The Handmaid’s Tale
– The Really Veiled Version –
Back to part 3
I wake by being shaken. The bedroom is in darkness but a torch pointed towards the floor next to me provides enough light for me to see a Martha, I can’t make out who it is holding it. As I raise my head her latex covered index finger is put across my lips. She gestures for me to carefully get out of bed without disturbing Nick. She takes me to the bathroom and closes the door careful not to make sound. She doesn’t turn the lights on but just lets the ray of the torch light a pile of clothes on the vanity. It’s all white and I soon find out it’s a complete set of underwear. When Nick at some point late simply ended our lovemaking by turning away from me to almost immediately fall asleep I put on a chemise to sleep like I have been used to. Clearly Nick wants our life living like the Burns’ to start right from the moment he wakes, which means I am to be completely covered in white. With the acceptance of Ethan’s plan and to live here I also accepted to live like Wifeethan, so I put on full length stockings and gloves, underdrawers, mask and coif and tie all the drawstrings to show nothing of myself but the eyes. In some days perhaps we’ll both discover that this goes too far and, like Serena, relax somewhat on the prescribed lifestyle now and then. While I have been dressing the Martha has looked away. Has she been told she should not see any of my skin from now on? I pat her and she carefully opens the door and the torch beam provides just enough light for me to find my way back to bed. There is no need to risk waking Nick by pulling at the blanket. It feels weird being in bed with the head completely covered, but when I take my hand to the chin to hold up the veil of the mask it’s a fabric covered hand touching my face and I realise I can’t get skin to skin contact so I leave the veil as it is. It’s late and I doze off.
I wake again at sensing Nick move. Apparently he senses my movement because he says
“Are you awake my pious Wife?”
I turn and lift my head towards him and say
“Blessed be the fruit, and good morning Nick, my dear husband.”
Then he pushes my head down on the pillow while saying in a teasing manner
“But a really pious Wife should have stayed immobile and silent on her back for her husband to take her if he wanted her, no matter if she was awake or not.”
Then he lifts my veil and we kiss after which he continues
“And now you should be close to swooning from me touching your sensual lips – instead you prolonged my touch. But you are correctly dressed, thanks to Rita I presume.”
Then he leaves bed and while heading for the bathroom says
“See you at breakfast.”
As Nick is going to be ready for breakfast a few minutes after leaving the bathroom this means I have to dress now and then bathe when he has left.
When I leave the bedroom wearing an additional full covering layer of magenta Rita receives me with a bow to lead me to the kitchen. I permit her to speak and she says
“Mistress, you are to come here as the first thing you do each morning for us to check that your clothing is without stains and only magenta can to be seen, and on days Master Nick leaves for work ask us if we need anything that can’t be bought around here for you, if you agree, to tell the Master to get or order it if he agrees. We don’t need anything today and we probably only have a request a couple of times a month.”
I nod and she gestures in the direction of the dining room where I head with Rita right behind me. The table is set for two, breakfast’s ready and Cora is waiting to receive me with a bow as well. Rita passes me to pull out a chair and push it in when I’m ready for it, but then she leans over me and, to my astonishment, grabs my wrists to lead my hands together to be folded in my lap under the cape, and following, even more surprisingly, she takes hold of my head to make me face straight down at the plate. Of course the meal has to start with a prayer, and perhaps this means I have to spend time waiting for Nick to pray, but being tired I just stay in the position set by Rita.
It is not long before I hear him coming, but just when I would have lifted my head to face Nick I feel a firm grip on the back of my neck as a clear signal to keep my head down. I sense Nick sitting opposite me and then he says
“We thank you Lord for our food, we pray may we in turn do good today. Amen. – I really need something inside, both food and coffee after the energy spent last night. You as well I guess my dear. Please lift your head and join me.”
It sounds as if he knows I have to wait for breakfast as if in prayer and he is not surprised at Rita’s firm instructions. I consider asking him right away, but if Rita has got instructions he very likely has learned from Ethan and then he’d better say in his own way without me biasing his speech – besides I am craving for coffee. I take my hand up under my veils to pull the modesty scarf down and then take a large sip of the cup Rita has just filled. Following this I take the slice of toast already on my plate and start eating. Meanwhile I observe Nick who is completely preoccupied with breakfast, eating quickly as if he was alone.
After I guess it was three slices of toast he takes a break and faces me with a content expression. He watches me as the last three bites of a slice of toast go under my magenta face covering, and then I put my hands down to directly face him. Then he says, his face turning more serious
“This is indeed very different from watching you while we had dinner in bed yesterday. Our life together is going to be totally different from today as you have already experienced. No matter what we think about it we have to live like the Burns in almost every way, no matter if we are alone like now with Rita and Cora, just the two of us or completely alone. You know what is at stake and I think you agree that if we follow one set of rules when alone and another when others are present then inevitably at some point we are going to behave as if alone in the presence of others and it may ruin our lives.”
I nod while reaching my hands forward across the table where Nick takes my hands and squeezes them, understanding we both take a wow to live like the Burns 24/7. While still holding my hands his serious face changes to a smile as he says
“I love you,” I reply “I love you too.” The smile fades and he pulls his hands away to take a sip of coffee before saying
“We both have much to learn, but as a woman you have the most. With those four wonderful words you just said you made one error that is never to be repeated and another one only acceptable now at the beginning of our new lifestyle. Ethan has made it clear to me that Wifeethan never speaks without her voice modesty scarf in place with the single exception of his birthday where she lets him enjoy her clear voice as foreplay to having sex. I guess you have already experienced that Wifeethan, because of that, rarely speaks during meals and if you don’t think you can go through the time in bed being able to speak clearly without doing so you may, as I’ve been told some young newly married women do, wear the scarf in bed as well for a while, but it has to be down for as long as I want to kiss you. The other thing wrong was speaking at all without permission. Men are superior to women according to the teachings of Gilead, and a woman like Wifeethan shows this also towards her husband by always meeting him with lowered gaze, which she can only show by looking down, and by never speaking in his presence unless being asked a question or being permitted to do so, and in general not interfere unless necessary. On the other hand she always has to be at his beck and call to follow him around when at home unless he indicates otherwise or other men are present. The Martha’s of the Burns have told Rita and Cora most of these rules, and in addition have taught them ‘How to guide a young Wife’ which is some phrases that most Martha’s having to serve in the home of a new young couple attend a course to learn to memorise. So Rita and Cora are ready, and have already begun, to guide and help you with the correct lifestyle. Aren’t you?”
Nick looks from Rita standing at my side to Cora standing at his and they both bow to acknowledge. Then he faces me again and says
“I have to go soon. Do you have any questions or any comments? You are allowed to speak, but remember your voice modesty scarf if doing so.”
I pull my voice modesty scarf up while thinking, but although the strict relationship between husband and wife is new to me, I have just myself initiated that we both vow to live like the Burns, and as such I am just to follow any rule set up unconditionally, at least until learning if the Burns actually do like this or Nick has learned enough about his new position in society to make changes without social consequences, so I only clearly shake my head. Nick says
“If you get to a point where you are completely fed up with this lifestyle then think that what you are doing it not only for me and our life together but for our coming child as well. I have to leave now. You don’t have to be at my side while I get ready, just be at the front door in a few minutes to wish each other a nice day.”
