Chapter 14: The Emperor
The Emperor card screamed control. From the moment she took it in her hand, Rosemary felt the Tarot speaking directly to her. Time to take charge, get organized, and accept no excuses. The Emperor himself was a bearded man, mature but still fit. He sat straight-backed in a throne decorated with motifs of rams’ heads. A purple cloak draped regally over his shoulders. In one hand he held a sword, and in another the scepter of justice. Rosemary got the impression he wouldn’t hesitate to use either.
She began by going online and making an appointment with the women’s clinic for a full sexual health checkup and IUD insertion. Rosemary had been doing some research and decided that with the committed, long-term relationship she was looking for, an IUD was the right birth control option. With that done, she then logged into her work system and officially submitted a request for time off Tuesday, the day of her brand new medical appointment.
For a moment she held her phone, just one click away from calling Fabricio. Rosemary desperately wanted to talk to him, to apologize and try to start things fresh. But something told her the time was not right.
“Control,” she muttered. “I need to have it for myself, first, before I go handing all my problems over to someone else again.” God, where has this card been in all my other failed relationships? she thought, with more than a little exasperation. I’ve been needing this kick in the butt for years!
Part of being in control, she began to learn, is letting go of it. At work on Monday she told Latysha a somewhat censored version of what had happened with Josh.
“Girl, you are well out of it,” she proclaimed, shaking her head seriously. “Man like that is guaranteed to cheat. You can do better.”
“I’m trying to,” Rosemary said with a ragged smile.
Latysha shook her head again, firmly, her lips pressed together in a straight line.
“Nope. Quite trying, just do it. Isn’t that what that little green alien thing said in Star Wars? What’s it called, again?”
“You mean Yoda?”
“Yeah. Yoda. Thing knew what it was talking about. Quite tryin’, and just get your shit done.”
It was exactly what she needed to hear. Especially because halfway into the IUD insertion, Rosemary was just about ready to give up. She’d never felt pain like that before.
“You know, putting in an IUD actually triggers the same muscle contractions as early stages of labor,” the gynecologist explained cheerfully from between Rosemary’s splayed legs. “Hang in there, almost done!”
Rosemary staggered out of there several vials of blood lighter, a couple hundred bucks poorer, and one copper uterus-blocking device stronger. She had also decided not to turn up her nose at an epidural when in actual labor! Holy shit that hurt, she grimaced, swallowing a painkiller. I guess it’s better than taking The Pill every day, though…
It would take a week for the test results to be ready, but Rosemary purposefully didn’t draw another Tarot card. She wanted to ride the wave of The Emperor as long as she could. In the spirit of taking control and, as Latysha had said, getting her shit done, Rosemary took care of several long-put-off chores. Rigid with her schedule, she planned an evening with Thyme, another with Parsley, and called Sage in New York on Thursday – which had been overdue for ages.
Sage, of course, was delighted to hear from her.
“Rosemary! How are things over there? Tell me all what’s going on!”
Dutifully, Rosemary recounted the updates from family, and an abbreviated history of her recent love life.
“Wow. That guy is a freak!” Sage exclaimed. Then, “Don’t suppose you kept his number…”
“Oh my god, Sage!” Rosemary laughed. Her older sister had always been the kind to kiss and tell, and appreciated the same. “Are you seriously going to hit on my ex-boyfriend-or-whatever?”
“Hey, I’m not above sloppy seconds! And I need somebody totally fearless, you know that. These New York types are way too uptight. Wonder if he’d let me tie him up…”
“Okay. Enough information, thanks.”
“Have you heard from Mom?”
“No. I only know what Parsley told me.”
“Well, I got a weird telegram from her. Sent from, like, Ecuador. Does that sound right?”
“I thought she was in Honduras.”
“Yeah, well, close enough. Anyway she asked me for some money, as usual. The telegram said something cryptic about her needing to sponsor someone special, which I have no idea what that means. Whatever. I sent it.”
“How come she only ever asks you for money?”
“Because I’m the only one who’s got any,” Sage said dryly. “Anyway. That’s all I know. Say hi to Thyme for me, okay?”
“And seriously, send me that kinky guy’s number! Sounds like my kinda man.”
