More: Two Prize-Winning Stories In One Volume. In "Julienne", Rita and Marcus are on the razor's edge of a failing marriage. A dark dip into some knife play may resurrect what she thought was lost. "Putting Kitty In Her Place" finds Kitty getting her just desserts for giving her big, dominant-behind-closed-doors husband Ben more than a hard time. WARNING: EXPLICIT SEX, LANGUAGE & CORPORAL PUNISHMENT
“How am I supposed to slice these?” I sigh.
The carrots are big and fat and dirty. The green tops still attached, bits of root hang here and there. Marcus cannot stand anything but fresh produce. And fresh is not from the grocery store. No. Fresh is from the farmer’s market. Even on a Sunday he will rise at the crack of dawn for a carrot or a radish or a head of cabbage. Not for me, thought. If I try to wake him at the crack of dawn with a warm caress along his hard cock, he mumbles apologies and rolls over.
“Julienne, Rita. I have told you that ten times. Very thin strips. Like match sticks.” He mimics a chef slicing carrots and frowns at me.
If his voice weren’t so damn deep, he would sound prissy. He rubs his stubbly jaw and I can hear the rasp of his calluses over his face. I stare, open mouthed, and for just a split second I can imagine slicing him right across the forehead with the knife. Not killing him. No. I’m not insane. But lately, I would not be averse to seeing him put in his place. A little blood might remind him of the for better or worse part of our vows. It doesn’t get much worse than your wife fantasizing about slitting your skin open like a fish.
I set the knife down gently. So gently, it barely makes a sound on the dark marble counter. “Cut the fucking carrots yourself,” I say.
Marcus turns to me, his face an interesting mix of anger and frustration. It’s funny how when you are really and truly enraged, you notice things. Time seems to slow, voices seem to draw out like warm taffy unwilling to break. All the little details swim to the surface of reality. “Rita. Cut those carrots. I asked you to help. You said you would. Don’t be such a bitch.”
We stare at each other. Him with more gray in his hair than when we met. More lines around his blue eyes. A deep furrow in his brow from being so fucking intense. An extra ten pounds that works fine on his lean muscular frame. I try to remember the last time he smiled at me. Really smiled. The way he used to. The grin he would give me right before pinning me up against the nearest surface and taking me. Hard, soft, hurried, lazy. However he would take me, it was always good. It always worked. Now there is a lot of taut energy between us. Anger, confusions, distance. The distance is the worst.
“No.” I draw the word out and taste it on my tongue like his precious Tupelo honey. Fuck him. He can cut his own goddamn carrots. I am tired of watching my husband molest fruits and vegetables. Bored with watching him fondle mangoes and pomegranates. Frustrated beyond belief at the way he can stroke a tomato or a peach but he can’t touch me. Not like that. Not anymore. Now it is all rushed and perfunctory and cold. “I will not.”
He steps forward and the feel of him is menacing. It hangs in the air like a sharp odor. I have never felt any fear toward Marcus but my belly flutters with a low buzzing anxiety. I take a step back without realizing it. When my hip bangs the counter, I come back to myself. My heart is racing and my hands are doing the fidgety thing they do when I am nervous. I feel his bright blue gaze on me and try to stop them. I manage to wrangle my left hand, my right has a mind of its own. It twists in the hem of my brown tank tops until the fabric is pinching my fingers.
Marcus picks up the knife and regards it. He turns it this way and that as the kitchen light catches in the blade. The long silver implement shoots white beams of light around the room. Sunbeams from the window over the kitchen sink, bounce and dance. I watch, fascinated as he moves the knife toward me. My breathing slows, my face grows hot. My stomach cramps like I just ate something cold way too fast. “Marcus.”
“Shut up, darling,” he says and he rests the sharp silver tip against the thin fabric of my tank. His big hand plucks the fabric forward just a touch and he cuts the top. It gives way with an easy hiss. After all, it is nothing but thin cotton over warm skin. The tip of the knife doesn’t touch me until Marcus is past my belly button. My top is now a vest and he presses the point to the pale white skin right above my waistband.