It's more common for Helena to place herself below Myka: to be pressed between Myka's strong body and the wall; to fall supplicant to her knees and reverently ease Myka's clothing down, to lift Myka's thigh over her shoulder and to groan when Myka fists fingers in black hair; to end up bent and gasping over the foot of the bed with Myka's fingers strong and relentless against and inside of her.
It is not common, not common at all, it is special, for Myka to find herself where she is now: black satin warm and thick around her wrists, pulled tight and affixed to the bedframe; her arms are stretched out from her sides. She's propped up, just slightly, on a stack of pillows, her hair tied back from her face, and she knows that Helena's been thinking about this for awhile because the space heater has been on since before Myka got home, so while Myka does shiver, occasional ripples that travel scalp to soles, she can't blame them on her nudity or the cold. And Helena smiles down at her, warmly, as she stands beside the bed, tugs off her jacket, and begins to roll up her sleeves.
The artifact was Pygmalion's chisel: it froze Helena in position, stock still, one hand reaching for—but not quite touching—the tesla holstered under her arm. The criminal-of-the-week was named Ben Lawson; he was the ex-lover of a woman who insisted that he, and not the woman's husband, was the father of a four-year-old boy, despite a paternity test that had proven otherwise; he'd been leaving human statues throughout the city in his attempt to capture the child. The boy was entrusted to Helena's protection while Pete and Myka chased Lawson and his artifact.
Helena stood, immobile, while Lawson swept the sobbing child over his shoulder and made for the exit.
She was stuck there, frozen in a dark safe-house basement, for a little over seven hours, listening to the periodic blare of the Farnsworth in her pocket, followed by the chime of her cell phone, and then the Farnsworth again, and then nothing for thirty minutes until the cycle started up again. And then, suddenly, her marble-hard muscles turned soft and she collapsed violently to the ground, gasping. With trembling fingers, she pulled the Farnsworth from her pocket and dialed Myka.
"Helena! Oh my god, are you—"
"Have you got him?"
"Have you got the boy?" it came out louder than Helena intended and she saw Myka's eyes widen, taken aback.
"Yeah, we've got him. He's fine." She lifted a sealed static bag into range of the screen. “Snagged and bagged, too.”
"Oh, thank God." Helena crawled on three limbs to the foot of the battered nearby sofa and turned to lean against it. "Thank God," she said again.
Helena was quiet for most of the trip home. She let Myka hold her hand on the flight but rebuffed anything more intimate. After a dinner eaten in reserved silence, she excused herself before dessert.
“He was fine,” Myka said softly, later, when she found Helena in her room. “There’s only so much you can do when the bad guy has an artifact.”
Helena was curled into fetal position, her back to the door. She felt the bed dip as Myka sat down on its edge, behind her, and let her eyes drop closed when she felt Myka’s hand run down the length of her arm.
“I know how you feel,” Myka continued, “God knows we’ve all been there. You didn’t do anything wrong.”
And it was nice to hear, of course, it was good to be reminded of that, but Helena doesn’t know how to say that the boy is only a small part of the problem, that the problem is Pygmalion, who did not, as legend says, fall in love with a statue he had carved, but actually froze his beloved into a statue, that he might admire her in fixed, idealized form, stripped of the character imperfections that made her, like all people, human.
Anyone frozen by the chisel could live no more than two days before their body began to shut down; they would die within four days, at the most.
Helena took a deep breath and rolled onto her back to look up at Myka, lovely Myka who gasped and sighed sadly at the sight of Helena’s wet eyes.
“How can I help?” Myka said quietly, cupping Helena's jaw. “Tell me what I can do to help you feel better.”
“I don’t know,” Helena said. “I wish I knew.”
“Would you like some space for the night?”
“No!” Of this much, Helena was certain—her hand shot out and snapped like a cuff around Myka’s wrist. “Please stay.”
They wound up, uncharacteristically, in Helena’s bed that night instead of Myka’s. When Myka slipped under the covers she rolled to curl up against Helena’s back but Helena stiffened against that feeling, the sense of enclosure, before she could stop herself.