“Yeah, right. Bye Sage.”
Rosemary avoided actually talking to Fabricio, but she couldn’t resist texting him. They chatted about not much in particular, but when he tried to arrange a time to meet, she claimed to be swamped with work and family obligations. When we start this for real, I want it to be real, Rosemary decided. I want to know exactly what I am offering him. We have to start it right.
It was Thursday again when her test results finally arrived. Rosemary opened them and read each bullet point with increasing relief. Despite her orgiastic adventure in Portland, everything checked out. She was clean.
She texted Fabricio right away: “Are you home tonight?”
“Yeah,” came his reply, several minutes later.
“Great. Be right over.”
The bus ride felt interminable. Rosemary fidgeted in her seat, tugging the hem of her coat over her bare knees, praying she had made a smart decision. She’d never done anything this daring before. She was about to lay everything on the table, put herself into someone else’s hands with no illusions, bare and raw, at his mercy. Only knowing it was Fabricio – that he deserved all of her, or else she didn’t deserve him – made the uncertainty bearable.
He met her in the dorm lobby, all smiles and welcome. As they hugged, he pressed a light kiss to the side of her neck. Rosemary noticed how very good he smelled. Why had she never remarked before, how his skin had its own intoxicating aroma, like soap and cedar and musk? Stepping back, she met his eyes and was pummeled by fresh awareness of his handsomeness. He was not too-perfect, with overly polished good looks like Josh, but really handsome, with the natural attraction of a well-proportioned face. His dark eyes crinkled at the corners, his cheekbones stood out against his wavy black hair, and Rosemary longed to run her finger over the edges of his full, smiling lips.
“So, you just wanted to hang out?” he said, cheerful, obviously not picking up on Rosemary’s intense observations.
“Oh, yeah. Kind of. I mean, it’s been a while since we got together and I’d been hoping to see you, and it’s really been too long and…” she took a deep breath. “No. That’s not why.”
Fabricio cocked his head, looking baffled. “Okay…” he said.
“I mean, I have something to tell you. That’s why I came.”
“Well, okay. Let’s go up?”
Fabricio spun his wheelchair and started leading towards the elevator, when he glanced over his shoulder.
“Nice shoes, by the way. Hot.”
“Oh. Thanks.” Rosemary glanced down at her feet. She’d put on her tallest, pointiest stilettos, the kind she never wore because they were ridiculous. They’d been bought on a whim, as they were sparkly designer shoes that had been heavily marked down in a sale. Even now she wondered if they were too much. It’s totally not my style, she thought, then, steeling herself, but that doesn’t matter. Tonight isn’t about me – it’s for him.
They got to his floor and Fabricio rolled down the hall, waving to a couple students they passed. One of the guys, a shaggy-haired surfer dude, blatantly checked Rosemary out and turned to Fabricio with a goofy smile.
“Dude, you got a date tonight?!” the kid exclaimed. “Right on, man!”
Fabricio chuckled. “Well, date or no date, I’m still your RA. Keep the pot outside this time, okay Chad?”
“Yeah, sure, dude, sure,” Chad said amenably. He waggled his eyebrows at Rosemary. “Don’t want my fumes to mess with your groove.”
As Chad sauntered off down the hall, Fabricio turned to Rosemary apologetically and rolled his eyes. “Sorry. I swear that guy only lives in the dorm because he loves messing with me. Had to write a report on him for marijuana possession, only to learn he’s a super-senior and technically legal. Anyway…”
Rosemary giggled. “It’s fine. He seems nice.”
They got to Fabricio’s door and he held it open for her. Probably so he can check out my legs as I walk through, she thought, and her mood lightened considerably. If all goes well, tonight is going to be a hell of a lot of fun.
His room was as tiny as she remembered. A large poster of Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss hung over his bed; that was new. As she looked casually around, Rosemary’s eyes landed on his computer desk. There she had a shock: pinned clearly on the corkboard behind the desk, right at eye level with the computer, was a picture of her. The one Fabricio had taken at the Asian Art Museum, of Rosemary on the camel. She stared at it for a while, wondering how often his eyes flicked over to it while he was working on a paper or surfing the web. Wondering how much she was on his mind… and how much more she would be after tonight.
