Damn. Sex is Fun.

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* Click * goes the shutter. * Click * * Click * * Click *

I occasionally check the preview screen on the dSLR.

* Click * * Click *

"Now slide the shirt up a little," I say.

"Like this?"

"Yeah, but lean forward a little and stick your ass out."

We both laugh.

* Click * * Click * * Click *

We are not taking family photos. The curtains are drawn, our door is closed, and our child sleeps peacefully at the other end of the house. We are having a blast.

* Click * * Click *

#####################################

Over the first five years of our marriage, we would occasionally put my amateur photography hobby to use in livening up our private time together. A few pinup shots here or there, and often several months or more would pass before the camera would come out again. We had always been a sex positive couple, and it was just one more thing we would try to keep things interesting.

Then we discovered Reddit.

For the unfamiliar, Reddit is a linking and commenting site that in many ways represents what everything2 might have become if it had taken a different course several years ago. It is populated by sub-Reddits (think forums) dedicated to specific topics. One of the (seemingly endless) memes on the site is that if you can think of it, a sub-Reddit exists for it. Most of these are text based, as the only images that appear on the site are thumbnails. So one could visit "/r/books" to discuss all things bibliophilic.

However, some sub-Reddits are dedicated to image links. For instance, the sub-Reddit "/r/wallpapers" might only contain links to high-resolution images hosted on other sites that people use as desktop wallpapers. At some point, inspired by the preponderance of camera phones and youthful vanity, someone created a sub-Reddit called "/r/gonewild". Anyone who has ever seen late-night commercials can probably make an educated guess at what types of photos can be found there. To say that it became popular would be like saying Butterfinger Mcflurry generated mild discussion on e2. Gonewild (often abbreviated on Reddit as GW) is huge. Its popularity has spawned innumerable sub-Reddits, each catering to self-made home photos in specific themes. Are you a true shutterbug? Then probably ArtGW would interest you. Like Star Wars or Dr. Who, except with more nudity? You should try GWNerdy.

Last winter, while playing with my wife's phone, I included gonewild in her Reddit app as a default sub-Reddit as a joke. Much to my surprise, the following day she walked into my office and declared that she wanted to be posted on GW. My wife is very attractive, but incredibly shy. She is so shy, in fact, that she refuses to wear shorts in public. Knowing this, I was definitely stunned at her desire to appear naked on the Internet.

Posting revealing photos on the Internet is an entire discussion in itself, but we put something together that did not show her face and followed a more 1950s pinup style. Watching her read messages and responses to the pictures, I realized that this was a way for her to feel better about her body without wearing a bikini to the public pool. Despite me telling her on a daily basis how nice she looked, deep-seated reservations about her body still lingered from her formative years.

Over the following months we would often think of a fun idea for an album to post on one of the GW sub-Reddits. During holidays we would do themed shots for the banner that appears at the top of the website. It became our secret, and as friends would discuss seeing something on Reddit we could share a knowing smile together while the others talked.

#####################################

* Click * * Click *

The clothes are completely off now. We are laughing, and occasionally I will lean over and show her one that came out particularly well.

"Why don't you put the camera down?"

And of course I do....

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7

“I don’t want to leave you,” she says, and she is crying. She’s crying as if she will never stop.

Part of me wants to scream at her “Then don’t! Stay here with me!” but it’s one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, a three year transfer overseas to work on marketing for a new product. Very prestigious, very high profile. It’ll make her career, and we both know it.

I hold her close and tight, and wipe her tears away. I kiss her, over and over again, telling her I know, and I love her, I’ll always love her.

“You can’t throw a chance like this away, Honey,” I say. “I’d never forgive myself if you did.”

And so, it’s decided. She’ll be leaving in six weeks.

The first two weeks we go through a period of desperate, all-the-time, every-time-the-last-time, love-making, like we’re storing up every memory we possibly can. We both cry a lot, but we don’t talk about what happens after she has gone.

At the beginning of the third week while we’re eating dinner, she says, “Will you promise me two things please?”

“What?”

“First, that you’ll get a roommate when I’ve gone – a real one. I don’t want to think of you alone here, slipping into depression.”

I try to tell her I’ll be alright, that it isn’t like when Daniel went, that I know she isn’t running away from me, but going to do something she really wants to do. But she’s insistent. She’s so insistent, that I end up calling the paper and putting an ad in for a roommate, right away.

“What’s the other promise?” I ask. It’s hours later, we’re in bed. I’d forgotten about it in the fuss over the roommate, but as we lie here, close, after, I remember.

“Wha…?” she asks sleepily.

“The other promise. You said you wanted me to make two promises.”