The words ‘I have to leave now’ Rita correctly interprets as meaning the meal is over which I am being made aware of by her hand pushing my head down.
After Nick has left the dining room I slowly walk out with Rita following me while Cora starts clearing the table. I take my stand a couple of metres from the front door along the wall where the door turns to be little visible from outside. After waiting for a minute or so Rita is about to reach for Nick’s jacket but stops in the movement to face down long enough to show it’s a signal to me. I bow my head and would have done so when hearing Nick approach. From being guided to do likewise before breakfast it seems to be a rule that I have to take the position expected as soon as I’m at the right place to wait submissively for my husband. I haven’t moved and I remain unmoving until Nick approaches after about five minutes. His feet come into my field of view, an instant later I sense his lips kiss my veil covered forehead and then he says
“Have a nice day dear wife.”
The door is opened and closed and Nick is gone.
I lift my head to see Rita has left as well while thinking about what to do. I haven’t had my morning bath but on the other hand part of the morning routine for Wifeethan was to attend to the garden and then probably afterwards a bath is needed even more. That thought reminded me that I hadn’t really seen a large part of the house yet.
On the opposite side of the hall is Nick’s study. I’m in doubt if I’m allowed to enter without permission and as I have just wowed to follow any rules I stay in the doorway to see it’s quite small, completely dominated by a desk and with a couple of chairs on the near side, leaving just enough room for the door to move. Behind the desk and up against the left wall are small closets with locked doors to contain books and other printed material forbidden to women.
The sitting room, just like the dining room, is very similar to the Woods house both in size and decor. I cross the sitting room to take a look at the garden. Unfortunately this doesn’t match that of the Woods. It’s completely conventional with just a strip of lawn and some flower beds with roses and tulips. I’ll have to ask Nick if he can have some of the back part of the Woods garden copied. Or perhaps it’s the Martha’s that get new plants from other gardens. Although I don’t know if there is any contact between the Martha’s of the Burns and the Woods I head for the kitchen to ask. On the way it occurs to me that I’m in charge of the housekeeping and I better be sure Rita and Cora do as I want. They both stop working and bow on seeing me enter. I gesture for them to come close to me so they can hear my low muffled voice say
“I am now also practically your Mistress and in charge of the house. I haven’t noticed any faults in your work so far and the house has just been refurbished for our occupation so I don’t have any demands. On the other hand there might be something that you want different? Do you have sufficient clothes? Are your chambers satisfactory?”
Rita and Cora do not reply verbally and of course their covered faces don’t give a clue to what they think either. Have I asked too many things at once, or is there something they are afraid to ask? I look at their inscrutable faces for close to thirty seconds before Cora points to her lips and I realise the silence may be due to me not having said
“You are both permitted to speak.”
Barely audibly Cora says “I am very flattered by your words Mistress. Everything is good for me here, so good I have now devoted my life to run the house as best I can for Master Nick and especially you, who spend so much time at home, to just enjoy the time here and concentrate on being husband and Wife. In this I speak for Rita as well I’m sure. If I’m in doubt or have a problem I’ll first ask Rita, or she’ll ask me, for advice and if we can’t reach a solution we’ll ask Chloe or Esther. That you run the house is shown by you coming here every morning before breakfast but we aim at doing our job so well that your part will be in name only. You don’t even need to convey payment as Master Nick has placed a box for tokens for us in his study that he will see to twice a week. You can completely concentrate on the spiritual pursuits of a Wife, cultivating the garden and what grows in your womb. Now is the time for you to study. Please let me show you in the sitting room.”
Rita has nodded to indicate Cora’s words might as well be hers. It had occurred to me that going to the kitchen before breakfast every day for something that would only require one of the Martha’s to speak a few times a month was superfluous, but as it is now shown that I manage the house it has a purpose. The essence though is that I have no part in the household except for the rare task of conveying special requests from Rita and Cora to Nick, and it is probably for my own good as I have a huge task right in front of me in becoming both a Wife and an especially pious one in the form of an imitation of Wifeethan. And then, overlapping, I have to go through pregnancy and birth. I’d better follow Cora to see what kind of class I have been enrolled in, so I turn towards the door with a gesture for her to come along.
Inside the sitting room she shows me there are some cushions under the sofa, pulls one out and places it next to the larger armchair at the end of the coffee table. She then leads me to the end wall with a small closet and a cross above and opens the left closet door to reveal a small centred panel with one circular green button and a larger white circular knob. She pushes the button and after a few seconds there is some noise from a hidden speaker and then a male voice starts telling a story. She demonstrates the white knob is to control the volume, but despite it’s more than loud enough for me she leaves it as it was and in accordance with my vow I don’t object. Then she guides me to kneel on the cushion facing the closet, and perhaps the cross, despite I would be able to hear the voice in any position anywhere in the room. I recall we were kneeling at Wifedan’s, but it was in her home. Wifeethan was having tea while listening to Bible reading. I can’t speak to Cora with the loud voice and it wouldn’t be appropriate to ignore the story being told either so I mimic sitting in the armchair drinking. Cora shakes her head and instead reaches for the top of my head to pull out the pin that holds my hat, lifts it just a little for its magenta veil still to be fully covering, turn it back to front and then pin it again leaving me blind. I was just about to do it but Cora gets ahead of me taking hold of my wrists, but I take the lead by folding my hands in a praying position. I recognised the story while Cora demonstrated the volume knob, but it’s different from the previous days. I have heard bits of male voices reading the Bible during my Handmaid assignments as well, but I’ve never learned exactly what it is. With the loud volume and no visual input it’s impossible to think of anything else and I just say the lines to myself as I remember them to now and then be corrected by the male voice. Again there are three short stories lasting a total of ten minutes or so. After a minute in total silence I consider getting up, not at least because I begin to feel numb in some muscles after hardly having moved since folding my hands. But I recall that Wifeethan stayed seated more than twice as long as the reading and, being blind, I can’t know if Cora or Rita have been ordered to watch me to ensure I go on repeating the stories to myself, reciting to myself some other Bible text or saying some prayers for that time. I start saying the stories again to myself.
A few lines before I would have been through I hear the door and then someone passes me. Not long after I’m gently patted on the shoulder and then my hat pin is clearly moved without being pulled out to indicate I can turn it myself as it’s easier for me to align the eye meshes of its veil with my eyes. As I get up I see its Rita and she has brought tea, but I grab her hand and pull her towards the door. In the kitchen I summon Cora as well and say
“I am to live like Wifeethan but she wasn’t kneeling but was seated in her armchair having tea while listening to the Bible reading. You’re both permitted to speak.”
Rita says “We have been shown by Esther how you should act. I think this procedure, as Master Nick said at breakfast, is for young newly married Wives. I have no idea how long it takes for a Wife to be considered mature. Nine months would be a bad choice so perhaps a year.”
