It was like she couldn't get the words out fast enough. "And I have 6 discharges tomorrow with no follow up scheduled yet and I haven't even been able to contact some of the families and..."
"Is there anything you can do about any of that tonight?" he asked her, gently stopping the torrent of her work recap.
"No. But! I still need to eat dinner. And wash some clothes for tomorrow. And make sure the kids are ok...."
"Shh," he said comfortingly. "I've already washed and folded the clothes. And I told the kids mommy was working late so they're already asleep. You're done for the day."
She sighed deeply.
He put his hand on her cheek, gently moving her head so she was looking directly into his eyes. "Relaaaax," he said, stretching the word out meaningfully. His tone shifted too, to something deep and steady. "You're home. You're safe. Just relax, now."
It had been a while since she heard him speak like this. She missed it.
Too bad it wouldn't work. She was way too stressed. She almost felt herself get caught in his gaze for a moment but- then her anxiety rushed back in, like a wave crashing over a too-short wall.
His hand moved around to rub the back of her neck.
"I'm sorry," she said. "I'm just so stressed I can't THINK it's like I try and it's just STATIC in my head. I sat in the parking lot for 5 minutes before I could even make myself drive home."
"Mmmmm," he murmured, still rubbing her neck. "Breathe, honey."
He breathed in and out slowly to demonstrate. She found herself following along, taking a few deep breaths before even thinking about it. Between the breathing and his light neck massage, she was beginning to feel better.
He made sure he had her gaze before offering- "If you want, I could make things simpler for you for a bit. Would you like that?"
A shiver ran through her at the sound of her old trigger- "simpler". It had been some time since they had done this but they both understood what he was offering. Would it still work?
She nodded her head but didn't want to disappoint him or herself- not after so long.
"I want to? But I honestly don't know how I'll respond," she said, "I can barely concentrate right now."
But even as she was protesting, she found herself automatically following his hand as it floated just above her forehead. Another of their old signals, this one nonverbal: "Pay attention".
His fingers came closer and closer to her forehead before finally touching, rubbing a small spiral right in the middle.
"Shhhhh...." his voice soothed.
Something inside her shifted.
It wasn't a quick, profound drop like she had experienced in the past but- she found herself instinctively closing her eyes anyway. When she did, the noise in her head seemed to quiet down automatically.
"Good," he said. "That's perfect. You remember just how to do this, don't you? I know you do. It's like riding a bicycle - part of you never forgets."
"I know you talked about having static in your head- but maybe we can use that to help you let go a bit more. Static doesn't have to be harsh, you know. Maybe your static is like- a white noise generator, blocking anything unnecessary out. Quiet and soothing. Like the one you listen to when you go to sleep. Just- think of that gentle static playing while you sleep. Helping you rest. You can notice it- and then you can let it all fade into the background. It just makes everything quieter, doesn't it? Simpler. "
She nodded her head, easily caught in his instructions. The shudder that went through her at the trigger felt more profound this time.
She remembered the old imagery they had worked on- the wheels of the clockwork of her thoughts slowing. Slowing. Grinding to a halt.
As she pictured those slowing gears, she could feel her inner monologue growing distant and dreamlike. Her awareness moved from her lumbering thoughts to her body- almost like her mind itself had moved from her head to somewhere in her chest. Her senses began heightening and she was drawn more and more to what the room smelled like, how the carpet felt, the gentle sound of the ceiling fan. She found herself getting lost in a world of sensation.
"That's good, honey," he encouraged. "You don't need to think right now. I've got all your bigger thoughts for safekeeping. You remember how to be simpler for me, don't you? No big words, no big thoughts. Just how you feel in this moment. OK?"
She nodded. It was the easiest way to communicate now. She still had some words but- it was easier not to use them when she was simpler. She trusted him to understand what she needed without bothering to speak.
"Good. Can you open your eyes for me?"
"How does your body feel right now?" he asked.
She checked- mentally scanning herself from head to toe.
"Tired," she replied eventually. "Hungry."
She looked up at him.
"Do you want some food?"
It took her a few moments to contemplate the thought before she eventually replied with a simple: "Yes".
He smiled at her in a way that might have struck her as patronizing at a different time.
His smile caused an unexpected spike in another sensation- one that had been hiding underneath all of her stress all along.
"I'm going to warm dinner up- we'll have it here," he was saying. "I'll be right back."
"Wait!" she cried, suddenly.
He stopped and turned back, curiously.
Now she needed to find words again.
Her brows crossed as she tuned into her body in that slow, deep way that came with this state. There was a heat between her legs that spread upwards as she noticed it more thoroughly. She began to notice the feeling of the air on her arms and the slight way her bra rubbed against her breasts when she breathed. "Horny?" she said, finally finding the right word for how she was feeling.
He laughed. "Good girl. Yeah- that old conditioning is still working for you, huh? I bet you feel horny right now. Does it feel good?"
She nodded, that response coming much more quickly than most.
It DID feel good.
Without really thinking about it, her hands moved to her right breast, squeezing it.
THAT felt even better.
"Mmmm- I guess that's my answer then, huh?" he asked. "Tell you what- you need to eat before we do anything else. So- I'm going to go get the food. But while I'm doing that? You can touch yourself as much as you want. Do whatever feels good to your body, ok?"
She nodded again, barely paying attention to his words. Her hands moved all over her flesh as she caressed her newly sensitive skin rapturously. She wanted to touch everywhere.
"My only rule is that you don't come, ok? I want to save that for later."
She nodded absently, focused on a wonderful spot she had found on the side of her stomach. Part of her brain was receiving his instructions but- she didn't have to think about that part. She just had to focus on touching.
He leaned over and kissed her on the forehead. "And stay nice and quiet while you touch, yeah? We don't want to wake anyone else up."
She nodded, biting back a moan as her hand finally slid to her pussy.
He looked on for a moment, seeming almost hypnotized himself by his writhing, almost animalistic wife.
Food first, he reminded himself.
Then putting a note in his phone to call the babysitter for her weekend availability. It had been FAR too long since they had played like this and next time?
He wanted her to be LOUD.