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Phoebe got a text from Mark that night.
“Hey, I got a crazy idea. I wanna run it by you. Quick drink?”
She sighed, not at the idea of the drink, but at the idea of the weight pulling at her shoulder: the binders filling up her rucksack, all of which needed to be read last night. She gave in, replying that she could meet him if he promised to not take too long. He replied in a flash, suggesting a bar near her house.
Phoebe drove to the bar and pulled up next to Mark’s car. He was leaning on it, watching her pull in. So, he had just arrived, she thought.
“Hi,” he said, hugging her after she closed her door. They kissed briefly, then he held her in his arms for a moment. As much as she wanted to stay like that, her ‘to do’ list was yelling from the back of her head.
“Mark...” she started. He released her and backed away. “Nope, I understand. You’ve got work to do. Come on, let’s get a drink. Then you can get home.” He took her hand and led her to the door.
They walked inside and he found a small, secluded corner that they could huddle together in peace. After they ordered their drinks, Phoebe looked at him and said, “So, you have a crazy idea?”
Mark grinned back at her. “Yes. And I think you will like it.”
Phoebe sighed and put her chin on her hand. She realized for the first time how tired she was. She was not frustrated at him; she was just exhausted. “OK,” she said, “let’s hear it”.
Mark seemed to be getting more excited. He looked around the half-empty bar and leaned in close to her. “OK, now keep an open mind,” he almost whispered. Phoebe knew that expression; this was probably something that she would not in fact like. At least, not at first.
“So, I was thinking about your comment on Sunday.” Phoebe tried her best to remember what comment that she had made on Sunday, which she would now surely want to retract. She could think of nothing, but then Sunday was a blur of body parts, cuffs, whips, and climaxes. She shook her head at him.
“So, you said that you have a hard time playing submissive?” he prompted her. She didn’t remember, but was more concerned about where this was going. “Um, yeah, sure,” she said, nodding.
“Well, I have a solution. A proposal,” he said, his eyes shining.
“Um, OK, let’s hear it,” she said nervously.
Mark took a deep breath and seemed to steady himself. Not good, she thought. “Let’s go on display this weekend.” He let out a long, deep breath and stared at her, waiting for a reaction.
She stared back, confused. “Display? Like models? You want us to pose as models?” She could hear the confusion in her own voice.
Mark laughed, then shook his head. “No, no, nothing like that. I’m saying we do our normal routine, but show off our bodies.”
Phoebe stared at him for even longer this time, wondering if maybe he had a brain fever or something. Finally, she said, “Exhibitionism? Is that what you’re saying?”
“No! Yes. Well, um, yeah, actually,” he stammered. He took her hands in his, which did nothing to reassure her. “Look, here’s what I’m saying. One day, you take me out, in next to nothing, and show me off. You get to show me around town.”
“Naked?” she asked, trying not to yell it out. He nodded his head.
“Nearly, yeah. I’ll wear something skimpy and then you can tell me when to take stuff off.”
Phoebe cocked her head at him, considering the image. Then a small light went on in her head. “Wait a sec, you’re trying to sell this! You’re putting it in your terms, but you worked this all out in your head with me running around naked!”
“Well, yeah. But the idea still works,” he said, smiling. He held out his hands, showing his palms.