If it’s just a few months it might be unimportant, I reflect, because if Wifeethan chooses to live like Wifedan it’s kneeling for decades and then kneeling instead of drinking tea is a minor nuisance, so I say
“I understand. I’ll go on like I’ve just done. Now that I’m here: Is attending the garden next on the agenda?”
Rita says “Yes, I think the schedule comes from Wifeethan’s habits. It’s me assisting you there as well. I’ll be with you in about half an hour.”
I say “I think I would like to change the garden to something similar to the one at the Woods. Can you find out how to get new plants or should I discuss it with Nick?”
Rita says “Serena had so much contact to other Wives that she sometimes got plants from them. I don’t think it can work that way here, but let us ask Chloe and Esther before you bother Master Nick.”
Cora says “I agree. At the Commander’s, when it came to heavy work in the garden, we often had the aid of Nick’s strong arms, and he got new plants as well – without tokens – but now he is above this kind of work I assume. Let us query.”
I nod and return to the sitting room to sip some lukewarm tea. After having quenched my thirst I lean back in the armchair and close my eyes to think. I have just handed the question of how to change the garden over to Rita and Cora and my next task is to inspect the garden at close range, the child I carry is not to be felt yet, this means according to Cora that now, and most hours of the day, are for the spiritual pursuits of a Wife. After the male reading from the Bible Wifeethan stayed in her chair much longer than if she was repeating the stories at the same pace. What went through her mind? She could of course have repeated the stories twice but considering she probably knew them by heart even better than me I rather think she changed the subject as soon as the voice ceased. Did she think of other Bible passages, or did she think of Enoch, or Ethan? What is going to happen tonight with Nick and me? I am for sure going to sleep fully covered in a set of underwear, but do I have to just passively receive everything he does and suppress the natural responses of my body to stay as still as possible? I suddenly recall that the Ceremonies at the Commander’s when having a second part in bed always ended with Serena taking a position stiff and straight on her back. Then I took it as her way to take in the humiliation of the Commander having sex with me while I rested on top of her, but perhaps she also believed that women should be motionless in bed and sex is only for men and reproduction. After all she had heartily supported the founding manifesto of Gilead until its realisation showed to be a lifestyle for Wives that was too strict for her. But it isn’t to Wifeethan and Wifedan. I even have to learn fainting when being touched at my erogenous zones. Did Serena take it that far?
In my mind I again recall the image of her just after the Ceremony lying unmoving and fully dressed with even her shoes on. I imagine her staying like that for half an hour, perhaps even an hour, until the Commander wants to go to bed for the night. Now he is relaxed, not pressed to fertilise his Handmaid, me, and is ready to enjoy his wife, Serena, to slowly reach a natural pleasant climax and satisfaction. He perhaps will start with unbuttoning her jacket and pulling her chemise up as high as possible to grope her breasts which would then grow and harden to his pleasure without Serena reacting in any other way. He may have then pulled her veil up, either by folding it over her eyes to just enjoy her ready lips, that had been held sexily pouted since he entered the bedroom, or to reveal her entire face with its irresistible sex appeal, despite the eyes staring into the distance and the expression remaining unchanged both by his actions and by seeing his excited face. The pleasant feelings that went through Serena’s mind were because she was now fulfilling her most important duty as wife. What her body would liked to have done is something she would have been able to ignore, just as ignoring sweating because she was always too heavily covered or ignoring goose pimples while bathing in the coldness of winter. She ignored her body, her surroundings and the weight of her husband on top of her while he opened her skirt, untied her underdrawers and pulled both sufficiently down and slowly got into position for getting completely satisfied. His joy of moving inside her was clearly transmitted to her but she had long been able to just relax and say her evening prayers to herself. No matter if she was tired or not the whole procedure at this hour had become a signal to her mind that it was time to sleep, and she became drowsier while the Commander recovered from his exertion. But she stayed awake knowing that his love for her always showed by him eventually rolling over to pull her underdrawers sufficiently up to cover her lower body, pull her chemise down to cover her chest and ensure her face was veiled. Now being modestly covered her mind was at ease to maintain the position she took in bed at the end of the Ceremony for another eight hours. Soon she sensed the final signal to fall asleep as her husband took her limp hand in his.
But the touch is actually on my shoulder. I return to reality and turn my head to see Rita next to me pointing out through the windows. It is one of those moments where I’m glad of being completely veiled because having played the role of Serena in my mind has no doubt showed on my face, and I’m hot even before going out in the sun but as a Wife I have to learn how to look after a garden – and besides it’s the only physical activity left to me. Rita hands me the mask which I buckle to my face, then she buckles my gauntlets, and after I have stepped into the cloak she pulls it up around me. As with the garden walk with Wifeethan she pulls the closed hood back until the narrowing opening gets stuck for me to see and hear. I also check with my right hand that this cloak has a slit at the centre. Meanwhile Rita has flipped her shawl down over her face and opened the garden door.
As soon as we enter the garden Rita guides me to the right so I can see the small shed in the corner where the wall turns. It is filled and seems well assorted for its size, but Rita only takes a wicker basket in her left hand and puts a pair of secateurs in it and then with her right hand takes a watering can then goes over to the end wall of the house where there is a tap from which she fills the can. I waddle behind her across the lawn to the beginning of the central path where Rita puts both the basket and the can down and slowly walks down the path at a pace where I can keep up.
Without looking back she points both left and right and I soon find out she points to the flowers at the top of their blooming right now. There are six beds divided by the paths, and it soon occurs to me that Rita wants me to see them all from most sides when she turns left at the back wall and then around the back left bed the full length of the back cross path. I waddle as best I can, beginning to feeling it more as exercise than flower sightseeing. We take the longest path as Rita turns to take the front cross path, still pointing frequently but without at anytime looking back, probably because she can hear me. Finally we reach our starting point and she picks up the watering can and starts walking down the centre path again.
This time I soon find out she points to buds about to burst and then sprinkles the ground where the plant is rooted. She turns right at the first cross path, and again we walk the entire garden criss-crossing with me just watching and waddling along behind. Rita empties the can at the back left bed but still she walks the full length along the back wall to walk up along the right wall instead of using the central path. I guess to get an estimate at how much more water is needed, but with no water in the can she doesn’t point to any buds and we just move along with me starting to feel really hot. The sky is clearer than the previous days and it is getting hotter as the time is approaching noon and I feel the two layers of cloth between the leather of the mask and the skin of my face are damp. I guess we have been out in the sun for no more than half an hour but my sense of time feels unsure. To my relief Rita doesn’t go to the tap for another round of sprinkling but instead goes to the beginning of the centre path to replace the can with the basket.