“Oh. Yes. That.” She seems reluctant to say anything.

“Rachel?”

She sits up against the pillows, looking down into my face.

“When you find someone else – no, hush, don’t be silly, of course you’ll find someone else eventually, we both will – please, make it a man.”

What?!!!

“Bel, The only reason I can bring myself to go is that I can see that you and I can’t go on forever. I know how much you want kids, and I think that if I stayed you’d end up leaving me sometime, to have them. I’d rather do our growing apart apart, if you see what I mean.”

I nod, seriously.

“If you were to fall in love with another woman, if I found out I was wrong…. it would break my heart.”

I grab hold of her and pull her to me. We’re both crying again. We cling on to each other like we are lost at sea.

Sometime later she says, “If you’d already had kids with Daniel, I wouldn’t be going now you know. They could stuff the job.”

The next few weeks pass in a flurry of activity. There is Rachel’s packing to do, and interviewing for a roommate. I find one, eventually – Tim, a nineteen-year-old Asian student at the university, with a girlfriend who looks like a little Japanese doll, and a father who pays the first six months rent in advance. He seems to have a great sense of humour and we laugh at the same things.

And there are always the nights, when we lose our pain in each other.

And now, at last, it’s time for her to go. Her bags are in the car, and the movers took the rest of her stuff yesterday. She’s travelling Business Class, the company are paying, so she can check in at the last minute. A relief, as neither of us wanted to spend hours hanging around the airport.

“I’ve got something for you,” I say “But only if you promise not to cry.”

She smiles and nods and I give her the small parcel.

She opens it and reads the inscription on the inside of the wide gold band. For my Rachel, Love you forever, Bel.. I pretend not to see the tears, as she clasps it round her wrist. Then she smiles, reaches into her bag and hands me a square, wrapped package. “Great minds think alike,” she murmurs.

It’s a framed photograph. I remember when we took it, over the Christmas holiday. We had to take several, using the timer – we were laughing so hard. It’s us, on the beach, arms round each other’s waists, the wind whipping our hair around, laughing, happy. Obviously in love.

“You aren’t allowed to cry either,” she warns.

I sniff a little and smile.

“Come on, let’s get you to that plane.”

We drive, in silence, scared to say anything in case it breaks our careful composure.

At the airport, we check in her bags, and I walk her to customs.

Call me,” I say. “As soon as you get there.”

She nods, turns to go. Starts to walk away. I can’t just let her go like that.

“Rachel!”

She turns back to me.

“Don’t I get a kiss goodbye?”

And, for the first and last time, I kiss her in public, properly, a long, lovers kiss. I hold her tight, and fuck what anyone watching will think. She’s leaving, and I’m not letting her go without one last kiss.

“I love you,” I whisper in her ear. “I’ll never forget you.”

She’s crying again. I wipe the tears away and smile shakily. “Go on then,” I say, “you’ve got a plane to catch.”

She mouths “I love you” at me, and waves as she goes through the gate.

And she’s gone.

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7

The tree looks wonderful. Rachel has decorated it with strings of lammeter draped everywhere like a sparkling silver waterfall, and iridescent glass balls that are almost transparent, but with a rainbow sheen. There are lights too, but she has somehow managed to arrange them so they look understated, rather than tacky.

At first we had said we wouldn't do anything special, since neither of us is religious. We were going to just kick back and revel in ten days together away from work. But we both have such bleak memories of last year -- her of endless family arguments, and me of being alone and miserable while everyone around me seemed to be happy, that we changed our minds. The decorations came out, and we went wild.

Rachel has even made up bunches of mistletoe from fake pearls and green material, working from a book. It looks incredibly realistic and she has dotted it around the house, including a huge wreath over the bed. It's not as if we need an excuse to kiss, but somehow the silliness of it all has caught us up.

I can hardly believe we've been together for nearly a year now.

Everything about my life has changed, not only from the time when I was alone, but even from when Daniel was still here. I’m happy, confident, and I know I’m loved.

I laugh, often.

We argue, of course, what couple doesn't? Somehow though, we manage to have rows that talk about what we do that annoys the other one, rather than making it about who we are, so we don't cut at each other and make each other feel small.

Everything would be perfect -- if Rachel was a man.

It's not really the gay thing anymore. I'm not 'out' at work, but that's about the people I work with -- Rachel describes them as "The most narrow-minded lot of dickheads I've ever met." I've accepted my bi-sexuality, and we've found places we can go where I can be comfortable with her touching me, although I still can't bring myself to kiss her in public.

It's...

It's plans. I want a family, I've always wanted a family.

It's the way, when we're out somewhere, Rachel looks at the girls, and I look at the guys.

