“I’m just tired of falling for them harder than they fall for me,” Indi told me.
“I know exactly how you feel.” I said. “But the reverse isn’t a lot of fun either.”
It was a Saturday night and the AMUSE party was going full-tilt in the Theatre. Although the bar proper was technically open to the public, AMUSE members drifted in and out during the party. They were being very good about dressing “vanilla” enough to keep any passers-by in the dark about what was going on in the back room.
Indi – Indistop on “the website” – had been taking a break, nursing a short glass of Rush River Unforgiven, and sharing her feelings of romantic frustration. I get a lot of that as a bartender.
You’d think the patrons of Floggin’ Brews would be more interested in discussing their kinks, but matters of the heart are what make them want to talk.
Indi was between relationships and unhappy about that. She was attending the party solo, and while she had a lot of friends in the group (and a few play partners), she was alone at the bar. I’d asked about the play session she’d just had, which involved some fire play I hadn’t seen before, and the topic had drifted to her wish for a more regular partner.
“You seem to have a lot of friends,” I observed as I filled up a glass with a cream soda for another patron. “Is there anyone you’re interested in?”
Indi exhaled sharply. She was on the short side, curvy, and somewhere in her thirties. She was known for her quick wit and her penchant for fire play and flogging – though rarely simultaneously. She usually bottomed but would top a few of her good friends if the opportunity presented itself. I didn’t know her former partner, but the grapevine suggested that the sex must have been good because he wasn’t much for conversation. My instincts told me that there were several guys who might be interested in her, and maybe a few women too.
“Well,” she said. “Yes. But he’s not available.”
“Can I ask who?”
Indi shrugged. “I guess I won’t get anywhere by keeping it to myself. Let’s just say I wouldn’t mind getting flogged by Tim.” She nodded toward a hightop, where Tim and his partner Hannah were deep in conversation. I’d seen Tim flogging one of his play partners. He was light on his feet, quick with his wrists, and attentive to his bottoms. I could see the attraction – it was a pleasure just to watch him.
“Have you asked him to play with you?”
“Not yet. I’m thinking about it. But he’s already got Hannah.”
Hannah was Tim’s submissive. She liked bondage and wasn’t fussy about what Tim used: rope, saran wrap, leather straps, shoe laces, and earlier this evening I heard they’d done a scene entirely with men’s ties. They’d been in a D/s relationship for about a year now. Hannah wore Tim’s collar and they had developed their own personal protocol for munches and parties.
“He doesn’t play exclusively with Hannah.” I’d seen him with at least two other women and one guy.
“No. But they’re a couple.” Indi sighed.
“Yes, but he’s had more than one partner in the past.” Tim and Hannah were regulars at the PolyAmorous Munch. “No harm in just asking him to play. And if you’re okay with nonmonogamy, you can give that some thought too.”
Indi bit her lip. “Yeah, he’s poly, isn’t he? I forgot – I guess I just assume everyone’s monogamous until they show up with more than one date. But he’s a dom too – I don’t want a D/s relationship, I’ve had enough of that.”
That made me snort, and remember. I’d been a submissive to a woman I loved out in Portland, until that all blew up. It had been long enough that my feelings had subsided to a dull ache, but it wasn’t something I wanted to repeat.
Not the time to go there. Indi could use a little push.
“You don’t have to have a D/s relationship,” I remarked. Indi looked puzzled. “As Mikhel says, every relationship is a custom job. If you’re interested in Tim, take a chance.”
“In my experience, if you want something, you have to ask for it.” I smiled. “Though you’re welcome to keep sitting here too.”
Indi finished her beer and set the empty glass down. “You know, you’re right. I’ve just been sitting on my ass when I’d rather have it flogged.” She gave me a grin, grabbed her gear bag, and walked over to the table where Tim and Hannah were sitting.
You go, girl.
I had a few other guests who needed some attention. When I next looked over, Tim and Indi were headed for the Theatre, and Hannah had joined a table with some friends.
“What did you tell Indi?” Mikhel asked as he filled a glass with Spotted Cow.
“Oh, you saw that?” Of course he did, he seems to notice everything. “I just told her she has to use her words to get what she wants.”
Hannah came to the bar a bit later for a Crispin Pacific Pear Cider. As I was ringing up her order, she asked if I knew Indi. “Not well,” I admitted. “Just what I’ve seen here.”
Hannah nodded. “I like her,” she said. “But I haven’t always been the best judge of character.”
I put the screen in front of her to sign. “Indi seems pretty up-front. I suspect what you see is what you get.”
“Good to hear.” Hannah signed with a scrawl of her finger. “I’d be really happy if Tim could find someone else to flog.”
“Oh?” My eyebrows went up at that.
“Yeah. I’ve tried to like it but I don’t. And it’s something he really likes to do.”
“I hope things work out then.”
“Thanks!” Hannah took her cider and headed back to her friends.
Later, Tim and Indi came back to the bar arm in arm and rejoined Hannah. The three of them had a final drink (cream soda and two root beers) before going their separate ways.
“Nice work with Indi,” Mikel commented as we tidied up the bar after the party.
“Not sure I did much. Maybe a slight push.”
“No, you normalized what she wants.”
“What do you mean?”
Mikhel paused. “You pointed out that both Indi and Tim could ethically have more than one partner, and more than one type of relationship. And that when you want something, you should be able to ask for it without being afraid of the answer.”
“I didn’t realize you were listening.”
“Oh, voices carry. You wouldn’t believe half the stuff I hear.”
“What do you mean by that?” But he had already headed back to the Theater to clean up.
Not sure if I need to speak softer or listen harder. Maybe both.