“What is it? What is it?” Myka asked, jerking back as if from a loaded gun.
Helena rolled over and reached for Myka’s face. “Nothing. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Can we just—could you—“
Uncharacteristically short of words, Helena urged Myka onto her back, and then onto her opposite side, and then Helena pressed herself against Myka’s back, her hand finding its way underneath the hem of Myka’s singlet and up to curl and rest between her breasts.
She didn't sleep much that night, but with her nose buried in Myka's hair, she felt she could fully breathe for the first time since she left that basement.
Helena kneels on the bed and watches Myka’s abdominal muscles twitch, just barely, as she trails warm fingertips up and down the shallow groove between navel and sternum.
“Let’s review the rules, darling, shall we?”
Myka inhales and nods, her eyes fixed on Helena’s fingertips, on their hypnotic, rhythmic movement, on the warmth that blooms through her body with each slow caress.
“Where may you look?” Helena asks.
Myka swallows. “At you.”
Helena’s fingers freeze just above Myka’s navel and Myka stares at them, rapt, as one might stare at a drop of dew about to coalesce and fall off the edge of a tree leaf. “Be specific,” Helena says.
“At your hands—“
Helena’s fingers resume their slow journey north, and then south again, and Myka melts just a little bit more. “Or?” Helena prompts.
“Or your face.” Myka’s eyes flick up to Helena’s as she says it.
“And what happens if you close your eyes or look away?” Helena asks, smiling as her fingers travel further up this time, along Myka’s sternum to trace a prominent collarbone.
“You stop,” Myka sighs, arching her neck against Helena’s touch. She is careful to keep her lids open, gazed trained on Helena’s eyes, because it won’t do to start losing the game this early on.
She will lose later. There will be moments she won’t be able to help it, she knows, and that, in itself, is part of the game. It’s part of what Helena wants—part of what Myka is gladly giving to her.
“And what else will make me stop?” Helena asks. She follows the collarbone back down, through the hollow at the base of Myka’s neck, and then up the other collarbone toward Myka’s opposite shoulder.
“If—if I ask you to,” Myka says, her eyes following Helena’s while Helena’s eyes follow that tingling, magical touch, flicking up every so often to meet Myka’s eyes, to see that she’s looking where she’s supposed to be looking. “Stop means stop.”
Helena hums. “And when may you come?” Her fingers have trailed down again and begin to loop slowly, but not lazily or without purpose, around Myka’s breast in an inward spiral, and this is all part of the seduction, the gentle, teasing touches, the low, raspy, ever-so-slightly condescending tone to her voice.
“When you say so,” Myka breathes and she arches up against her restraints, can’t keep herself from arching up into Helena’s finger that’s turning a tight circle around her nipple now, circling it but not touching it, and the anticipation alone, the sight and feeling of the promise and withholding of contact, is making that nipple contract.
“Very good.” Helena circles once more, and then trails that finger across Myka’s chest to start again on the other breast, and Myka can’t quite contain the quiet groan that escapes.
“Any questions, Myka?” Helena asks. Myka can tell she’s eyeing the marks left behind by the slight edge of her blunt fingernail; a spiraling white line over flushed, pink skin.
“No, Helena,” Myka replies.
Helena shifts closer to Myka until her hip is pressed against Myka’s ribcage. Her hands go to Myka’s face and trace her features, her thumbs running over her eyebrows, cheekbones, one of them teasing at Myka’s lips until Myka opens her mouth to draw it inside.
“Good,” Helena murmurs, though whether it’s in response to Myka’s lack of questions or the way Myka’s tongue is curling around her thumb, Myka doesn’t know. She gazes, rapt, at Helena’s eyes, which are gazing, rapt, at Myka’s lips and tongue, and then the thumb is gone, and then Helena is bending down, close, placing a tender, almost chaste kiss against Myka’s parted lips, and that low, seductive voice says, “Let’s begin, shall we?”
Helena was quiet through the next workday, choosing an inventory list a short distance away from everyone else, and returning to the B&B early.
"Is H.G. okay?" she'd heard Pete ask Myka in the morning as they all made their way out of Artie's office. She didn't hear Myka's answer.