“So,” Fabricio said behind her, so she spun around to face him, “what did you want to tell me? That just couldn’t be said in the elevator?”
Rosemary’s heart leapt into her throat. He just looked at her, arms resting casually on his chair, tapping his fingers on his knees. His face was open, curious, but waiting for her. When she met his eyes, Rosemary felt a surge of rightness. Then it came to her: the image of The Emperor on the card, sitting with that same clear-eyed gaze on his throne of power. Oh my god, she realized. It’s Fabricio, again. All this time the cards have been leading me to him. Which means, subconsciously, I’ve known this to be right all along. God, I’m an idiot.
Without saying a word, she reached for the top button of her coat and undid it. Deliberately, she worked her way down the front until all the buttons were undone, and then she let the jacket fall to the floor.
Fabricio’s eyes went huge and his expression transformed from mild humor to intense surprise… and arousal. Underneath her coat, Rosemary was naked except for a narrow pink thong. She felt her breath coming hot as Fabricio’s eyes lingered on her breasts, her nipples taut and dark in the sudden cold. His gaze wandered over her body, trailing across her every curve and angle, all the way down and all the way back up. He couldn’t quite meet her eyes.
“Wow,” was all he said.
She took a deep breath, noticing how his eyes zeroed in on her breasts as they rose and fell.
“Fabricio, I need to apologize to you. Ever since we met you have proven yourself, over and over, to be the perfect man for me. And I didn’t accept it because I was being willfully indecisive. I was a total jerk to you.”
“It’s okay,” Fabricio muttered.
“No, it’s not. But I’m ready to change things around. If you still want me, I am here to start a real relationship with you. Right now. Tonight.”
“But first,” Rosemary pressed on, gathering her courage, “I need to be punished. The way I treated you was appalling. So, you should spank me.”
Fabricio blinked. His thick black lashes made his eyes look even bigger than they already were. Now his hands were gripping the armrests of his chair, as if holding himself in his seat. Clearly, he was speechless.
“I’m serious,” Rosemary said. “I need a spanking.”
Deciding she’d better take the lead, Rosemary stifled the pounding of her heart and stepped over to him. In the small room, their closeness made the temperature soar. She felt the intense attraction between them, tempered only by the nervousness of this initial encounter. I want him so badly. I need this! Taking stock of the chair and the layout of the room, Rosemary finally draped herself across his lap, her ass in the air over one armrest, her chest resting across his legs, her arms across the other armrest, hands on the edge of the desk. Just in case I need something to hold onto. I hope I will…
The minute she got into his space Fabricio threw his hands up, out of the way. He stared at her in his lap, cheeks flushed and mouth agape. Glancing over her shoulder, Rosemary saw his fingers twitching. She knew he desperately wanted to touch her.
“Rosemary, I…” he stammered, swallowing several times. “I’ve never hit a woman. I don’t want to hurt you.”
“You’re not hitting me. You’re spanking me. It’s different. And I deserve it.” She wiggled her ass a little, tempting him. “Plus, I really, really want it. Please?”
He took a deep, steadying breath. Very slowly he brought down his hands to rest on her back. The moment his skin touched hers Rosemary shivered. His palms were cool and dry, their texture beautiful against her skin. She felt hyper aware, in tune with every vibration of his fingers, every vein and artery in her body.
“Please,” she said again.
Swallowing, he moved one hand over to her ass. Rosemary turned her head toward the door, where a full length mirror captured all the action. It was one of those Ikea creations for tiny spaces – the sort of mirror every college kid has bought since the invention of Ikea – a narrow rectangle that hooks over the top of the door. With the size of the room and their position, it reflected everything. Rosemary saw Fabricio’s eyes riveted on her body, the way his hand rose over the curve of her buttocks. Her eyes were wide and dark with wanting.
Fabricio raised his hand and gave her a tiny slap. She barely felt it, but it did produce a satisfying sound. Rosemary sighed happily, looking over her shoulder at him.
“Again,” she said.
He hit a bit harder, enough to make her ass jiggle nicely, and she let out a little shriek of encouragement. In the mirror, she saw his face growing flushed, his eyes searing with concentration. When he raised his hand she sucked in her breath with hopeful anticipation.
