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To Love That Well
Naked and perspiring slightly, Control was setting up the last minute things he needed in the bedroom of his residence. Earlier in the day he had hung the often-used "love" swing onto the sturdy hook secured in the ceiling. Although the swing looked more like a chair hammock for one, you sat across its width rather than along its length. There was a newly purchased padded cushion on the swing for added comfort and he had bought new vials of his favorite exotic oils to use on tonightís very special partner. But the chairís new leather straps werenít as soft and pliable as the old ones and right now, he was annoyed that they werenít as easy to use.
"I swear to God. One damn day I am going to lose all patience!" He had been having trouble with the clasps on the belts and had tugged on the leather strap a little harder than he wanted to.
The nude woman who was lying on her stomach on the swing gave a soft "Ooph!"
"Sorry Roz, did I hurt you?"
"No, not really, I'm not complaining."
Control stepped back to examine what he had done. He had looped the straps around Rozís knees and onto the chair, holding her legs wide apart, and had also attached handholds at her sides so that she could keep her balance when she raised her behind to get into the desired position on the swing. He had already checked the height so that when she got on her knees, her deep, café-au-lait colored butt was at just the right level for easiest access.
"Is it too tight?" he asked, feeling an anxiety that was unusual to him
"No," Roz said as she raised her head to look at the bungee ropes that ran up a few feet and were attached to the ceiling. She weaved her fingers together to make a cushion and rested her chin there. "Although I was wondering how long I might have to be on my knees on the swing. It canít be that attractive and I feel kindaÖ exposed with my legs so far apart. Where I come from, a lady never does this!" she smirked.
"Thatís the point of this evening, Roz, youíll be doing things in a very different way." Control took a deep breath and looked around the room and at the oils and paraphernalia that stood on a small wooden table nearby. "If everything goes well, youíll be in a kneeling position Ö maybe an hour."
Roz let off a peel of laughter, "Oy Gavalt! You mean I might be here skewered for an hour? Are you sure of that? Goodness!" She laughed some more.
Control couldnít help but let a smile escape. Roz looked delectably subjugated and in his power. "I told you that it was an ancient ritual from Irian Jaya in Indonesia. Remember, a man there only has to slip his penis into a good-sized gourd to consider himself well dressed. They have their own unique ideas of fun."
Roz turned her head, looked up at him and caught his eye, smiling all the while. "Iíd guess so! But darling, just remember, Iím comfy enough now, but I don't know if I can take being on my knees for too long. Iím not one of those young nubile things you're used to. Maybe you can keep this going for an hour, but I've gotta warn you, I might get a leg cramp."
Chuckling lightly, Control felt light-hearted for a change; Roz did that for him, helped him feel like laughing. "The give and take of the bungee cords will ease the pressure and take most of your weight off your knees. And you can always grab a hold of any part of the swing with your hands and shift your position to get more comfortable."
He lit two of the candles and then dimmed the lights in the room. He walked around the swing and checked the bindings that kept Roz's legs wide apart, exposing her female area to the air. He knew Roz was following his every movement with her eyes and he stepped behind her to get a full view of her bound position.
She looked ready for him to begin the ritual. And what a lovely sight it was.
He could hardly believe his luck that he finally gotten to know this woman. Roz had been working for the Company for over seventeen years and he had known her only slightly, in passing. She had worked under Ed Simmons as an Intelligence Analyst for most of that time, and as his Section Leader for the last couple of years.
Control had heard some smatterings of gossip that Simmonsí Intelligence Analyst Section leader was really responsible for his sectorís great batting average, but personally he never gave it much attention. There had never been any squawking from any of Simmonsí crew and Control had learned long ago to leave good workers alone. Simmonsí IAS people sat all day in darkened rooms, green light flickering from computers that were constantly being fed information by spies all over the globe. They always did a good job and there hadnít been any complaints.
It was only five months ago that Simmons had been retired, and Jacob Stock had been assigned to take over the position. Stock was not happy with the post. He was young and still eager to prove himself in the field, where he was good, but Control recognized that Stock was just the type of man for the multi-tasked job of Head of IAS South.