A collection of pens and pencils sat on her desk in her room, gathered in an old, chipped coffee mug. She pulled one out, randomly: a yellow wooden pencil, unexciting. She snapped it in half. Then picked up the two pieces and snapped each of them in half, and then picked up one of the small pieces after that but it was too short, she couldn’t get the leverage to break it, even against the edge of her desk.
She groaned and threw all the pieces to the ground.
There was paper on the desk, too, both blank paper for her drafting, and scrap for her notes; she picked up a sheet of scrap paper and shredded it onto her desk, the motions wild, almost violent, for what should be an innocuous act. It wasn't enough: she picked up the clean paper, the stuff that mattered, and shredded a few sheets of that, too. She felt as though something were trapped inside her, desperate to claw its way out: she wanted to put her fist through the wall. She wanted to take one of Abigail's tasteful photographs down from that wall and smash it against her knee. Something, anything, to leave a mark. On something. On the world On herself.
But there were marks on herself that Helena did not understand, whose stories she did not have. What did Emily Lake do, Helena wondered, to cause that large scar on her left shin? Helena fingered the cartilage of her ear, which had been pierced since before she was bronzed (oh, how scandalized Charles had been when he'd seen that) but which had been allowed to heal closed during the Emily Lake days. What food had Emily eaten? What bath products did she use? Who did she fuck? Was she safe about it?
Helena was shaking at her desk chair, hands clutching at opposite elbows, as though that could keep the parts of her solid, keep them from flying apart.
And then, as she couldn't help but do after thinking about Emily Lake, she thought about the bronze. She thought about darkness, and how, after a time, that darkness faded away, its space filled up by complex sensory hallucinations: experiences of touch and taste, sight and sound. She saw her daughter grow into an adult, in a bronze hallucination. She saw Oscar Wilde turn into a monkey and climb the Warehouse shelves. She heard Caturanga sing lullabies while frothing purple foam from the lips. She heard her brother laugh cruelly in her ear. Occasionally there were experiences that jolted through—sounds or touches, usually, from the real world—and Helena would have moments of self-awareness, of remembering where she was. She would wonder what was happening to her. She would imagine herself on a pedestal in a museum, like a marble statue of a Roman God. How long had she been like this? Did the Warehouse even exist anymore? Had she been mistaken for a piece of art and placed on display to be gawped at? Would she eventually be set in a forge to be melted for metal, only to find herself burned alive?
What would she do, if she needed desperately to be seen, or heard, or simply noticed?
Had Pygmalion's beloved spent four frozen days screaming inside her head, desperate not just to be looked at, but to be recognized? To be fully seen, and thereby, to be saved?
Helena thought of Myka, again: Myka, who loved so much to play with Helena, to bend her to her will, and Helena loved that, too, to lose herself completely in Myka.
But Helena had had a reminder, another taste, today, of what it felt like to lose herself—to have her body turned, quite literally, into an object subject to the whims of another person, and she needed—she craved—
In a rush she bolted to her closet and began digging through the basket of winterwear on the top shelf. The pashmina Myka had bought her last winter was easy to find, near the top. The next piece, a woolen scarf from before Helena had been bronzed, required a little digging to the bottom of the pile.
She held one in each hand: one soft and one coarse, one warm and one beautiful, and breathed deeply.
She knew what she wanted to ask Myka. She just had to build, and retain, the courage.
"Let's begin," Helena had said, as though this hasn't already begun, as though Myka's skin isn't prickling goosebumps of anticipation, as though she isn't already almost shamefully wet. It wasn't about that, Helena's statement. It wasn't about whether something new was beginning so much as about dividing time between before her words (the anticipation) and after (the act itself); it plays with Myka's read on the situation: you thought we had begun, but you have No. Idea. What's coming next. So the way Helena moves, the way she's touching Myka's body, doesn't change with the announcement, but the way Myka feels, the hyper-awareness, the pleasurable tension, jumps up.