This time it was a proper spank. The noise of his palm slapping her ass resounded through the air, leaving her cheek rosy and warm.
“Oh, god, yes!” Rosemary cried. “That’s what I need!”
He was getting into it now, holding her down with one hand while rearing back to spank her with the other. The beautiful sting when his hand connected felt to Rosemary like redemption. And sex. She loved the heat rising in her core, her inner muscles tensing before each slap, the growing wetness between her legs. His hand was broad, diffusing the pain all the way through his palm, letting it blend into tingling pleasure.
She squealed with each contact, biting her lip to hold back the screams she longed for. Fabricio was breathing heavily, his eyes hyper focused on her ass, watching her skin glow pink.
“Goddamn, this is hot,” he murmured.
“Yes! And I need it! I deserve it!”
“You were bad, weren’t you?” he said wickedly, grinning at her in the mirror. She smiled back, delighted to see him catching the mood. “Did you do all that, just so I would give you a spanking?”
And I haven’t even told him about the sex club yet… “Maybe,” Rosemary said coyly.
He chuckled. “Well, then, I’d better make it a good one.”
His hand came down again, even harder, hitting her with a resounding slap. Rosemary jumped from the sting, only to find herself held down in his lap. His hand was flat on her back, immovable. He’s so strong, she thought in amazement, with a delicious frisson of fear. I couldn’t get away if I wanted to. He spanked her again and again, until she was gasping in earnest, pain flaring up each time his hand came down. Her ass was red now, one cheek in particular emblazoned with the mark of his handprint. Rosemary bit her lip to hold back a whimper. She squirmed against his legs, wanting him to stop; half-hoping he would go on.
Fabricio stroked his palm across her flaming skin, soothing it with instinctive gentleness. His fingers found their way beneath the strap of her thong, following it down between her cheeks. The crotch was soaking, the thin pink fabric dark and wet. When Fabricio’s fingers reached it, he moaned. Infuriatingly, although it felt like every atoms of air between his hand and her pussy was vibrating with tension, he held himself just apart from her. Rosemary wriggled in his lap. She sensed rather than felt his rising erection there.
“Oh, you’re so wet for me,” he murmured.
“Please,” she whispered.
He didn’t reply, but moved his fingers again, grazing one fingertip the length of her crease, all the way up and then back down. Rosemary gasped, captive to his touch. The mere brush of his fingers felt electric, bursting ions on her skin. When his hand reached her pussy again she arched back, silently begging him to take it.
“You want this?” His finger dipped briefly between her folds to emphasize the question.
With his free hand, Fabricio tugged the thong down her thighs. At the same time he slid two fingers firmly inside, and Rosemary lost her mind. Her body ached with need; her inner muscles clutched at his fingers like a lifeboat. The sensations were so intense, she bit back a scream as he slowly rocked his fingers out and pushed them in again. Her clitoris clamored for attention, even as her pussy squeezed around him, still unfulfilled. She pressed her hips back against his hand, trying to force him deeper. Such unbearable pleasure, yet all she wanted was more. She needed all of him.
“I wish this was your dick,” she said, her words weighted with a lingering moan.
“It could be,” he said. He pushed his fingers harder into her, a true thrust, and she barely stifled a cry. “Do you want that?”
Rosemary nodded, still biting her lips against the pleasure. Fabricio chuckled. He tapped her playfully on the ass, saying, “You’d better get up then. I am way too dressed for this.”
Somehow she managed to get off him, though her legs shook and she swayed unsteadily on her outlandish high heels. Every muscle in Rosemary’s body felt like jell-o. She was weak with lust. And the crazy thing was it felt so right.
Fabricio started by unhinging the armrests of his chair, setting them down so his torso was unencumbered. He kept his eyes on her as he grabbed the lower edge of his t-shirt, leaned forward, and pulled it off over his head. Rosemary couldn’t hold back an “Oh” of admiration as his chest was revealed. Even with all her imaginings, she couldn’t have guessed how freaking hot he would look shirtless. His arms and shoulders rippled with muscle. He had a broad chest with a surprising amount of dark, curling hair. It spiraled around his nipples, emphasizing the strength of his pectoral muscles and, lower, his abs. Yes, he definitely has a six-pack. This man wasn’t kidding about working out.