Almost from the first day, Stock's section had been making amazing breakthroughs in anticipating the next steps of the terrorist organizations in that zone. When Control had brought Stock into his private office to congratulate him, Stock had insisted that it wasnít only his superb leadership skills that were responsible for cracking the terroristís codes. He insisted that Control meet his crackerjack analysts and thank them, not him, for the skilled job.
In particular, Stock wanted Control to thank a certain member of his team -- one Roz Cohen. She had been working in the Company for years and because of her natural talent as an analyst, she had been regularly promoted and now was the senior analyst leader.
Control had made his way to that part of the building to thank the troops and inform them of how well the Company appreciated their work. He had personally shaken every one of the analystís hands while Stock had stood at his side, beaming at his crew. Stock made an especially glowing introduction as Control took Rozís hand.
Control had remembered meeting her before, and she had always struck him as the matronly type, a usual sort of woman. She had never made much of an impression on him. From a distance Roz Cohen looked to be in her late thirties. She was not very tall, perhaps five foot six, had black hair and more than a hint of African American blood in her. Her slightly plump frame was clothed in a conservative dark suit, well cut but not pricey. Her dusky complexion was neither too dark nor light as to warrant a second look.
But the most amazing thing happened when Control actually concentrated on her. As he touched her hand, exchanged some witty pleasantries and truly looked at her face, he went beyond the outside facade and caught a glimpse of the real woman radiating from two very warm brown eyes. Suddenly, he recognized an intelligence and a graceful beauty that hit him like a Louisville slugger.
Now, a short four months later in his home, in his secured bedroom, he ran his hand lightly over Roz's exposed private parts. She sighed at his touch.
His already comfortably full erection throbbed even more as he enjoyed the texture of her flesh. "You know," he murmured, "Robert and I once did this ritual together and kept it going for almost three hours."
"Oh my God!" Roz shook her head, making the swing bounce on its bungee cord ropes. "Now I know that there has to be a missing detail to that story! Together?"
"In Irian Jaya, where I first preformed this. We shared in the ritual." In his mind, he saw the jungle village, the sacred hut and a doe-eyed woman. "What else would I mean?"
"Sorry." Roz sighed, "Never mind. I must be a little confused. What do you mean three hours?" She strained to look at him and winked salaciously. "Wow! When am I going to get to meet Robert McCall again?"
They both laughed, each knowing that she had meant it as a joke and nothing more.
Control poured some warm yak butter onto his hands and rubbed them together. Then he started to apply the oil to Roz's nude body. The lit tapers caught the sheen of the balm on her dark skin and she began to shimmer in the flickering candlelight.
"We had been stationed in Indonesia for three months and were just about to be air transported back to civilization after a brutal but successful mission. The last night there, we gave to in to the invitation of the natives to partake of their good luck ritual."
Roz was making a sound very like a purr as he spread the warmed oil over her round flanks.
"Since this was a special night that was supposed to bring both of us great luck and long life, we were told that we would share the honored maiden for the ritual."
Roz became quiet.
Control stopped rubbing her back. "Roz? Whatís the matter? Have you changed your mind?"
"No," she said, "But I donít understand -- share the woman?"
"Here, Iíll show you." He helped her get into a kneeling position on her knees with her ass raised up, leaning on her forearms. "I was behind her," he said, gently steadying her on the swing. Then he kept his hand on her as he walked around to the front, "and Robert was near her face, where I am now."
She turned away from his swollen member and shut her eyes. "Oh, So both of youÖ" Her voice was quiet.
"Yes, Roz. Remember, the woman thought it was a great honor to be able to bring luck to the foreigners who had protected her village. There had been a lottery in the great hut where all the woman of the village lived together and only the willing women vied for the privilege."
"Iím not judging, honestly darling" she said, "Itís just that it never occurred to me that youíd agree to have sex with another man."
Annoyed, Control winced. "Oh, for Godís sake Ė "
"No, really itís fine with me, none of my business in fact!" she interrupted, the swing bouncing as she shifted her weight "It's just that I never thought of you and McCall asÖ"
Control grabbed the swing, turned it slightly and smacked his palm gently on her full rump. "Quiet for a second!" he ordered.