It's the feeling we both have that this can't be permanent.

I love her, and I can't imagine ever not loving her. I want her, with every fibre of my being, and the idea that that could stop is inconceivable.

But I can't imagine us spending forever together.

I wouldn't be thinking about this right now, if yesterday I hadn't got an early "Christmas present". My divorce is final. I'm free. I haven't told her yet.

She is cooking breakfast, and singing carols -- out of tune. She's lovely, and happy, and sexy as hell. She's also standing right under one of those stupid mistletoe bunches, so I go, turn her, point up, and kiss her. She laughs delightedly and kisses me right back.

It's Christmas, it's a time to celebrate, not to worry.

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7

I look at where Rachel stands, the centre of attention, in her silk shirt, her short-but-not-too-short leather skirt, her black stockings and her “fuck-me” pumps. She is flirting with Richard, my boss, and he is obviously captivated.

Hot tears sting my eyes, but I can’t show them. I walk to the drinks, where Richard’s wife Susan is standing, stiff, and clearly angry.

“She’s very vivacious, your roommate, isn’t she? I wouldn’t have thought she had much in common with a quiet girl like you.” Susan says coldly.

If I could tell Susan, tell everyone, I could put a stop to this. If I could just screw up the courage to say “She’s my lover, not my room-mate.” That’s what all this is about after all, the sexy get-up, the flirting, she is punishing me for denying her.

“Bel,” Rachel calls out, “my choker has come loose. Be a love and tie it for me again.” There is no way I can refuse gracefully, and she knows it.

I go over and stand behind her, and she uses both hands to lift her heavy mane of mahogany-coloured hair out of the way. I hear Richard stifle a groan and mutter “Tease” at her, as I pick at the hopelessly knotted ribbon.

In my mind I can see what he sees, and can only agree with him. With her arms up and back like that her sheer white shirt will be pulled tight – stretched across the fullness of her breasts. I know she’s getting a kick out of doing this to me, and I’m sure that not only is she aroused, but that the fact will be absolutely obvious. I can picture the fabric clinging to those curves, see the sharp jutting points, and it takes all my willpower not to whimper my desire.

She smells like a summer garden, roses and freesias and camellias, and she makes my senses swim.

I bite down on my lower lip, trying to wipe the image from my mind, and finally, after what seems like an age, I get the choker retied and go to move back to where I was before. She stops me, with a hand on my wrist.

She warned me that she would do this if I didn’t make the situation clear. She stormed and wept and said that I was ashamed of her. She told me that if I didn’t “claim” her she would make me sorry. I want to, I really do, but I can’t face the knowing looks, the sleazy comments, the nodding gossip about “Oh, so that’s why Daniel left her.” It’s not. Until I met Rachel, I didn’t even know I was bi.

“You’re an angel,” she declares loudly, for the room to hear, brushing her scarlet lips across my cheek, and whispering for my ears alone, “Are you aching yet, baby? I hope so.”

I walk back to Susan, and pour myself a large vodka.

“Rachel’s an outrageous flirt,” I say, “but she has her good points.”

Her bright hair spread on the pillow in the morning. The way she holds me. Her gentleness. How she gave me back myself when Daniel had convinced me that I was useless, worthless, boring and undesirable. The fact she loves me. Even her behaviour tonight I deserve, all she wants is for me to love her back, openly.

Susan looks doubtful. As Richard laughs again I see pain flit across her face. I have to say something to reassure her.

“Look Sue, if it’s any consolation, Rachel really isn’t interested in Richard, she’s just playing. She has someone of her own.”

“Really? I’ve never heard about him”

Tell her!

I blush, and reply “Her lover has their reasons for not wanting it to be open.”

“Oh, I see.” She is all disapproval again.

No, you don’t see. You really don’t. Gods, I wish I wasn’t such a coward.

As I go to lift the glass to my lips, Rachel calls out to me again. “Don’t drink that please Belinda.”

I look at her. She comes over to me, smiles at Susan. “I had a long day at work, I’m tired, and I’d like to go home, if you’re ready. And, in case you’ve forgotten, you’re driving.”

I nod, and we say our goodbyes.

As we walk to the car, she looks at me.

“I wanted to hurt you more than that, you know, but I just couldn’t. You looked so lost, standing there with Susan, I just wanted to kiss you and make it better.”

Forgive me?” I ask, reaching for her hand, lifting it to my lips, and kissing it.

She shakes her head.

“No,” she says, “but I love you.”

I don’t deserve her.

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7

Rachel lies back on the pillows, her hair spread out like a halo around her head. I lean on my elbow above her and bring my other hand down to caress her breast.