Helena is an engineer and a scientist who knows how to observe for cause and effect, how to notice minute factors that may influence these dynamics. She has brought that same attention to her knowledge of Myka's body. Myka is almost embarrassed by the way she trembles when she watches Helena trace the lines of her open palms. When she trails those fingers up to the insides of her elbows, her forearm jumps, as though she had been tapped with a reflex hammer. Her eyes fly up to Helena's, who smiles down, bemusedly.
Wordlessly she bends down and nuzzles at the base of Myka's jaw, noses at the lobe of her ear and then presses a lingering, open-mouthed kiss there, to the soft hollow of skin between the ear and the neck. Myka turns her head to dutifully shift her eyes to Helena's hand, wrapped around Myka's forearm just above the satin, as the teasing of the sensitive skin makes her extremities swing from tension to languor. Her hands are desparate for contact: she imagines Helena kissing them, drawing each finger into her mouth one at a time; she imagines Helena standing beside the bed and taking that bound hand between her thighs, working it where she is wet and warm—
"Ah!" Myka gasps, jerking her head from Helena's nip to the side of her neck.
"Stay focused, darling," Helena says, sitting up just enough that Myka can see her face again, see her eyes, and then she swings a knee over to bracket Myka's hips with denim. Helena's hands trace back up the insides of Myka's arms as she straightens up; her index fingers meet one another at the base of Myka's throat and begin to trail down her chest, and then to flare outward beneath her breasts, slowing to swirl random patterns over the sensitive skin there. Helena does this without looking; her eyes bore into Myka's like black bullets and Myka's head might as well be locked in a vice for all that she could look away.
Myka closes her mouth to moisten it and says, "I—focus, I'm try—trying, you—"
She's struggling with her words already. When Helena finally touches her nipples, she loses them altogether.
The touch is playful, teasing, and Myka can't help but arch up into it; she glances down at Helena's fingers and there isn't enough pressure beneath their light flicking and circling, if she would only be firmer about it.
"What if I were to do nothing but this?" Helena muses, as if to herself, as she watches her own fingers move. "What if this were all I gave you tonight?"
Myka's throat emits a pathetic sound as she arches up again, but Helena pulls her fingers back, keeps her touch light.
"Could you come from this?" And there's the pinch: the slight tweak that feels like it shoots fire from her breasts directly to her clit. Myka's fists clench, her fingernails biting into her palms, and her eyes slam shut as she gasps "Helena"—
And the touch is gone, even the weight of Helena across Myka's hips is gone. Myka catches herself just that moment too late and opens her eyes again to stare into Helena's, who's looking at her with a half-smile and an eyebrow cocked.
Helena tuts quietly. "You closed your eyes."
Myka licks her parted lips.
Myka perched at the foot of the bed and pushed her fingers through her hair. Helena saw her eyes alight upon, and then rest upon, the two scarves, stretched out over the duvet.
"I have spent so much time imprisoned," Helena said, nervously, weaving the fingers of her two hands together. "I find that sometimes I crave the relief of dominance. Of a more intimate and consensual nature, of course."
"Okay," Myka said. "I—I mean, I've never done anything quite like this."
"I know, darling."
Myka sighed and turned to meet Helena's eyes. It was an uncertain gaze, Helena thought, but also a warm one, full of, a kind of watery desire. "But I love you," Myka said, "and there isn't much I wouldn't at least try if you told me it would make you happy."
Helena was caught off-guard by the flood of relief that washed through her body, loosening her muscles and slowing her heart. She took two cautious steps forward and sat down beside Myka on the bed. She reached across and squeezed Myka's shoulder, and then let her hand trail down until she could circle her fingers around Myka's wrist like a cuff.
Myka picked up the woolen scarf with her other hand and pressed it between her fingers as if to test its thickness. "I think we need to talk about limits if I'm going to tie you up."
And Helena's relief evaporated.
Helena swallowed. She'd gotten to this point. She couldn't backtrack now. "That isn't what I had in mind," she said.
Myka knit her brow. "Then what—"
"I'd like to be the one doing the tying," Helena clarified.
Myka blinked at her, and then down at the scarves on the bed, and back up at her again. "Oh," she said, simply.