Roz stopped talking "Yes sir," she said, her voice soft.
"Robert and I agreed to the ritual because we were the guests in a village of brave people who had risked their lives for us and we for them. We had a lot of respect for that tribe. And Ö" he shrugged, "Ö we had been drinking the local brew when we agreed to do it."
"Oh," she murmured faintly.
"And we shared the woman, we didnít have sex with each other. I told you that the ritual has to do with exchanging the energy of the great power, according to their God, Lord Mansren. Women have the power of giving life, which is stored in their bodies. When the ritual is performed, all the bodily orifices of the female are filled and so her energy seeps into the man, or men, who are inside her."
"Thatís why thereís the other thingies that youíre going to use in me right? It all has to do with energy." She shook her head, setting the swing off on another bounce, "Fine. Itís fine, really. I agreed to try something different, and I will, no problem!" Her voice tried to sound light and carefree, but at the end of her sentence, it cracked ever so softly.
"Let me explain it to you again." He pointed to the table. "The anal finger and the mouth bit make sure that your energy all goes to me. According to the ritual, when Robert and I shared, we both received the blessing of the womanís life force at the same time."
She closed her eyes and shook her head ever so slightly, and to Control, it seemed as if she was trying not to picture it. "But you did do it Öwell, were there, together, right?"
"So was the whole tribe!" Irritated, he went on. "They were chanting and singing and pounding out rhythms on drums as we performed the ritual. Robert and I also had to hold onto each otherís forearms and concentrate on the shamanís words."
Roz looked up, clearly listening intently, concentrating on understanding him. He felt his annoyance fall away as his eyes caught her expression. She was so willing and set on pleasing him. He was lucky to be with her.
He spoke gently, "It all seemed right at the time, like a test or a game of chess Ė or fencing, parrying and thrusting, speculating your opponentís next moves. We were enveloped in the spirit of the place and the time. Or maybe it was the drink that weíd been given. Whatever, it was a remarkable experience." Again the memory of the shy but proud woman came to mind. Fachriah was her name.
Roz was quiet. Still on her knees, she had turned her face away from him again.
"Roz?" He said, moving his hands lightly over her legs. "Look, I warned you that my taste and history runs to the Ė unusual. Have you changed your mind? We can stop. Itíll be all right if you donít want to continue."
Shaking her head, Rozís voice sounded strained. "No! I told you that I donít mind trying anything that you might want to do and that Iíll let you know loud and clear if I want out. I might not have had that much experience, dear, but it doesnít mean that Iím a prude. Stop thinking that the kind of sex youíve been practicing is too bizarre for me already! Stop insisting that youíre too strange a man for me to be involved with. God! I was just thinking that youíve lived through all the adventures that Iíve only read about in reports that have come over my desk."
After a moment Roz grabbed onto the handholds on the swing and turned her head to smile at him. Relief swept through him, everything was going to be all right. Rozís resilient good nature was amazing!
She then shifted her weight to her knees, bounced a few times and playfully shook her rear end. "Come on." Her voice had become light and teasing, "Letís get this show on the road!"
Control chuckled, "Yes. Maíam!" Reassured, he turned to the table and picked up a small marble vial. He opened it, enjoyed the spicy aroma and poured a few drops on his fingers. Stepping behind Roz, he steadied the swing, then lightly spread the fragrant liquid into her most private parts. "Howís that feel?"
She moaned, " Umm, itís warm and Ö itís spreading its warmthÖoh my God!" She said breathlessly as she began to squirm, her movements causing the swing to sway even more.
Control picked up the anal finger and rubbed it with the liquid that was left on his fingers. He stopped the movement of the swing and placed it at the opening of her tight ass then gently pushed its tip into her.
Roz gasped, but it sounded as if it had an edge of panic to it.
Immediately, Control realized that he didnít like the sound of her experiencing discomfort Ė even for a moment. He withdrew the finger and threw it to the side.