Now she faces me while taking the secateurs and holding it towards the nearest rose bush in a way of asking me where to cut. I clearly shake my head and she nods having understood I know nothing about pruning. She begins walking down the centre path with a gesture backwards for me to follow as if she hadn’t noticed that I have been right behind her since we went out. For some reason the bushes in the right middle bed are better to teach me about pruning or it’s just the time for this sort of roses to be pruned. Rita holds the secateurs to a dead twig, I nod and she nods, but then she moves it down to the middle of the twig and then further down to where it has grown out of the branch. I move my head insecurely. She holds the secateurs with the handles towards my stomach. My right hand finds the slit in the cloak and I take the secateurs in my gauntlet. The green latex thumb and index finger of Rita simulates a cut at the branch and I make the real cut. She points to a new twig and I cut at the branch again. She points again and I am about to cut again but she grabs my hand. She points out that I was about to cut off two buds and indicates I should cut just above the top one. We move around the bed cutting a number of twigs with or without buds. My gaze follows Rita’s hand to each new twig and then my body moves until the secateurs are able to reach it and I cut low or high depending on if there are buds or not without any conscious thinking. My cloak feels like a tropical greenhouse at a high temperature and humidity, I am soaked by sweat, the wet eye meshes make my sight blurry and soon I have to develop gills to be able to breathe. What is left of my conscious thinking says ‘get inside’ but I keep moving and cutting. Suddenly, as I am about to cut the top of yet another twig with buds, Rita grabs my hand to stop me. She points to some black marks and I understand the twig has got rot but as she releases my hand it cuts above the buds as usual. She shakes her head, points again to the black marks and then points to the start of the twig. My hand moves down but won’t squeeze the handles and instead the secateurs drop to the ground. As a reflex I lean forward but with the cuff of the gauntlet unable to go through the slit of the cloak the ground is out of reach but I keep bending until I fall forward into the roses breaking a couple of bushes but avoiding a hard hit by Rita grabbing hold of the back of my cloak.
I remain conscious while hanging like a dead weight on the back of Rita as she drags me into the house. Just inside the door I’m put down and lie limply on the floor for a little time while Rita gets Cora. Then I’m dragged again, but faster and not as hard for Rita, to the bathroom. When they sense I am conscious they force me to my feet and I am made to stand to first have my cloak and soon after my mask removed, followed by the gauntlets, cape, jacket and skirt. Rita waves her hand in front of my face and I nod. Cora leaves the bathroom and Rita goes to fill the tub. Soon Cora is back with a complete set of both white and magenta indoor clothes. Rita gestures that I should lock the door and they both leave. I only remove the larger magenta items, my shoes and the pillbox hat and get into the tub still completely covered in white and with magenta stockings and gloves. I then remove the white mask to hold my uncovered sweaty face into the water for a little while. This makes my head feel clear again and I enjoy being submerged in the warm but not hot water while slowly removing the rest of my clothes. When I throw the chemise on the floor it reminds me I have been sleeping in it and I didn’t get a morning bath because Nick had to wake up to the sight of his pious, fully covered Wife. The thought of Nick makes me want to stay in the tub a while longer recalling last night while amplifying the memories by caressing myself. I immediately ask myself ‘How can you come up with such ideas Wifenick’. Your love for Nick has nothing to do with the feelings you have when you have sex with him and the feelings you get when touching your body have nothing to do with sex and absolutely nothing to do with love. I get out of the tub to just anticipate I’ll get a pleasant experience with the afternoon nap, no matter what Gilead calls this.
Cora is waiting for me when I leave the bathroom. She bows and gestures if I feel well and I nod, so she makes the gesture for eating and points towards the dining room. I nod but start walking in the opposite direction, towards the kitchen to make her follow. Rita is working at the table top perhaps preparing a course for dinner but on hearing my shoes that sound very different from the rubber boots of Martha’s, turns while rubbing her gloves on her apron. Facing me she immediately points to her mouth and I say
“You are both permitted to speak.”
Rita says “I’m very sorry you felt unwell and fell Mistress, but we have been instructed to keep you out in the sun until something happens to learn if you are especially sensitive to being overheated. It would make Master Nick unhappy and worried if it happened while with him and it wouldn’t be good if it happened while having visitors either. We’ll check with Chloe and Esther but I think about seventy minutes was very good for weather this clear.”
I say “I understand and I don’t blame either of you. Have you had lunch? Perhaps it’s inappropriate for me to have lunch with you but eating alone was one of the things I hated most about being a Handmaid so if it isn’t against any rules I would like to order at least one of you to have lunch with me.”
Cora says “We have both had lunch, and you will not be alone as I am going to stand next to you ready to serve. I don’t think it’s permitted to sit with you though – but perhaps if it was in the kitchen.”
I say “It is permitted – at least for special occasions – as Wifeethan had her Martha’s join us for lunch to celebrate my wedding.”
Rita says “Then I think I can join you at the table in an appropriate manner with just something to drink.”
I say “Thank you Rita. Even if Cora would stand to serve me where I could see her I would feel much better. And if Nick doesn’t approve of it see it as your punishment for what you did to me in the garden.”
I walk towards the dining room. Just after I have passed the doorway Cora passes me to be ready to move my chair. The table is laid with a single plate with sandwiches, a glass and a jug of water. Rita puts a glass down opposite me and is about to sit down when Cora quickly pass the end of the table to assist her with the chair as well. I smile and they probably do as well. When Cora is back behind me I clearly fold my hands above the table before putting them in my lap and say grace so low that it probably can’t be heard neither on the opposite side of the table nor behind me. Then I pull my voice modesty scarf down and reach for my knife and fork which immediately makes Cora reach for the water jug and first fill my glass and then walk around the table to fill Rita’s. Rita still has her hands below the table and is facing down as if she is still praying. When the glass has been filled her right hand comes up to put a straw in the glass and hold it while she bends her head a little deeper to get the straw through the slit in her mask and into her mouth to be in a position to drink without lifting the glass from the table. After a few bites I look at her again to see that she is still sitting bowed down over her glass. Looking a few times more in between bites the only thing I see that moves on Rita’s side of the table is the level of water in her glass. It’s a strange behaviour of a meal companion but I realise she avoids facing me not to get a wrong glimpse of skin if I by some mistake should lift my veils too high – and then we are unable to have a conversation anyway.
Just before starting with the last slice of bread I turn my head towards Cora, point to Rita and nod several times. It feels much better to look at the scarf covered top of a head opposite than being alone at the table. If Nick doesn’t mind I’ll continue this arrangement to probably now and then talk to myself as if I were having a conversation across the table to better enjoy the meal or trying to find a solution for some problem. After the last bite I feel real good being full, clean and in fresh clothes. I reach up to tie my voice modesty scarf and then turn my head towards Cora while patting the back of my chair which she then pulls out as I get up. I take a few steps to the side to allow the chair to be put back while again facing Rita who stays facing down. She has just sucked about a little more than half her glass probably having satisfied her thirst when having lunch herself. I just watch her for close to a minute before gesturing Cora to make her get up. She walks around the table and slowly reaches for Rita’s glass. Then Rita lifts her head, leaving the straw in the glass, and on seeing me standing she gets up to bow to me. I bow to her much deeper than a Mistress should do to a subordinate to let her know I appreciated her company, although Cora is probably going to retell what I ate when and when I looked at her in every detail when they have time together in the kitchen.
They soon have because when Cora has quickly filled a tray to clear the table she doesn’t lift it but instead holds her hands up to her head tilted to the side to show that next on my schedule is the afternoon nap. With a small nod and a smile beneath my veils in anticipation I head for the bedroom with, as expected, both Cora and Rita following.