One night, early in their relationship, Myka had teasingly trapped Helena with her own t-shirt: she had been pushing it over Helena's head and stopped with it halfway off, the collar of the inverted shirt running across the bridge of Helena's nose so that her eyes were covered but her mouth and nose were open; her arms, too, were tangled in the shirt above her head, held in place by Myka's hands as Myka bent to kiss Helena's lips.
Myka had meant it to be playful, she explained later, following a hundred apologies, when Helena had stopped hyperventilating and then sobbing. Of course Helena wouldn't like to feel trapped, encased, blinded. Of course. Myka should have considered that.
With that in mind, Helena knew that her reluctance to be bound would not come as a surprise to Myka.
Myka inhaled slowly through her nose, and exhaled through her mouth. "Do you want to—to hurt me? As a part of this?"
"No. I mean, no more than our usual little nips and pinches, I suppose, unless you were to want me to hurt you, or if you'd prefer that even the slightest pain be avoided—"
"I think the usual would be okay, but not more than that," Myka said, interrupting her rather undignified rambling.
Helena's eyes leaped up from the scarves to Myka's face, where Myka's eyes were wide and nervous but full of love.
"I think there's a pretty hard line between pleasure and pain, for me," Myka clarified.
Helena scooted closer and cupped Myka's cheek in her palm. She leaned forward and pressed a soft kiss to those lips, and felt that kiss reciprocated, slowly and patiently.
"I'll be careful," Helena said.
Myka nodded. She licked her lips. "Should we have a, like, a safeword or something?"
Helena shrugged minutely. "If it would make you feel safer, then certainly. But I have no desire whatsoever to play with the boundaries of your consent. If you say 'stop,' I'll stop. If you say 'untie me,' I will, right away and without question."
"So this would be a pleasure thing."
"And also a power thing." Myka licked her lips.
Helena blushed like she hadn't in some time. "Yes, darling."
They sat in silence for several breaths, Myka staring into the middle distance through the floor before her, and Helena staring at Myka.
"All right," Myka said, finally. "How do we begin?"
Helena sighs and pushes her hair back matter-of-factly. "Closing your eyes won't help you to get what you want."
"I know," Myka whimpers, "I know, but can't you just…" She plants her feet and lifts her hips, tries to generate pressure between her pelvis and the crotch of Helena's jeans, held just too high for Myka to reach.
But then, with an "Mmm, I think not," Helena is gone, standing beside the bed, a few long feet away. A few feet away but it might as well be miles when Helena starts to undress, when Helena's shirt slides down her back and Myka wants to press herself against that back, to wrap her hands around Helena and make Helena feel as desperate as she does.
And that, of course is the point, as Myka presses her thighs together and fights the urge to squirm while Helena slowly strips naked beside her.
"I could do what I did last time," Helena muses as she shakes the wrinkles out of her jeans, folds them on top of the bureau. "I could leave you tied up and go sit there," she gestures with her chin toward Myka's reading chair in the corner, "and I could watch you grow more and more needy while I bring myself off as many times as suits my fancy."
Myka's eyes widen as she remembers that, remembers how close she, herself, came to coming from the feeling of Helena's eyes trailing her body her like a caress while she touched herself, the way she had watched Helena's fingers disappear inside herself, over and over again, until she came against her own hand, the way she had slipped those fingers into Myka's mouth, afterward.
"But I think you may have liked that too much," Helena says, ponderous, "so I'm going to try something different."
Then she's on the bed again, she's holding Myka's eyes with her own while she pries Myka's knees apart, encouraging them to open wide, wider, and then Myka feels, against her thigh, just how much Helena is enjoying this.
"Oh God," Myka gasps, because right now, right now, Helena is. Myka is lifting and twisting, trying to find the same friction against Helena's thigh that Helena is finding against her own, but Helena keeps herself just a little too far away, just a little back and out of reach, her lips curved into a wry, cocky smirk. When Myka's hip surges off the bed Helena merely smiles and pushes it back down.
It takes a minute or two for Myka to resign herself to pressing her thigh harder into Helena and watching as she arches back, but she has no sooner settled into that rhythm than Helena pulls away. She pulls away and crawls up Myka's body like a cat until she's straddling Myka's chest, looking down at Myka's parted lips which she strokes with her thumb.