"Did I do something wrong?" her voice was high and sounded slightly frightened.
"No," he said, suddenly feeling dissatisfied, "I donít feel like doing the complete ritual." As he spoke, he picked a condom off the table and fitted it onto himself. "Weíll just use the swing alone tonight."
She swallowed loud enough for him to hear it. "Are you sure? You went to a lot of troubleÖ"
Without a word, he bounced the swing once and then positioned her ass so that her vaginal entrance was right at the level of his erection. Roughly, he slid into her and was gratified by the sweetness of her gasps. He began to move the swing to his own rhythms, bouncing it slightly as he rocked them both.
He had always liked using the swing. He could do as he liked to the women, without fighting gravity or taking any extra time to make sure that they were comfortable. The swing made sex easy with as little fuss as possible.
But, right at that moment, he wasnít enjoying himself. He found that he didnít want sex with Roz to be easy. He wanted to see her face, to see if she was pleased by his ministrations. He wanted to work at satisfying her.
Giving it one more try, he thrust into her Ė hard --, bouncing the swing in a large orbit. No, he decided, it was no good. It wasnít doing anything for him this way.
Roz was still moaning with pleasure as he held the condom in place and pulled out of her. Bruskly, he started unhooking the straps that held her to the swing.
"Whatís going on? Whatís wrong?" her voice was slurred as he helped her get off the swing and onto her unsteady feet, her face first radiated frustrated lust and then sorrow, "Iíll try harder. What did I do wrong?" Her eyes were tearing up as she stood in front of him, "Iíve disappointed you! I knew it, Iím sorry I guess Iím not Ö" She started to turn away from him
Control took her by the shoulders and struggled with her until she looked him in the eyes. He tried to concentrate on her face, but it was difficult not to take notice of her soft round breasts as he shook her gently.
"I decided I wanted to enjoy all of you. I donít want to use you as part of a sexual practice." He couldnít help that his voice was now husky with emotion. "Roz, I want to make love to you. Iíve had a lifetime filled with forgotten women, whisky breathed embraces and every sort of sexual paraphernalia imaginable." He held onto her shoulders tightly. "Iíve just realized that I donít need any erotic enhancers with you."
Roz smiled through her tears, then stepped forward into his embrace, her arms around his waist, clutching him tightly. "You sure?"
He felt himself respond powerfully to their full body contact. His voice was thick with his feelings. "All I have to do is be near you to be ready to make love. You make me happy Roz." He was amazed, but he was telling the truth.
He turned her around and steered her toward the bed. Roz sprawled languidly on the mattress, and he followed. She reached for him, gripped his sheathed erection, and then guided him into her.
Control opened his eyes briefly to glance at his bedside clock and the blinking message machine that sat next to it. Two AM.
He and Roz had been enjoying each otherís bodies since their third date, but Control had made sure to behave as conventionally as he could. As soon as he felt that they were getting too close, he started to become uncomfortable. He was not the type of man that connected to people well. He had tried to warn Roz off, telling her that he was a man with atypical tastes and a history of exploring his unusual proclivities. He wanted to test her seemingly limitless affection for him but Roz had insisted that she had accepted all of him. When she proclaimed she had an open-minded willingness to join him in his erotic practices, he had cleared this evening of all appointments so that he could introduce Roz to one of his more unusual entertainments.
He had put a lot of thought into choosing tonightís event. At first he considered outrageous scenarios filled with leather and ropes, but that kind of play hadnít ever interested him, it was too much like dress up, with too little use of the imagination. When he had finally decided on the Irian Jaya ritual, he realized that he had put Rozís likes and preferences before his own. That fact alone proved that this relationship was an unusual one for him and that Roz was a unique woman.
Now, waking relaxed and happy in his dimly lit bedroom after hours of simple, plain sex with this woman, he realized that he was enjoying himself more than he had in the past two decades; and he had spent those decades sampling some of the most sexually sophisticated women in the world.
As he gazed at her lovely sleeping face, he realized what he had to do next. He had no choice.