I sit down in the left half of the bed and immediately Rita approaches me, but instead of, as I expected, her bending over me to turn my hat I am handed a voice modesty scarf. I hold up two fingers and she nods. I start tying the scarf on top of that I already wear to mentally note that because the scarves of Wifeethan are made of two ordinary scarves I now wear a four times as thick covering as I did as Handmaid or that normal Wives wear, and this lump is so thick that it partly blocks my nose as well. However it only serves to make me more exited as it means I am expected to scream and moan. When I take my hands down Rita does as I first expected and turns my hat to make me blind. Then I lie down, my head finding good rest on the pillow, and I lift my knees to make room between my legs.
I immediately feel hands inside my skirt and assume they are Cora’s. I take advantage of the extra voice modesty scarf and moan a little to express my increasing arousal while Cora unties the leg of my underdrawers and removes her glove. Then my body has to make a small twist as her fingers first touch my most sensitive area. After that my mind only thinks of pleasure as the fingers start massaging my vagina hard and I forget all about being still while quickly being massaged to a climax of both body and mind. I am not allowed to slowly let my body come to rest though. Just after the climax a hand on both sides of my waist and a hand on my upper chest push my body hard against the mattress. This interference quickly takes my mind out of its aroused state as well. But neither body nor mind is at normal of course and the body soon tries to lift again to immediately be pushed down again. This repeats four or five times before the mind has focused on keeping the body still.
For the next minute nothing happens but my breathing slowing down. Then I’m massaged the same way again. The mind switches back to being filled with pleasure and I start moving again. This time starting from a much higher level of excitement the climb towards the climax is much steeper and when I quickly get there the peak is much higher. Thus the interference is felt much stronger. My mind now tries to gain control of my body as fast as possible despite being in a haze of arousal to be free to enjoy the feelings created in my vagina. Soon it gets another minute of quiet bliss. Then the fingers start a new cycle with a reduced time before an even more powerful climax is reached, and a reduced time before my mind is able to hold my body still. I’m just able to register a fourth climax.
At the start of the fifth cycle I immediate lose any sense of what is going on. But not long after lying completely still again with just my chest moving to regain breath despite my hazy mind I get the feeling I fainted at this last climax and I was unconscious for a little while. About a minute later I get a feeling of disappointment. Now the wonderful sensations from my vagina should start again. But they don’t. I lay waiting unmoving for some time with nothing else happening than my breathing becoming close to normal and the mind slowly clearing by converting the arousal to pleasant memories. I realise that it was right that it stopped. I was on the verge of ‘couldn’t take anymore’. I could have gone mad, or gone into a fit. But it was some lesson. My body is now completely relaxed, close to limp, and it feels good. I feel good. I look forward to my next nap, although this first lesson showed that I will probably reach the goal of this course much faster than I had imagined was possible. And that reaching the goal means I’ll miss the final lesson and join Wifeethan and many other Wives in missing the climax of sex with my husband. But I don’t feel sorry for myself. When I squeezed Nick’s hands over the breakfast table this loss was one of the things I accepted. Has an hourglass been turned as at previous naps? Well, I don’t really care. I feel I can lie here forever just enjoying a blank mind.
My upper arm is shaken and then a hand takes hold of my left hand. I follow the guiding to get out of bed. The guiding ends with my hand being placed on a door handle and the handle being pulled away as the door is closed. I lift at my magenta veil, which is without eye openings on the back, to see and lock the door. Then I remove the pillbox hat. I am of course in the bathroom. On the end of the vanity is just a fresh voice modesty scarf. A bath is not intended. I remove my skirt and underdrawers, wash where the action was and put them on again. I remove the two voice modesty scarves and my white mask and wash my face. I mask again, put on the fresh voice modesty scarf and fit the hat correctly so I can see. The magenta Leah that leaves the bathroom still looks like a copy of her daughter, Wifeethan, but within the last hour has also come closer to being like her.
I am met outside the bathroom by Rita and Cora, the latter gesturing me to go to the kitchen with them. But I gesture ‘tea’ and go to the sitting room. Rita follows me and when seated in the armchair I say
“There is no need to explain. I know exactly what the purpose of this lesson from the young Wives curriculum is for.”
Rita nods but gestures there is more. I get up concluding I have let my thirst make me decide wrongly. Most likely the only thing I would gain from not going to listen to them is some more minutes in here with nothing to do and now that I have been refreshed my mind is working normally again. We meet Cora with a tray, and she turns for us all to go to the kitchen.
Rita, after just a nod from me to permit her to speak, says “We just have to make sure that you are okay Mistress. It was a very violent experience. And none of us have done this before. We rehearsed it three times with Chloe and Esther and with Sarah lying on a bed, but of course we neither uncovered a hand nor had it inside her clothing, and as such she only responded as instructed by Esther.”
I say “I feel fresh now, and although I moved rather violently, especially at first, breathed heavily and perhaps even made sounds that passed two double scarves, it was also an experience so nice that it made me want more for each cycle. Did I react as you have been taught?”
Cora says “I think you did. You can react as you like while being touched. After you collapse we just have to try to force you to be still until you are, then wait a minute and repeat the procedure four more times. Your naps every afternoon are to be like this until you lie still at first touch. At that time you have become a ‘real’ Wife. I have to say that it was nice for me as well touching you, but we have been told that these feelings are like when we as children stole cookies while no one else was in the kitchen, and because of this Rita and I have to alternate in touching you. After this talk do you want a fresh hot cup of tea to drink while you study?”
I say “Not now thank you. But bring a fresh cup in half an hour. I think I should do some knitting then, but I never got very far in learning that. Is that something you have been told to teach me? Or can I simply ask one of you to be my teacher?”
They both lean away from me and shake their heads. Then Rita shouts so loud that what comes out is almost as a normal low voice saying disbelieving “You can’t knit???”
I shake my head.
In her normal muffled low level she continues “Not even a scarf?”
I shake my head again. They both pull away from me to decide how to respond.
Cora says “The time where Wives normally knit towards the end of the afternoon is the time where we are busy preparing dinner but Master Nick told us that you learning to become a Wife takes priority over everything else. In the days to come we will plan it so that one us can be your knitting teacher for something like half an hour. Today Rita is going to spend ten to fifteen minutes teaching you to knit plain which you then can practise for the rest of the time.”
I say “Thank you very much. If it wasn’t because I’m fertile I would have been sent to the Colonies right after being taken. I don’t think I have a single skill from my previous life that is wanted in Gilead. I’d better go and study.”
Cora follows me to the sitting room and I switch on the male voice while she puts my cup on the coffee table. It’s exactly the same as in the morning but again I say the stories to myself. At the end I’m in doubt if I was corrected by the voice just as many times or once or twice less than in the morning. I think I have been a good student not taking my mind somewhere else and decide I have done better than in the morning. These were nice stories to listen to and revive. I think my aversion to hearing such reading earlier on was mainly because it reminded me of the Red Centre. With so much time in the ‘schedule’ for this and the reading lasting so short a time it would be nice to hear some more, but after what Nick told me about speaking I won’t risk making any more blunders by trying to find out if I can get the playback device to do something else. And what the reading aloud really incites me to do is to open The Bible and read the context of each of the stories. Perhaps I can have Nick do that. The Commander read from The Bible during the Ceremonies, but if he had selected some of the passages himself or it was all something that was recommended by some religious council I never learned. I’m afraid it’s the latter. The Bible contains so much and is open to so many different interpretations that not controlling what passages are suitable for women to hear could easily question the Gilean religious ideology.
