She could feel the nerves set in the moment her eyes opened.
Yes, He owns me, she told herself. Yes, He has married me as part of His claiming. Yes, He has had this body pierced because it pleases Him.
But she had always felt that ink was different. Legal contracts can be dissolved, albeit with some difficulty. Piercings can grow in. Tattoo removal is a lot more challenging.
So as permanent as those things are, she had both longed for and dreaded ink since He claimed her.
Yes, there was a sense of dread. Will this ink be bad luck? Am I etching what could become a painful daily reminder of loss onto my skin? What if He changes His mind? She questioned herself unmercifully.
People do that, after all. Leave.
So up until the moment the ink touched her skin, there was a sense that there was time to turn back. There was time to ask Him four more times if He is sure He wants her forever before we arrived at the deserted shop for the appointment.
He didn’t disappoint her, though. He reassured her like it was His profession. In a way, perhaps it is.
Warm thumb brushing across her knuckles, He drew her hand to His lips. The exhale of breath contained the quietest words, the weight of Atlas in their echo.
All that in a breath.
Inside, she had to pee four times while He and the artist finalized the design and put the stencil on twice. She knew it was just nerves and wished she’d had something to calm them, but nothing that would have helped would have been good for the process of inking.
Because of health issues, the ink was just for her. I carry this art for both of us, he had said. It is a weighty thought.
She tucked one hand into the small of her back, feeling the texture beneath her fingers as thoughts raced. There is still plenty of time to change my mind. The thought comforted her.
Suddenly, breasts bared to the empty room, the needle was on her skin. Her exhale was shaky as she groped for purchase with her free hand, finding Him beneath her palm. He lovingly lifted the hand and entwined her fingers with His own.
For the next hour, her eyes seldom left His face. There were moments of conversation she tried to focus on, but she was mostly far away. She found her happy place until the artist reached her floating ribs, and her vision swam a little as the pain that had been humming along at endorphin-triggering levels suddenly spiked.
“Just breathe normally,” she heard in her ear. Then a few minutes later, “Are you going pass out?”
He laughed. He knew her pain face well. “She’s fine,” He responded, her glazed eyes meeting His. The artist, understanding the collar, smiled and continued.
Her eyes roamed His face. His lips whispered for her, but she struggled to make sense of them.
Good girl and then Mine a few minutes later. Something in His proprietous gaze made her suspect the next sex they had would be full of rough hair pulling and urgent biting, ankles held captive so He could see His new mark.
A pause came in the buzzing, and something cold touching her skin. She mositened her lips. “Are you done?” she asked.
The artist laughed. “Men don’t generally like it when you ask that,” he responded.
The buzzing began again, catching the tender spots he wasn’t pleased with. After cleaning, he gently pressed a bandage to her skin and she absently slid her soft shirt over her head, piercings obvious in its thin, draped fabric.
He took care of the details as she floated along, awash in the endorphins that made the hour bearable.
They got in the car. “Show me,” He commanded.
She lifted her shirt obediently.
He made a sound close to growling. He crushed her mouth to His, rough in His passion. Mine, she heard again, only this time she felt it between her breasts and tasted it on His lips.