Swallowing anger and frustration was part of his business Ė part of what he did for a living. The job of Control had fashioned him into something different from most men. He was used to sitting on it, keeping his own counsel. Living the majority of his adult life alone and unloved what was expected of him, what he expected of himself. But now, with decades as Control behind him, now with the discovery that he might want more in life, more in the form of this wondrous woman who was sleeping snuggled at his side, now he required a most difficult task of himself. He was going to permit himself to feel Ė actually experience all the joys and all the horrors of love. Knowing that there wasnít much love left in his heart to share made the decision all the more difficult.
When he was young, he had loved Susan with every inch of his soul, and after she had run away from him he had nearly drowned in the agony. After her, he made a change. He had boxed up what little love he had left in him and tucked it away in the dungeon of his "withered" heart. McCall had named his heart such years ago, when Control had mercilessly chided him about yet another of his "Love Of His Life" failed romances. His oldest friend had shot back that Control had no notion of what love really was, because his heart had withered.
To Control the description ó sadly Ė felt right.
But with Roz, Control knew he had no choice. His emotions were pumped full of lifeís blood again. She was kind and welcoming, he was cold and cynical, but when they were together, he forgot about that. He forgot about everything. Well, almost everything.
Learned suspicions were what had shaped his life Ė what had saved his life on more occasions then he cared to admit. His heart might be emerging from its withered cocoon, but his mind was as nimble as ever. He was still Control. He had already taken action to clear some of those suspicions by asking Robert McCall to run his own check on her.
Roz already had the Companyís highest security clearance, but he couldnít stop his lifelong habit of skepticism. He couldnít dismiss a nagging possibility that she might be a KGB mole, planted in the Company for decades, waiting under deep cover for the perfect opportunity to slip into a ripe situation, such as becoming romantically involved with a high-ranking Company administrator.
Control was wondering if one of the blinking lights on his machine was Robert with his information on Roz, when the sound of her breathing changed. With her eyes still closed, she pulled him closer to her and he responded by kissing her with all the tender feeling he had.
She raised her eyelids slightly to gaze at him. "Nice." She smiled.
Control scanned her, filling his eyes with the way she looked. "Oh Roz," his heart was bursting with a feeling of desperation, "the more I stare at you to memorize your face, the more I never want to leave you." He was amazed at the sincerity behind his words.
Yet even at that moment, his lifetime of habit reminded him that his answering machine was winking, letting him know that there were messages impatient for his attention. He started to get up.
"Whereíre you going?" Roz said, her voice muffled by the blanket she had pulled up over them.
"Messages on the machine waiting for me."
Roz opened her eyes, looking fully awake now. "Should I leave you alone to hear them?" She started to throw the blanket off
"No," he protested, " Iíll go into my study," but in the dim light he saw Roz suddenly grimace.
"Iím all gooey with yak butter Ė among other things. Yeech!"
He smiled and pulled the blanket back over both their bodies and filled his arms with her. "If we start to moving against each other, weíll warm the butter up and we wonít be gooey anymore."
She moved against him, and then plucked at the sheets with her fingers. "Will this stuff wash out?"
He laughed out loud, "Roz, who cares about that?" He stopped suddenly. "Why?" Do you want to wash out my sheets?"
Roz humphed, "I am not for hire, Sweetheart."
He slipped his hand behind her head and entangled his fingers inside the tight curls of her hair. In the dimmed light of a single lamp that was still lit near the swing, he could see her face, pleased, looking back at him.
"Iím not a flighty man..." he said out of the blue. He felt his face set into stone.
"Somehow, I knew that," she murmured, grinning.
"Iím not very demonstrative, not very good at personal involvements. Iím not the sort to fall in loveÖ"
The grin slipped away from her face, and where she was pressed tightly to his body, he could feel her heart start to beat quickly. Fleetingly, he wondered if she could feel his heart trying to free itself from his ribcage.
He continued, "I know that weíve only been seeing each other for four months. I donít want to ruin what weíve been enjoying togetherÖbutÖ."
He felt her hands grip his wrists.
"Please," Roz said, "I want to tell you something." Tears welled up in her eyes, "And I need to say it now. I think."
