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Strong Enough to Be (The 'Not Your Man' Remix)

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You wear the dress.

You could say no, could safeword, but then you'd have to tell Rodney something, make up some excuse, and in the end it's just easier to wear it.

The waxing should have been a clue, but hindsight is twenty-twenty. At the time you'd just been happy to be rid of the hair, weird as it was to have some woman doing it. You've shaved your legs before, of course, and even your chest once or twice, but not in years. Not since before Nancy.

And waxing is nothing like shaving anyway. When you step into the dress, there are no nicks or missed patches for the fabric to catch on. You already have the panties on, fancier than anything you've worn before, just a bit of lace that barely holds your junk in place. Rodney didn't leave a bra, just panties, shoes, and dress. That's fine with you. Wearing a bra only ever makes it worse.

There was lipstick and eyeliner in the now-empty bag on the bed (it's not like Rodney knows about your stash), but no wig or anything, so you're pretty sure Rodney doesn't want you pretending to be a woman.

That's fine with you, too. You're not very good at being a woman, but you've got forty years' experience pretending to be a guy.

You try not to look at anything but your face in the mirror when you do your lips and eyes, but you keep catching glimpses. The dress feels so good, but when you see yourself, it's just as wrong as the clothes you stole from your mom and Nancy and Goodwill, the ones you bought online and the ones you nervously took up to the cashier, pretending they were gifts for girlfriends you didn't have.

You get away from the mirror as fast as you can, get out the condoms and lube and everything he asked for, and sit down on the edge of the bed to put on the shoes. They're red to match the dress and the heels are a little higher than anything you would have picked out, but you won't be walking around much anyway. It's not like the two of you can go out anywhere with you dressed like this. You flop back on the bed, turn your head to look at the clock. Rodney should be back soon.

You can do this. It won't be that bad.

You only get up when you hear the key in the lock. You wobble a little, smooth the dress down over your hips and wince at the bulge you can't smooth away.

"John?" Rodney calls from the living room, and your voice is a little too high when you say, "In here."

He comes to a dead stop when he sees you and neither of you says anything. He is disappointed, you're sure, but you can't make yourself look up. You fiddle with your dress instead and finally he says, "Straighten up," and you do.

You clench your fists, look him in the eye, and it's clear he's far from disappointed, but he doesn't see you.

"God," he says. "Look at yourself."

You force a smile. "I did."

He crosses the room, puts his hands on your hips and pulls you close. He kisses your neck, hands sliding around to rest on your ass. "God, John." His voice is rough and you wish he wouldn't say that name, but you just wrap your arms around his waist and grind against him. He laughs, his breath warm against your skin, and says, "Slut."

You can feel him getting hard, can see his erection when he pulls back and says, "Knees and elbows on the bed now. Keep the shoes on."

You arrange yourself on the bed, legs spread as wide as you can in this dress, feet hanging off the edge. He gives you a smack with his hand first--hard, but not anywhere near hard enough--then picks up the paddle. The flimsy panties and thin fabric of the dress shouldn't be enough to dull the blows, but they do. Rodney's not holding back and it's not that it doesn't hurt, but it just feels wrong.

You clench your fists in the blankets and grit out a please.

"Please what?"

"Please...I need." The paddle comes down again and you moan. "It's not enough."

He sets down the paddle, slides his hands up your smooth legs, and pushes the dress up over your ass. You know your skin must be pink. You like the way it looks in your head, the way you look, but then the panties catch on your erection when he tries to tug them down and you can't get the image back after that. His hands feel good, though, cool and rough, and he squeezes your asscheeks, digging his nails in hard enough to leave marks.

You bite your lip, but once he starts in with the tawse, it gets harder and harder to keep quiet. Each blow chips away at your shell until you're yelling and begging and there is nothing but the bright pain.

You are vaguely aware of him dropping the tawse, of his lips and tongue on your skin. You are loose-limbed and pliant when he fucks you and even the feel of his hand isn't enough to bring you down from where you are. He says come for me and you do, shuddering under him.

You lie there afterwards, Rodney dozing next to you. Now that it's all over, you are all too aware of your body, of what Rodney wants. Who Rodney wants. You sit up and unbuckle your shoes, set them down on the floor next to the bed softly so as not to wake him. You do not want to talk to him now.

You can't imagine ever talking to him again.

So you let him sleep. You wipe off the last of the lipstick and scrub at the eyeliner with a kleenex for a few minutes before giving it up as a lost cause, and then you grab your clothes and get dressed in the living room.

You take a deep breath.

And then you walk out the door.


It takes Rodney almost two years to track you down.

Or maybe not. Maybe he only just now started looking. Either way, he shows up on your doorstep almost two years to the day since you walked out. It's not unexpected, because there is never not a time when you don't open the door expecting to see him there. But after all the practice you've had psyching yourself up for this, you're still nowhere near calm.

You hold the door half-open. You're not hiding behind it, not really.

Rodney looks the same. Hair a little thinner, maybe, but mostly the same. You even recognize the t-shirt, the brown one that says Cupcake + multivitamin! Super breakfast! He looks good. He looks confused.

He looks you up and down and then up and down again, subtle as ever, and he opens and closes his mouth a couple times before saying, "John?"

Your fingers tighten on the doorknob and in a voice you're still not used to, you say, "No."

You say, "Not anymore."