He noticed her looking, and smirked. “Do I pass muster?”
“Oh, you know you do.”
“Well, looking’s free. Touching too, actually.” He gestured to the desk with his chin. “I’ve got some condoms in the top drawer there.” Bold words, but they came out shy. He glanced in her direction to see how she would respond, clearly worried that had been too forward. Even though I’m standing here naked! He had been working on his pants, but paused, waiting for her reply.
“No,” she said.
“I don’t want to use a condom with you. I don’t want anything to come between us.”
He blinked, surprised. His hands hovered around the fly of his jeans, but they fell still. Sensing a pivotal moment, Rosemary knelt down in front of him (with difficulty, due to her heels) and took his hands in her own.
“Listen,” she urged, “I came here tonight because I want to give myself to you. All of me. Everything. You are patient and understanding and kind, and I am halfway in love with you already. So if we’re going to start this, we need to do it right from the very beginning.”
“I just got tested. I’m on birth control. And I trust you to let me know if there’s any reason, on your end, that this isn’t a good idea.”
Slowly, he shook his head.
“So you trust me?” It sounded a little desperate to her ears, but Fabricio didn’t flinch. He gently freed one of his hands from her grasp and combed his fingers through her hair, tracing the shape of her face. The look in his eyes was warm and intimate, like a conversation.
“I trust you,” he said at last.
Taking her hand again, he pulled her up until she was at his level, and kissed her. Rosemary wasn’t thinking at all, only feeling, as his tongue slipped into her mouth and his lips enveloped hers in a deep caress. It was the most sensual kiss Rosemary had ever experienced. They came together completely, sensing one another’s needs and responding to them. His hands stroked down her back, warming her skin, as she curled her fingers into his lush chest hair and pressed against the unyielding hardness of his muscles. Suspended in the moment, Rosemary felt she’d be perfectly happy kissing him forever… if it weren’t for the insistent twang between her legs.
His hands went into his lap again to work on his jeans. He lost focus of the kiss somewhat once his fly was open, and he fumbled to tug the pants down off his hips. With a sheepish grin, he broke the kiss and pulled back enough to concentrate.
“Sorry. It’s tricky to undress in a wheelchair. Especially while I’m being distracted by a beautiful naked woman…”
“Can I help you?” Without waiting for his answer, Rosemary swooped down and took hold of the waistband on his boxers. The fabric strained against his erection, but it wasn’t difficult to maneuver it free. Rosemary gasped when his cock bobbed up in front of her face. He was long and uncircumcised, his foreskin stretched over the thick glans of his cockhead. She wrapped her fingers around his length, adding pressure as her hand slid up and down. His erection throbbed harder, stiffening between her fingers. Fabricio had managed to peel his pants and boxers off his hips, so they bunched around his thighs.
“Come here,” he murmured. Taking hold of her arms, he drew her up and guided her into his lap. She straddled his chair, draping her arms over his shoulders and letting him angle her hips the way he needed. With one hand he grabbed the base of his cock, held it firm as she lowered herself onto his erection. She sighed as he filled her up, his cock thickening and strengthening as her inner muscles tightened around it.
“Oh, thank God for incomplete SCI,” Fabricio muttered.
“Can you feel this?” asked Rosemary, suddenly fearful of the idea that he wasn’t fully sharing this experience.
He only laughed. With a gentle smile, he stroked her hair back from her face.
“Rosemary, I can see you; I can finally see how gorgeous you are naked, the color of your nipples and the creaminess of your skin. I can smell your perfume, or whatever it is that makes your hair smell so damn good. I can taste your tongue, and the sweetness of your lips. I can hear your sighs and those little cries you make – oh my god, you turn me on. And yes, I can feel you. I feel myself inside you, and the texture of your skin beneath my hands. I absolutely feel it.”
He lowered his hands to her hips and began rocking her up and down. Letting go, Rosemary relaxed into his embrace. Her body followed his lead, feeling the strength in his arms as he raised and lowered her on his erection. Although his hips didn’t move, she felt each penetration like a raw thrust.