"Yes?" Helena asks. Given their position, the underlying request for permission is evident.
Myka snaps playfully at the thumb and says, "Yes."
It's a little awkward around Myka's outstretched arms but it works, they make it work, so Helena can settle down over Myka's lips. Normally Myka likes to wrap her arms around Helena's thighs, to pull her down tight and close like this, but that's out of the question tonight so she cranes her neck, stares up the length of Helena's torso into her eyes while Helena's hands in Myka's hair help to keep her in position.
Helena is breathtaking when she comes like that, hips moving slowly against Myka's lips and tongue, eyes locked on Myka's. She shifts carefully down Myka's body so that when she bends down to kiss her their breasts press into one another, Myka feeling the touch as an intimate caress. Myka is so absorbed in that longed-for contact that that her entire body jolts in surprise when a palm lands gently on her inner thigh and begins to slide upward.
"You did well," Helena says quietly, half into Myka's mouth. That palm presses a little and Myka falls further open. "And you're still doing well," Helena purrs. Myka watches her crawl backwards, watches her settle between her legs, watches her look down and smile.
"My goodness, you're wanting," Helena muses, as she absently trails a finger where Myka is wet: up and down, up and down, but not over, not around, not in.
Myka knows what Helena desires and it's so easy to give it to her when it's the truth, when it's honest, when it's, "I want you so badly," and the words come out as a keen.
"Hmm," Helena says. She seems to weigh a variety of possibilities before lowering herself to the mattress. "You were so good to me with your mouth," she says, pressing a kiss to the inside of Myka's left thigh, and then her right, her eyes never leaving Myka's. Myka struggles to contain her breath because she can't close her eyes, no matter how much she might want to, she can't close them when she feels Helena's tongue.
She does not succeed a keeping her hips down or still. They surge up once, and Helena pushes them back down, but then they surge up again. She sees a change in Helena's eyes, the upward curl of a woman with a happy idea, and then Helena stops moving. She stops moving with her tongue against Myka's flesh but she lets Myka move, lets Myka work herself against that tongue. For the moment in which she lets herself think about it, Myka feels ridiculous, but the physical sensations override her sense of propriety, and anyway this is Helena, who does this because she wants Myka to lose herself, she wants to feel how much Myka needs and craves her. So Myka works herself shamelessly against Helena's mouth and she can see the change in her eyes, feel the slight change in her touch when she smiles against Myka's body. Myka feels it building, feels the curl in her toes and fingers—
Helena pulls away.
Myka makes no effort to suppress a groan of frustration, but that groan chokes itself out when she feels the tips of Helena's fingers against her clit, circling slow and tight, and then sliding lower, teasing with the promise of penetration.
Myka fights to keep her eyes open, fights to keep her gaze on Helena's defined, angular wrist. She simultaneously thanks and curses the rule that she keep her contacts in for these sessions.
Helena says matter-of-factly, "You know you aren't supposed to finish until I say you can."
Myka licks her lips and swallows and nods.
Then Helena slips inside with two fingers and Myka nearly bites through her tongue with the effort of keeping her head from dropping back, her eyes from slamming closed.
There were things they did wrong, that first time. Helena, wanting to control Myka's level of dress, tied her up fully clothed, but found that the nuisance of the shirt and bra bunched up under Myka's arms outweighed the pleasure of slowly revealing her skin. Myka was nervous, too, which emerged in the form of self-conscious laughter even as she gamely tried to play the role she was cast. But Myka kept trying and Helena was patient, and they'd been lovers for long enough already that Helena knew exactly where to place her fingers and her tongue to coax Myka past the precipice of conscious desire.
Afterward, when Myka was unbound and languid and sated, Helena gently worked her out of her tangled bra and shirt and then coaxed Myka to curl into her side, cocooned under the duvet.
They lay still and silent, Helena pressing sporadic kisses to the top of Myka's head as her fingers played in thick curls, until she felt moisture on her chest.
