Title: Nothing Like You
Characters: SessMom, Inupapa
Summary: SessMom introspective
They say the wife is the last to know.
The servants here think they are so discrete. I could have their tongues out for their presumed discretion. The sad, sympathetic glances and patronizing nods are more difficult to bear than the bitter taste of your straying.
The wife may not acknowledge, but she always knows. That vacant, faraway look, too quickly banished. Those overly attentive words, too consciously chosen. The first signs are easily ignored, but they worm and weasel and stake their ground. Each thing thereafter is viewed with suspicion. Even the most innocent of expressions becomes poison, and your demeanor in our bed is clear condemnation of your guilt.
Do you not know, my dear Lord Husband, that despite your efforts, a trace of her scent always lingers, like she has seeped into your skin? Your attempts to cleanse are clumsy and disgrace us both. I would rather you come to me, wearing her odor like a trophy, and I am to share in your prize. If I must give, let me also then take.
Do your not know, my dear Lord Husband, that those nights when you groan and sweat and whisper a name not mine in your dreams, I hear? I would rather you sate your thirst for the forbidden, then embrace me with fullness I crave. I deserve nothing less.
I gave you as much.
Your silence and shame lead me to troubling curiosity. To unfamiliar self-doubt. Is she wanton or coy? Does she bite and scream, afire with passion…and in the silence afterward, hold you tenderly like I do? Can she make you whimper and shudder, lost and insensible, like I can? I wonder if I wish to hear your answer. I don't know if I'd be more insulted by my opposite or a pale imitation.
Does she love you like I do? Do you love her—just as I know you love me?
It would be so easy to have her killed, to erase your stain, but that action would mean that she is a threat. The Lady of the West is threatened by no one.
I, after all, am the mother of your pure-born son. I had you first. And I, most especially, have you now.
The door is open, light dim. I cross the room and kneel behind you. My hands at our shoulders ease the tops of our kimono down and we touch, flesh to flesh, my soft breasts pressed against your hard back. Her scent is still there, stronger than before, but you continue to respond to my hands and mouth like you did in the beginning, when we first claimed one another all those years ago.
Drunk with desire, I take a chance. "Is she like me?"
You don't hesitate to answer. "She is nothing like you." Turning, you lift my hair and bury your face in my neck. "There is no one like you."
Servants' gossip is less than nothing. We, here and now, are everything.