He nodded, afraid of what he was going to hear.
She cleared her throat, and stared into his eyes, never blinking. "Iíve spent the last years of my life alone, at peace with the fact that Iíd only loved two men in my life. Thatís it for my whole life, you understand. Only two. My father Ė a remarkable man who adored my mother so completely and with so much of his heart that his family felt obliged to overlook any of her differences and learned to love her too. And because of that amazing bond, my mother left her past and converted to his religion. They both fought the rest of the world to make my childhood a happy one."
"The second man I loved was also remarkable, Joseph. You know about him, He was with the Company. He was a good agent, a good man, who loved his country so much he dedicated himself to working for its protection. And loved me just as much, I know that. When he was killed, I knew that I would never need to love anyone else again. I was one of those one-man women. It wasnít romantic foolishness, just fact."
Control felt his heart begin to break. She was letting him know that she couldnít care for him.
"Even though he died, Joseph was still with me. I knew that."
He waited for the next shoe to fall, for the next sentence to dry up what was left of his heart.
"When you and I started seeing each other, I was happy that we could simply enjoy each other. I knew you werenít the type to become involved with anyone. I wasnít either. As we got closer, I was happy to have spent time with you. But just the other day, it suddenly dawned on me that even if you left me, you would still be in my heart." She rushed to finish her sentence. "I realized that youíre the third man Iíve loved in my life.
He couldnít believe it! "RozÖ"
"Oh donít worry. I know who you are and what your life has been like. I donít expect you to return my feelings. Iím not a flighty person either. Itís simply how it is. Even if you walk away from me I will still love you and feel grateful for anytime we had together." She took a deep breath, "Now," she said, "tell me what you were going to say. Itís your turn."
He pressed his face into her hair and gripped her, as if holding on for dear life. "Marry me," he managed to say.
She jumped in his arms "What?"
"I want you with me. Forever. Never leave me." He was kissing her now, his words half whispered in her mouth. "I wonít be able to go on without you now that Iíve found you. If you leave me Iíll break," His voice deepened in a fevered plea, "Do you understand me?"
Tears were flowing freely down her cheeks. "I canít believe it. I was sure you were going to give me my walking papers. I never dreamed you felt the way I feel about you."
"I know weíve only been together four months," he said, "If you want to think about it some moreÖ"
"Yes and no. Yes, I will marry you and no, I donít need to wait one blessed day more." Roz beamed up at him. "I told you. I know itís right." She smiled mischievously. "And I am not a flighty person."
"I donít know about that anymore." He sighed deeply. "Maybe we are, and just never got the chance to realize it," he said as he once again became lost in her arms.
The clock by his bed said three forty five when he looked at it next. The message machine was blinking furiously. He wondered again if one of the messages was from Robert with his report on Roz.
He knew he should see what the messages were, but he decided it would wait. He wanted to enjoy having another hour or two being happy. Uproariously happy. He had spent his life working to keep democracy safe and he thought he deserved to experience joy Ė if only for just a while longer.
He tried to get back to sleep. He closed his eyes, enjoying the sweetest sensation he could imagine, Roz sleeping soft as a kitten, burrowed in at his side.
But his steel trap of a mind wouldnít let it go. What if Robert had found something about Roz? Something that would prove she was not the woman he prayed she was?
He reached for the phone, but stopped himself and dropped his hand back onto the bed.
It wouldnít change a thing Ė he knew it. Even he, the warped, cold-hearted Company man was too far-gone now. He was bound to this woman forever and nothing Robert could say would change that. No, he loved her and that was that. Even if she did turn out to be a KGB mole, he couldnít change the love he felt for her.
Even if she were KGB, they would still be married and would still enjoy a fine honeymoon. And then, after some time to harvest joyful memories, he knew that he had it in him Ė learned from decades of living his life as Control Ė to find out if those lines from Shakespeare's Sonnet were true.
"This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long."
Because if she were KGB, he would kill her himself.
It was still a win/win proposition.
Control was aware that, for the first time in years, he was smiling when he drifted off to sleep.