Her breasts are a constant source of wonder to me, how they are so full and rounded against the slimness of the rest of her, their graduation from creamy whiteness to the deep rose pink of the nipple, and the way the nipple itself crinkles and hardens to my touch.

"Bel..." she murmurs.

But I don't want to talk. I drop my head and kiss and lick the nipple that I've been teasing into my mouth. She arches, strokes my head, gives a little mewling sound, and words cease.

She has a whole range of sounds when we make love, all incoherent and wordless, and now, after four weeks, I think I know them all; from the tiny whimpering she makes at the first sign of arousal, through sharp gasps, and shuddering sighs, to her keening cry of ecstasy and release.

As my hand slides smoothly over her skin, tracing the tapering of her waist and the flare of her hip, her legs part slightly and she shifts a little, lifting her hips from the bed. It's obvious what she wants, and I am only too happy to oblige, slipping my fingers easily into the moist heat of her.

She has shown me where and how to touch her, and my fingers unerringly find the spot, flickering over it, gently at first, but soon I press and rub harder, loving the way she moves under my hands, first just squirming but eventually thrashing around wildly, and I love the way the sounds she make build to the same crescendo as her movements. I keep her at a peak a few moments longer than I should, just to watch her and listen to her, just because I can, before letting her down gently.

As I say, she has been here for four weeks.

Sometimes we go out, walk on the beach, watch the sunset, eat at a quiet restaurant or drink at a bar. But mostly we stay in and fuck.

This is partly just the euphoria of a new relationship, partly because we don't seem able to get enough of each other yet, but it's more than that.

Rachel is demonstrative. She likes to touch me. Most of the time, she isn';t even aware she is doing it -- reaching out for me, brushing a stray lock of hair back behind my ear, running a finger along my arm, or laying her hand on mine. At home, I like it -- more than like it. The tender touches that were so lacking in my marriage delight me. But, when we are out, I suffer agonies of embarrassment.

We will be in a bar, perhaps, and she will catch my hand, stroking over the back of the fingers with her thumb. Some guy will be there with his mates, nudge one of them, point and whisper a comment. There will be a laugh, a buzz of chat, and I know they are picturing us naked and writhing. Occasionally, if we have to pass them on the way out, there will be a low sexual groan, or a salacious comment, and it's as if what we have together has stopped being beautiful and become porn. I blush, every time, but Rachel doesn't. Maybe she is used to it.

I never take her anywhere I might see someone I know. I'm not ready to be 'out'. When she touches me in public, it is all I can do not to flinch or snatch my hand away. I don't do it, but she senses the impulse. She makes a real effort to stifle her affection. It makes both of us slightly tense.

So generally, we just stay in like this.

I gather her against me and kiss her, holding her close. She lies with her head nestled into my shoulder, one arm and one leg across my body, and kisses my collar-bone.

"Bel" she says again, her voice hesitant.

"Uh-huh?" I stroke her face.

"I'm taking the day off tomorrow. I really have to find somewhere permanent to live."

I stiffen.

"Why? Is there a problem being here? What's the rush?" Don't you want to be with me? I think.

"I've been here for a month, love. You barely see your friends. When they call, you say you 'have a friend staying' and can't go out."

"I don't want to go out with them. I'd much rather be here with you."

"I know, but you can't put your life on hold forever. I think it would be better if I found a place of my own."

My hands tighten on her. I want to cry.

"Rachel, I don't want you to leave. I don't want to go back to living alone. Knowing you're here is what gets me through the day sometimes. Please, don't go." Don't leave me. Please, don't leave me.

"Then let me stop being a guest. Let me unpack my stuff, pay rent and bills. I haven't bought anything since I got here, other than a few groceries, and I'm pretty sure I get paid more than you do."

I'm ready to do almost anything to keep her with me. I nod emphatically. "I don't care what you pay, or what you don't," I say, "but if it will make you happier, we’ll sort out a split."

"We can say you are my roommate," I go on, without thinking.

So stupid. That isn't what she wants at all, I know. I've hurt her. I wish I could unsay it, but I can't, and anyway, it's the explanation I'll give to people, I just shouldn't have said it so quite so baldly, and I certainly shouldn't have said it right now. It didn't need to be said.

She'll say no, she'll go.

But she doesn't.

She sags, defeated, against me. "If that's what you want."

I turn up her head, my hand under her chin and kiss her as deeply and passionately as I can. I want her to know how much she means to me.

Her eyes are bright with unshed tears. She blinks them away.

"I love you Bel, you know that, don't you?" she says, "I'm not sure I could leave, not really."

Thank all the gods!

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7