She'd asked to be tied up. It had become a ritual between them now.
Scarves, tied in expert knots. Legs together, hands together. She smiled an intimate smile of thanks. He tried his best to be gentle, though she'd ask him not to be. What if he hurt her? He didn't think he'd be able to live with himself if he did that.
When she relinquished control, he had to shoulder it, a massive burden. He told himself it was a labor of love when he grabbed the scarves, but he knew it was wearing its way through him. He was anxious and stressed, always waiting for that one moment when it would all crash in because she'd keep asking for years at least and he'd want her to smile and it was all just probability wasn't it?
So he buried his anxiety and his fears for a while and went to her. She accepted him, gladly, and he went to it, mechanically. It was a practiced routine, and he thought one day he'd become perfect at it and she'd be safe.
And in a few minutes it was done. And he continued. She told him to stop. Then she laughed and told him to stop. Then she stopped smiling, and her face became darkly serious, and she told him to stop.
And he wanted to. He almost tried, but he wasn't the one moving any more. Something had come and knocked the burden out from under him.
And as he saw her face and heard her screams, all he could feel was relief, because mercy of mercies, he had finally failed.