I realise I think too much to be a proper Wife and lean my head back against the back of the armchair to just let an area of the wooden ceiling fill my field of view like Wifedan did yesterday. Over the next number of minutes I only think one thought:
The – – – wood – – – comes – – – from – – – a – – – tree, – – – and – – – a – – – tree – – – like – – – all – – – other – – – plants – – – and – – – creatures – – – is – – – something – – – that – – – man – – – hasn’t – – – been – – – able – – – to – – – reproduce – – – which – – – proves – – – that – – – there – – – is – – – an – – – almighty – – – God.
A latex gloved hand holds a steaming hot tea pot in front of me. Rita has come to teach me knitting. I take my cup and get up to move to the small sofa gesturing Rita to take the other seat to sit right next to me as I recall that knitting is best demonstrated when able to hold your hands directly next to the teacher’s. But first Rita takes a cup from the tray she has brought, pours it and places it in front of me. Then I lift the cup and put it down in front of her and point from the pot to my used cup. She bows deeply before pouring the cup, although I surmise she had expected to be allowed to have tea with me or she would just have brought a fresh filled cup instead of a pot.
After we have both taken a few sips she picks up a pair of knitting needles and a red ball of yarn which is also on the tray. She makes a dozen casts on loops and rips them off again to let me try. At a much lower pace I copy her number of loops to make her nod a couple of times and gesture me to continue making more. I am stopped when eight inches of the needle is covered. She then takes the needle to first pull at the loops to make some of them tighter and then she starts the knitting itself with basic knit stitches. When she has stitched all the yarn to the other needle she switches hands and repeats at a little higher pace. She makes five rows before handing me the needles without unravelling her work. After three failures I make my first stitch and then I’m able to go on.
When having reached the end of the row I proudly hold the needle up in front of Rita, but she points out that my stitches are very uneven and that is what I have to learn to get right. She gestures there is only one way: Practise, and simply shows me to continue. I make one more row to make it clear to even me that my knitting is uneven. But Rita hands me the empty needle and gestures ‘go on’ while getting up. She empties my cup into her own and pours mine from the pot before lifting the tray and leaving. I sip some still hot tea and get strength to continue.
At a steady pace I try to copy my movements from one stitch to the next and keep on to add one row after another. I work so intensely that I don’t sip anymore tea. Suddenly my work is disturbed by a green masked face appearing in my field of view. I look up to see its Cora. I look at my knitting and am surprised to see that I have knitted about eight inches to have a square piece of fabric I proudly hold it up for Cora to admire. She nod enthusiastically but at the same time looking more closely at the knitting myself I have to realise it is to encourage me rather than because of the quality of the knitting. Now I see she has brought a knitting basket which she hands me while pointing down on the floor next to the armchair at the end of the table. I put my first work in the basket and get up to put the basket down where indicated and where I can reach it when I take my usual place in the armchair, and then I go with Cora gesturing me to follow her.
She takes me to the hall to make me stand ten feet from the front door and facing it, and then with a light touch at the back of my head reminds me that I have to bow my head. I think I should also hold my hands folded under the cape, but although I hold them under the cape and out of sight I keep moving them as if I was knitting. I think I have made one imaginary inch on my knitting before I hear someone approaching the front door and fold my hands. The door has hardly closed before Nick puts his arms around me and says
“Thank you for welcoming me home dear wife. I have longed for you and I want to have you right away. Please go to the bedroom and lie down in bed just as you are.”
I soon face him to see his happy excited face and make an acknowledging nod before turning around. I start feeling excited as well. Has his love for me and his longing during the day made him decide we have to deviate from the strict and pious lifestyle of the Burns for an hour or so? I do exactly as he says and lie down straight on my back with my hands folded on my chest under the cape. Facing the ceiling I can’t see Nick as he enters a few minutes later to go straight to the bathroom. It doesn’t take long though before he stands right next to me at the side of the bed, but staying unmoving I still can’t see him as he says
“Ethan often has sex just after work too. A large number of the men of The Old Testament had many children, which proves they were very active sexually with their wives, and abstention within marriage is certainly not a Gilean value. But from now on we have to do it as the Matrimony Council recommends, and this is indeed very different from how we have done it so far. You are being trained in performing right, but as it takes some time to achieve the skills it is fully acceptable that you only simulate a fully qualified Wife until then. Simply move as little as possible, make as little sound as possible, keep your breathing as steady as possible and close your eyes. And stay like that after I have left the bed until a Martha pats you.”
I have closed my eyes as I feel his hands open my skirt, untie my underdrawers and pull both down. Then he enters the bed and comes directly on top of me. A few moments later he enters me without any previous skin to skin contact anywhere. The short time inside me is shorter than the shortest of the five finger massages I got from Cora in the afternoon but my arousal level climbs much steeper than at any time before with Nick. With the foreplay only consisting the small surprise of not expecting to have sex now I don’t get anywhere near a climax though. But the skin to skin contact immediately recalls the fainting training and after a little twisting I lay dead still the moment Nick pulls out. He rolls over and I can feel him in the bed next to me for some minutes before he leaves the bed. His hands pull at my underdrawers and my skirt sufficiently to cover me but neither is closed, and then I hear the bathroom door. When I hear him leave the bathroom a few minutes later I am even less excited than when I entered the bed and lie normally warm and breathing calmly. The sexual kick I got was much stronger than with any of the many previous intercourse sessions with Nick where a long foreplay had prepared me for the climax, but it lasted so short a time that it was almost forgotten right after he pulled out. If it had been like this the first time I was with Nick where I hadn’t had sex for years I would probably have been overjoyed, but now I feel empty. Some minutes pass before I consciously think again: An empty mind is close to an unconscious mind so both my body and mind simulates my future in bed very well. – – – – – – .
A light shake of my upper arm brings me out of my self-induced blank state. I open my eyes and turn my head to see Rita. I swing my legs off of the bed and then her hand comes down to press at my waist while she turns her head away. I take hold of the top edge of my skirt and go to the bathroom. No fresh clothes are ready for me but I wash between my legs and my face like after the nap. When I come out of the bathroom Rita immediately guides me to Nick’s study, knocks the door and leaves. He opens the door a few moments later where I have just remembered that I probably have to bow my head and hold my hands folded under the cape, so I only hear his neutral voice say
“Your foremost duty as a wife, after giving birth, is to attend to your husband, me. You have just done that much better than I would have expected when practically untrained in reacting in the unusual way required of a Gilean Wife. When you are not in bed you should always be at my side, or to be more precise, where your right position is in relationship to what I do or where I specifically tell you to be. It means right now, as this is where I’m occupied with many things that are off-limits to women, that you take your stand in the right corner facing down.”