She paused in her caress and looked down. "Myka, darling?"
"I'm sorry," Myka said. Her arm had been curled around Helena's ribs but she moved it then to pinch at her watery eyes.
"No," Helena said. She shifted down until they were face to face, tucked in the shadow of their pillows, and Helena cupped Myka's cheek. "What's wrong? Please tell me. Did I hurt you?"
Myka shook her head wordlessly, and brushed a kiss against the inside of Helena's cheek. "I never would have known," she said, after a moment.
"Known what, darling?"
Myka sniffed and glanced upward, evasively, with a shy half-smile. She took a deep, shuddering breath, and closed her eyes, and said, "Nobody has ever looked at me the way you just did."
Helena swallowed against a suddenly thick throat. "How is that?"
"Like…" Myka laughed again, that nervous laugh, and began again, "I mean, I was bad at that, I was really not good at that, but you looked at me like I was the only thing in the universe that mattered, regardless."
"You were not 'bad at that.' You were new at it." Helena took a deep breath and tucked herself closer to Myka, pressing their foreheads together. Myka was not the only thing in the universe that mattered. Helena had made a very conscious decision not to let Myka be the only thing in the universe that mattered, because she had learned the hard way the evils that could grow from the failure to, er, diversify one's interests. But…
"You are, by an enormous margin, the thing that matters most in my universe, Myka," Helena finished.
"I know," Myka said quietly. "I don't think I understood it before. Not really. But I get it now."
Myka leaned closer still and kissed Helena's lips softly, and soundly; she must be able to taste herself there, Helena thought, but apparently she didn't mind at all. Helena rolled onto her back and Myka followed, but she didn't test the limits of the kiss, didn't let her fingers wander. She settled, instead, back into the crook of Helena's shoulder.
"Tomorrow," she said quietly. "Tonight, I get to be wrapped up by you. But tomorrow, I will show you what it feels like to be the center of my universe."
Myka's curls tickled under Helena's chin, and the floral scent of her shampoo filled her nostrils, and the weight of her body half-pressed Helena into the mattress. Helena was here, and now, and present and holding and held and for the first time in two days did not question any of those facts.
Helena's fingers are moving, slowly, inside Myka, and they don't stop as Helena shifts to stretch out along Myka's side, head pillowed on Myka's shoulder.
"Now, now," she breathes into Myka's ear, "I couldn't let this end without knowing how open I've made you." She sighs, sifts closer, and practically purrs, "How ready you would be. How good it would feel to be inside you."
Helena's languorous tone, her slow, almost lazy pace between Myka's thighs, are practically hypnotic; Myka's mind wants to relax into that soothing tone but her body is craving more, more, her hips moving in time with Helena's hand but more firmly. And she could come like this, just about, with just a little more—
And then the fingers slip out. Myka blinks at them, almost confused, as they rest on her belly.
"I wonder if you taste differently now than you did a moment ago," Helena murmurs, and then her warmth is gone from Myka's side; it's gone from Myka altogether until hands push at her inner thighs and a wet tongue laps at her opening, intermittently slipping inside, then sliding up and circling her clit.
"Oh, Helena," Myka grits as her toes flex against the sheets. "You have to let me come."
"I have to do no such thing," Helena says, between licks. "You're not desperate enough."
Not desperate enough but Myka is desperate; the room has faded to a blur, the satin holding her down is a torture device, her nipples are hard and begging for contact, her entire body hums but at the same time the only parts that feel real, feel grounded, are the parts that Helena is touching. When Helena replaces her tongue with her fingers, again, she brings her lips back to Myka's breasts and kisses them wetly.
Myka loses track of how many times Helena switches: two fingers inside her until she can barely contain her orgasm, and then her tongue until she can barely contain her orgasm, and then her fingers again, each new contact rebooting her, building her up from a slightly lower point, like shallow dips at the top of a roller coaster, ahead of the giant plunge.
"I could lose myself in your body," Helena whispers and Myka feels her fingers move, feels them curl right there—
"Please, Helena." They're the only words Myka can find as she stares down her own body, stares at where Helena's hand disappears below her pelvis. "Please. Please. Helena. Please."
