from inviting to distracted again. “I have to get a lot in order since it’ll be at least a month that I’m gone.”

He didn't call until just before he was taking off.

“Hey Jackie!  I’m at the airport and I have to board in a few minutes, but I thought I’d call to say good-bye.” I had missed his call and as I listen to the voicemail message, I realize the relationship is turning a corner into something else again. “Sorry I missed you – and I will definitely miss you while I travel – but I'll try to call when I can.”

I go back to my writing; it’s unusual that he even bothered to call, but I don’t have much time to worry about this change.

While Harrison is on his tour, we talk every day and I forget again the little inner signals of warning that have gone off at different times during the past few weeks, especially since it feels like maybe I'm getting the relationship I want.  Since he’s busy being wined and dined and giving readings and attending book signings, when we talk it’s usually short conversations with only a bit of the usual sexual references.  It makes sense that his schedule interferes with the fun chatting. I send off the essays to the e-zine and start another couple contracts for some catalog work as well as focus on the next installment of the Tri-Cities area history for the River Times. I'm as active as he is.  The fact that I note my productiveness says the eternal competition about whose writing is most important hasn’t disappeared.

Posted by Jackie Connolly

Chapter 4, Part 4

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