Without lifting my head I take the position indicated and Nick closes the door and sits down behind the desk. For what seems like a long time I wait for something to happen that involves me, perhaps that he takes a break from whatever he is doing to have a conversation or do something that involves me, but nothing happens. Then suddenly after at least three quarters of an hour, perhaps a full hour, I suddenly hear sound and in the same moment Nick says
“Please turn around Wifenick.”
There is a television behind one of the closet doors and I see and hear the opening sequence of the family show that I often watched at the Commander’s before he arrived himself to lead the Ceremony. Nothing has changed. Two men, both having a teenage son, take a mountain bike ride on and off some dirt roads. A boy of about ten reads a passage from The Bible to his father and then they discuss the text with the father leading the boy to the right understanding, but of course the book is only shown from the cover and we only hear a few of their words, the actual conversation being overpowered by a voice explaining where fathers can find passages suitable for discussion for each age and how to reach the right interpretations. In the parts for women about cooking, knitting and gardening of course you only hear male voices explaining and if you see a woman working it’s nearly always close-ups of gloved hands, although the garden sequence started with a Wife walking into the picture to see her from behind until she was so far from the camera that her shoulders would show. Nick hardly watches the screen but almost exclusively me. I notice a pair of earphones hanging around his neck which means he may have been watching the television all the time while I was in here. As the family program ends after twenty minutes he switches the sound off, or over to the earphones, and gestures for me to face the wall again. I prepare myself for another long wait but after about ten minutes there is a knock on the door and after a little while Nick goes to open the door and say
“We’ll be there in a few minutes Cora.”
I realise it’s time for dinner. He returns to the desk and after about a minute cross the floor again and as I hear the door being opened he says
“The knocking made me aware of how hungry I am. Have you been told that when we move around in the house your head should be bowed to forty-five degrees and according to the guide from the Matrimony Council I reread an hour ago, you should keep a distance behind me so that you can only see my lower legs.”
So like this, and keeping my hands folded, I follow Nick to the dining room where Rita and Cora are ready to move the chairs for us. Nick says grace and my plate is filled but I keep my head bowed despite hearing Nick use his cutlery. But soon he says
“Please lift your head and start eating my dear. I’m sorry I should have said this just after grace. You may keep your head up and speak as you please until I indicate the meal is over or I would like some peace. With dinner, and lunch on holidays, this is in general what is allowed, whereas by default you are to be silent during breakfast where I’m rarely in the mood for chatting and often have some work issues to think about. Was your first day living as Wifeethan thinks a Wife should hard?”
I say “Of course everything I hadn’t seen during the day staying with Wifeethan was new. The training to behave in bed was amazing. It’s too bad that improving reduces the pleasure. I have also started learning to knit.”
Nick says highly surprised “You can’t knit? I thought it was a genetic engrafted skill for girls just as boys start kicking a ball. Fortunately there is nothing lost by you not able to knit for our child right now, as it would be in vain if you knitted something pink and we get a boy or conversely, so you know what you have to learn in what time.”
I say “If I learn fast I can knit for Enoch. By the way, would you like a muffler? It’s a good beginner’s project.”
Nick says laughing “Yes please. Just use the right red colour so I can use it to show my patriotism.”
The good mood makes Nick go on eating with an even better appetite. After some minutes where we both just eat and drink I say
“I enjoyed watching television. Although the family show is much the same from one episode to another it’s just nice in my situation to see other people and places. I could of course memorise the recipes and tell them to Rita and Cora but the images and the accompanying explanation are not easy to retell, and besides I think they would enjoy the rest of the show just like me.”
Nick says “I won’t allow watching without my presence, which means you can only watch the transmission just before dinner, at least on workdays, and that is when Rita and Cora are most busy I assume. But if they can plan so that one of them has time, perhaps while the meal just boils, I’ll allow a trial. Rita and Cora, over the next two weeks, one of you, alternately I assume, are permitted to come to stand in the doorway of the study to watch the family show if the door is open. If it is closed I’m doing something else or I want to see it with Wifenick alone. If I feel it deteriorates the meals by getting courses kept warm too long or salads not fresh the trial will be called off immediately. Are we going to try?”
As expected both Rita and Cora bow deeply several times. I get on to a new subject by saying
“I like the Bible studies lectured by the voice coming from the device in the sitting room, but each lesson is very short. I wouldn’t mind hearing something more even if the learning principles mean I’m going to hear it twice a day.”
Nick says “It’s a very simple device that just, through a digital connection, plays a specific named sound file from a central computer. You can’t do anything but replay this file as often as you like, but the contents of the file are renewed every night. From a number of alerts being displayed when I first connected a computer in this house I can tell you that a warning message is generated for me at midnight if the device hasn’t been started at least twice during the day.”
I say “It’s a pity I can’t to some extent choose for myself which of the many lessons I have heard over time I would like to learn better on a particular day. But the concept also made me want something else. That is to know the context of each story, what are the circumstances when it’s being told and at what time in history and so on. Perhaps you could now and then read a larger excerpt from The Bible that contains one of the stories in the audio lectures. We could perhaps have some form of Ceremony once a week. I think we all found the last shorter version quite enjoyable where we were before.”
Nick says “We can’t have a Ceremony in a house with a Leah, but I agree it was a good way to unite the household. Also reading is a delicate matter even if reading from The Bible. But we need something more together, not just you and me, I would like us to be a close-knit household. I’ll ask Ethan if he does anything comparable to a Ceremony. Is there a dessert? – – – Good. It was wonderful having a real dinner conversation Wifenick. I have had my meals alone for many years just like you, remember, but as a man I can hear too much talking. I would like to eat the dessert in silence, but please keep facing me. Although a magenta piece of fabric with two holes is much different from the face I saw yesterday, what I see now is also unique to me because I will probably never see Wifeethan, even if veiled in magenta, or any other Wife close up for that matter. I sit opposite my love and my wife, the wonderful Wifenick.”
As Nick can’t see my overjoyed face which is trickling with tears of happiness I get up and go around the table to bow down and brush his cheek with the soft fabric of my magenta face. He is now visibly moved as well but gestures Cora to serve the dessert. I am close to staining my veils in trying to eat the dessert while trying to remain facing Nick as much as possible. This makes me eat slower than him but he pauses between his last spoonfuls for us both to finish at the same time. As he puts his spoon down for the last time some moments after me he says
“Thank you for a wonderful meal Rita and Cora. I would like one of you to go to the study and bring the folder on top of the desk to me in the sitting room, and then I would like coffee in forty five minutes.”
Nick’s first line makes me bow my head and fold my hands in my lap to listen for him getting up. But I didn’t need to listen because just a few moments after I hear Nick get up there is a pull at my own chair.
In the sitting room Nick seats himself in the nearest of the small armchairs while saying
“The chair at the end of the table I regard as yours because I think we all like to always use the same chair. With you being in this room more than me you should have the best chair. Now I would like you to turn your hat half a circle not to risk breaking the laws of Gilead as I am going to read the paper and look at some magazines. I have seen women knitting without looking at what their hands are doing but I guess you are not sufficiently skilled for that yet.”