The fingers are gone.
Myka feels herself about to sob with frustration, she may be about to do just that when there are fingers inside her again, more this time, curling just right, and a thumb on her clit and Helena presses a gentle kiss to her jaw before breathing into her ear:
"Come. Come now."
Ironically, Myka can't. Ironically, she has been holding back her orgasm for so long that it takes a moment to convince her body to let go, a moment of arching and flexing and staring down at Helena's hand moving steadily between her thighs, a long moment of Helena's low voice breathing erotica into Myka's ear, whispering everything and nothing: "Oh, we should install a mirror. I wish you could see yourself right now, so warm and open and on the edge, so perfect and beautiful for me. You are everything to me, my love. You are everything and I am so fortunate to feel you like this, to see you like this, as perfect as you are. Come, Myka, love. Come."
When Myka does, it's with a strangled, quiet grunt that belies the way her body goes supernova, and then contracts again into a black hole. At the last second she manages to turn her head, to shift her gaze from Helena's hand to her eyes, Helena's eyes that are full of wonder and possession, Helena so soft and relaxed as Myka's body goes hard and tight.
Two days later Myka came home from Featherhead with two yards of black satin in a shopping bag. Helena was reading her book in Myka's reading chair when Myka walked in and tossed the bag into her lap.
"The wool was scratchy," Myka said, "and I didn't really like the way I had to be tied off-center because the scarves were different lengths. I'm, like, too OCD for that kind of thing, I guess."
Helena ran her fingers over the soft satin in the plastic bag. When she looked back up at Myka, the surprise must have been evident in her eyes, because Myka said:
"I figure we can just cut it lengthwise, right? Half for one wrist, half for the other?"
Helena had convinced herself not to have expectations for any future such… encounters. Not after the awkwardness and the tears of their first try.
"You want to do it again?" Helena asked before she could think better of it, and then regretted it tremendously when Myka flushed deep red and began to babble, "Oh, God. Did I read this wrong? Was this just supposed to be a one-time thing? Because if we're back to, you know, regular non-tied-up sex from here on out, then I'm OK with that, if that's what you want—"
"Myka," Helena interrupted, and Myka froze, a pin in the center of the hardwood floor.
Slowly, Helena unfolded herself from the chair and stood up. She walked to where Myka waited and wrapped her hands firmly around Myka's wrists before leaning in for a chaste, promising kiss.
"I would like to do it again," she said lowly. But then she used that grip on Myka's wrists to slide those long, smooth fingers into her own hair. With a smirk, Helena dropped her hands to Myka's waistband and began to work at the button as she lowered herself to her knees. "But not today."
Myka's fingers tightened in Helena's hair and her eyes, gazing down, darkened. "No," Myka agreed, as Helena tugged her jeans and underwear down, "Not today."
Helena unties the restraints while Myka is still breathing deeply in recovery. Distantly, Myka feels Helena grip her left forearm and very carefully move her elbow through its range of motion, and then do the same thing with her shoulder, loosening the stiff muscles. Then Helena does the same with Myka's right side, and then coaxes her onto her front and begins to mould and sculpt the tension out of Myka's upper back.
Myka feels limp, wrung out, but after everything Helena's hands have done to her tonight it is impossible not to feel her body respond to these simple touches as if they are as calculated and erotic as every touch so far tonight.
"How do you feel?" Helena asks quietly, but a soft grunt of contentment is all Myka can produce.
Helena laughs and presses a quick kiss behind Myka's ear.
"I don't understand how you can make me feel this," Myka mutters eventually, half into the pillow.
"Feel what?" Helena asks.
"Like…" Myka trails off. There are so many words she wants to say, so many sappy, over-wrought words; declarations in line with an Austen character. "Like I want you to have all of me," she says. "All of me, between your hands."
Helena scoots over and lays down, now, next to Myka. She fumbles for and finds Myka's hand, which she curls between her own and holds where she can dust kisses across the knuckles. "I treasure whatever parts of you I'm given to hold," she says.
Myka sees her.
She holds Myka in her arms, and Myka sees her.