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Incomplete Story Idea - The Ritual

Lee came home and followed her typical wind-down ritual; Straight to the bedroom, pee, wash her hands and face, and then a few minutes sitting peacefully on the bed with her thoughts before getting dressed. It was the same thing every time she came home and the routine was comforting to her. She didn't even bother saying hi to anyone or kissing her boyfriend. Just straight to the room for 15 minutes of quiet.

She sat at the edge of the bed looking down into the bedside table's top drawer. She mentally cataloged the items in the drawer while thinking about her day. It had been a hard day with an absent boss and coworkers who seemed directionless. Every few minutes it seemed there was a new fire she was having to deal with. She didn't get done anything she had wanted to and she was sure her boss would have something to say about that tomorrow. It left her feeling uneasy and out of control. Worse, it left her indecisive about what to do next.

She continued staring into the drawer at the accessories there. Was she in a mood to dominate or be dominated, was she in a soft mood or a hard mood, was it a popcorn and movie night or a bondage night or just a sleepy, nothing, night. She cursed at herself a little for being indecisive and a a little more for not stopping and saying 'hi' to Max on the way in. At least if she had stopped she could have seen what kind of mood he was in and adjusted appropriately.

Then again doing that, adjusting to his mood, wouldn't have been honest. He had reminded her time and time again that the idea behind wearing one of the chokers wasn't about him and his mood, it was entirely about her and her mood. He had his tail-tell tokens, his rings, and she had hers, the chokers.

They had each had problems reading the other and so had decided on this unconventional approach to the problem. They each would take a few minutes after coming home and collect themselves. Then each had to be honest about their mood and indicate outwardly through the tokens what that mood was. Sometimes there was a sexual element, other times not. It was more about indicating to the other the best way to connect, or even the starting position for negotiation.

For instance if Max wore his plain silver band alone he just wanted a simple night without complications. Typically this meant he didn't want to be asked a lot of questions, a shoulder rub went over well, an hour of TV or a little bit of game time together and then bed. Sex was optional but usually not declined. These nights were hard to get compromise on. Typically they happened when there were too many demands at work or he felt overwhelmed in some way. However, she knew she could get a shoulder massage out of him, that if she wanted sex he wouldn't turn her away, and that every now and then those were good nights to get him to take her to get good ice cream.

In a similar vein, if Lee wore her basic white choker it was the "I give up" sign of a hard day. It would be dinner, an hour of griping about the day, an hour (or two) of her favorite TV shows, and then bed and the expectation of seriously cuddling and holding. Max knew in that scenario that it was best not to push things or make demands, that his best bet was to be attentive, listen, not fight over the remote, and be quick to bed Lee headed that direction. He also knew that on nights like these he could get his way on what to have for dinner and that sex wasn't specifically off the table, as long as he wasn't brutish or piggish in his approach.

In other scenarios the compromises might be a little more open and active. For instance if Lee signaled that she was in a romantic mood but Max signaled that he was in an aggressive mood they might agree to split the difference; an aggressive quicky and a romantic dinner. Or she might present him with other options and then he could decide what he was willing to give in exchange.

It was always about give and take. Lee thought maybe that was what made it hard tonight. She had no ability to nail down what it was that she was willing to give or what she wanted to take. Her mood was all over the place.

She felt out of control so she thought about getting some control back with the black choker. But at the same time she was tired of making decisions and wanted to defer everything, so maybe the pink choker. She wanted some romance too so maybe the red choker instead. But then she was frustrated again. In the end she thought maybe it would be better if it were like a dog collar with a little hoop and she could pick two or three or four charms to pop on or off, putting the important ones up front and the less important in the back of the stack... that might better express her mood on nights like tonight.

She sat for another moment and decided finally to go with pink. It was clear to her that she didn't want to make any more decisions today. She would be content to have Max drive the direction for the night. She only hoped he was in the mood to do that. But as she clipped the choker on she smiled knowing that everything would be okay, that regardless of where he was in his mood, they'd find an understanding and have a nice night together.