“For a long time, I was angry about my legs,” Fabricio went on, moderating his tone, filling in the pauses in their lovemaking with his words. “That was before I realized how goddamn lucky I am. Since I was twelve years old, I’ve been figuring out my body and how to use it. Do you know how many parapalegic guys have to totally change their idea of what sex is? What orgasm is? I never did, that’s how much luck I’ve got. Who cares if it feels different for me than for other guys; I’ll never know, so don’t worry about it. I can give you everything you need. I can get hard for you. I can come for you. One day,” his voice was back to a whisper, matching the rhythm of his arms guiding her down, “I can even give you a baby.”
She moaned, surrendering to his seductive words, and his touch. Rosemary felt her inner muscles tighten, her core aching with the need to be filled. Never had she felt this turned on. He filled her body and her mind, the complete lover.
“You’d like that, Rosemary?” he said softly in her ear.
“More than anything.”
“Then let me give it to you. Let me give everything to you.”
It was all too much; Rosemary cried out as she felt her orgasm building. Fabricio let go of her hips so she could move, and she rocked herself rapidly against his cock, feeling it hit her G-spot with rhythmic bumps. Holding her with one strong arm, Fabricio maneuvered his free hand down between them and pressed his thumb against her clit. Rosemary gasped, shuddered, and abandoned her body to the whooshing ripples of pleasure.
Somewhere in the midst of her climax, she reached for Fabricio’s chest and found his nipples. Gently she pinched them between her fingers, but even that light touch seemed to affect him like a wrench. He grunted sharply, throwing back his head and gritting his teeth.
“Holy sh—I’m coming,” he hissed, and his fingers clenched on her buttocks as his torso began to jerk in the harsh, helpless throes of orgasm. Rosemary tightened her thighs around his hips, spread her hands wide across his chest, and held on for the ride.
They sat together, her on his lap, both breathing heavily for several minutes afterwards. Rosemary layered tiny kisses along his jaw line and neck, tracing a trail back up to his lips. Fabricio cupped her ass in his hands, squeezing with teasing pressure—a sexy reminder of her earlier spanking. Eventually, Rosemary nuzzled his neck and stood, releasing their bodies from their intimate connection.
“That was amazing,” she murmured.
“Hell yeah, it was.” He pulled her into a generous kiss. When he looked up at her again, his eyes were soft and hopeful. “Did you, ah, plan to stay the night?”
Rosemary smiled timidly. “I didn’t know. I brought a bag with all the stuff I need for tomorrow… just in case.”
Fabricio’s smile lit up the whole room. “Fantastic! God, you are wonderful.” He kissed her again, deeply and with tongue. “I can’t wait to sleep next to you tonight. And wake up next to you tomorrow. Maybe have a little more of this in the morning…”
“Set your alarm early, then,” Rosemary said with a laugh. “Because I have to be at work before eight!”
“You got it.”
With a happy sigh, he rolled away enough to finish taking off his jeans and underwear, replacing it with a pair of gray sweatpants. Then he clicked the armrests back into the wheelchair. All of this seems like such a process, Rosemary thought. I’ll just have to get used to it, I guess. Just know some things take longer, some things will be different. Everything will be better, though. With him.
Finally dressed, Fabricio wheeled over to his desk and grabbed a little bag out of the top drawer. Seeing her curious look, he smiled and said, “Catheter. Gotta do it. Be right back… and you’ll be in bed, waiting for me, right?”
With a flirty twist of her hips, Rosemary leaped into his tiny dorm-sized bed. Fabricio chuckled. “Oh, now you do what I ask. Don’t want another spanking, then?”
“Not tonight. Maybe tomorrow…”
Shaking his head, still laughing, he rolled out the door, careful to close it before anyone in the hall could catch a glimpse of Rosemary inside.
They made love again, waking in the early hours of the morning with passion overwhelming any desire for sleep. Fabricio, it turned out, was amazing at oral sex. Rosemary decided she must have found the world champion of cunnilingus. As she lay back against his shoulder, spent and panting after her second orgasm of the night, Fabricio leaned over and kissed her cheek.
“This is unbelievable,” he whispered. “But when we tell our kids how we met, let’s just mention the art museum, okay?”