After turning my hat to be blind I say to myself that Nick no doubt is right, but it’s a challenge and I reach down to my left to feel for the knitting and pick it up. It takes some time to sense that I’m holding everything right, and then I try to get the empty needle in at the right stitching and wind it around the yarn the right way. But I discover that I’m far from skilled enough for the hands to make the rights movements by themselves, and after a few more tries coming out the same I put the knitting back in the basket. I lean back in the chair and face in the direction of Nick although I can’t see him. Has he dropped his reading to follow my efforts? As I don’t intend to ask him I’ll never know. Allowed to watch television, although only one programme and with Nick present, and allowed to speak freely during dinner has made the Wifeethan lifestyle much more tolerable. But is she allowed the same or is it Nick that from the beginning wants to put his mark on our lifestyle? I’ll try to ask Wifeethan about how she spends her time with Ethan in a way that doesn’t reveal what I have been allowed, or I risk she finds out we are doing wrong and that Nick, through Ethan, is lectured through Bible references what the right Gilean lifestyle is. I can’t hear Nick move in his chair or the rustling of paper. Perhaps it isn’t a traditional newspaper printed on thin rustling reused paper. Or perhaps he finished reading it while I was preoccupied with the knitting. I know I’ll probably never learn what magazines he is reading. But I would like to know if it’s about his interest of cars, about the transport business or human resources to make him better qualified for his new job or it is forbidden underground stuff like stories about partying with easy scantily clad women, alcohol and drugs or plain old porno showing naked female bodies, which I’ve heard rumours has been very much in demand since the mandatory dress-code of Gilead was introduced.
There is a knock on the door and after several seconds I hear Nick leave the chair and the door being opened. Then he speaks, the direction of his voice telling me he is returning to the coffee table
“You may now turn your hat again my love. Cora, in general I want to have coffee alone with my wife each night, which means the serving Martha has to leave after pouring the coffee and then we’ll use the bell when we need you.”
Just as I am able to see again I hear the door being closed. Nick is carefully sipping the hot coffee to make me lift my cup as well. As I put it down Nick says
“I want to use this time each evening for us to get to learn about each other. I mean our past lives. We should both tell the truth including historical events as they were and other subjects that are suppressed or distorted by Gilean ideology. And most important we are to learn about how our lives really were – yours before becoming a Handmaid, about the Red Centre and at the Commander’s. Not the story more or less invented by Ethan’s group to permit us to live together here. Ethan’s story is of course the only one we refer to at all other times, even when alone with Rita and Cora although they know what isn’t true and some of the truth. I think you are aware of this and keep to Ethan’s version of our lives. Us getting used to only revealing our true past at this hour minimises the risk of referring to it with others present, as having visitors at this time due to the frequent curfews, is very unusual. Let us hold hands again to make an oath to what I’ve just said.”
We both lean towards the other and squeeze hands tightly for half a minute. Then Nick starts relating to me about his early years. I know he lost all his close family, his parents and an older sister, at thirteen when a stray rocket completely destroyed their house while he was at school. From then on he stayed at the boarding school during holidays working in the workshops with motors and cars and learned to drive early by testing his own work and competing with mates on an unused area close to the school. He spends about twenty minutes to tell about the thirteen years up to the fatal event. I see in his face that he has chosen to start himself for this memory to be suppressed by my life account. I try to keep the same level of detail as him and in twenty minutes I have reached where I enter high school. I say
“Then I began to seriously take interest in boys. There were two I couldn’t decide on, so…”
Nick holds up his hand as a stop signal to say
“This is just the line that would end a chapter of One Thousand and One Nights. It makes me look forward to this time tomorrow. I’m very touched. It is as if I have met your family. But it has got past the recommended bedtime for a Wife.”
Despite this could be taken as a signal for me to be silent and bow my head I say “First you were just someone that could save me by making me stay at the Commander’s by making me pregnant, then you fulfilled my long craving for sex in a way to make me fall in love in with you, then you become the perfect partner for obtaining a future life with my daughter, and today you have truly become my husband with a pleasant conversation over dinner and now start telling me everything about your life so far. You really deserve me in bed and even if I’m not permitted to do what would please me the most I am completely happy if you just get full satisfaction. Is this the time for me to say goodnight?”
Nick’s touched expression has got a mix of excitement as he says “It is dear wife with a lower case ‘w’. A Wife should be in bed about half an hour before her husband, officially to be fully relaxed and halfway to sleep so as not to take too much notice and just take the husband as an extra duvet to ensure the warmth to fall asleep, but we both know that during such waiting a woman gets excited and hot which is really how her husband wants her, although a woman can’t have any sexual feelings according to Gilean science. See you soon. Goodnight.”
I get up and bow deeply to Nick to only straighten my back and not my neck and like that turn around and walk out of the sitting room with my head bowed. Rita is standing inside the bedroom door when I come out of the bathroom fully covered in a fresh set of white underwear. She just nods towards the bed which I was already about to enter. I lie down straight on my back and fold my hands on my chest. After some minutes nothing has happened and I haven’t sensed Rita near me or seen her in my field of vision so I close my eyes. Perhaps she was just there to check that I lie down straight and unmoving. I get a little hot and wet by thinking about Nick, but as soon as it makes me want to twist or turn I mentally feel hands clamping me down and I stay unmoving and my arousal fades. With the sexually related thoughts staying at a low level instead of filling my mind it is instead filled by Nick as a father figure, good at providing for me and our coming child, a skilled handyman and a good conversation partner. This fills my mind so strongly that I don’t notice my surroundings again before the mattress shakes as he enters the bed.
I keep my eyes closed as Nick lies down right next to me and pulls me close. I don’t respond in any way which is not that difficult as there is no skin contact anywhere and I’m used to us both being naked. But then he pushes my chemise up and starts massaging my tits which causes me to want to twist my body. I minimise the movements by instead increasing my breathing and start moaning with as little sound as possible. Soon the moaning is momentarily suppressed by Nick flipping the white veil back and pressing his lips against mine. With this I can’t avoid lifting and spreading my hips to invite him to go further if he looks down there. He can’t before he stops kissing after almost a minute, and then I have my legs down and straight again. But he wants to come there soon anyway I feel as my underdrawers are untied at the waist and pulled down. Immediately following he comes on top of me to almost shock me by speaking
“In a moment, in addition to my tool going into you, you’ll feel a rubber breathing mask over your nose and mouth. Don’t resist it. It’s pleasant laughing gas to make you behave as if you were a fully trained Wife.”
But first he leans down on me to kiss my stomach, go on to kiss my nipples and then move further up to kiss my mouth. This makes me really aroused, makes my breathing become really heavy and as he removes his lips from mine they stay open and I start moaning only able to suppress some of the sound. I realise this was to compensate for his speech turning himself off and now we are both ready for the final. He enters me in a single movement and his first touch makes me take a deep breath at the moment the rubber mask is pressed down over my mouth and nose. Instead of the sensations from my crotch I just manage to smell the sweet odour of the gas before my heavy breathing gives me such a large doze that I’m instantly knocked out.
Chapter 14 at next update.
Copyright © 2012-2013, Bo_Emp ; bo_emp ‘at’ yahoo ‘dot’ com
Thanks to Nye North for proof reading