Sometimes I thought about how my husband and I met. It was at a party that my sister invited me to. I was her plus one, for work. She just called me up and insisted it would be good, that I’d get to know some people. That it would help me. She wanted me to network, but I’d barely passed high school and I’d never set foot in a college before, and the week prior I slept on a park bench, so I didn’t think I was employment material, much less someone who had anything of value to offer. But it was in the city, so I was already nearby. I agreed because there would be food.
I think it was two years after I left, so I was twenty and dumb, and my boyfriend had just broken up with me because he was in jail. His lawyer and I had to sell his stuff and store the rest with some friends so he wouldn’t have to keep paying rent, so I was shit outta luck. Maybe she felt a bit bad for me. I hoped she felt bad for me. I was feeling selfish, and if she felt bad, maybe I’d feel better about the whole situation.
I dressed my best, which wasn’t very good, but at least it didn’t have holes and was clean. What more could she have wanted? At least at that point I looked like a man. Sort of. I kept letting my hair grow long. But I wasn’t as nervous existing front of people.
Beck chewed me out for not wearing a suit when we met at the entrance. But they let me in anyway after much deliberation. There’s always something so humiliating about people arguing about you to your face, without acknowledging that you’re there. Once inside I tried to ignore the stares, but they lingered. It was hard to meld into the crowd, especially after my sister left my side to shmooze. She’d always been good at it, especially with men. Her skirt was always short enough to keep them interested, but long enough to be professional. It was an intricate balancing act I assume I would have learned if I never transitioned. Or if I cared.
I found a server with champagne and that was the end of things for me. I wasn’t old enough, but no one batted an eye. I think they knew how miserable I was. I took two glasses, one in each hand, and turned around.
That was when our eyes met.
His were beautiful.
Pale green, like a budding sprout crawling out of the melting snow.
His dark hair was expertly styled, curls sitting neatly, not a strand amiss. A statue of perfection.
And he was smiling at me, like I was the most curious looking thing in the world.
I suppose I was, though, because I was nobody. I looked like I crawled off the street, not out of luxury like everybody else here. Even my sister was somebody, though she was just an employee. I didn’t know who he was. I suppose he would have looked familiar if I looked in a magazine, or if I went on social media. But I didn’t. He approached and took the extra glass from my hand, swirled it around, then raised a brow at me and took a sip.
“Good evening,” he said. “Who might you be?”
“No one,” I snapped and turned away.
I was not good at networking. This made him laugh, though, and I thought I was in heaven.
“Oh really?” he continued, slipping around my side. “You look like somebody. Who are you here with?”
“My sister,” I managed. “Rebecka Allan.” I didn’t think it would matter.
He contemplated her name for a moment, then smiled again. “I’ve seen her here before, once or twice. Very beautiful woman. Smart, too. She’s good at what she does. You two look… nothing alike. Why should I believe you?” He looked me up and down, trying to verify if I could possibly be related to her. He wore a cocky little grin.
I shrugged, because I figured he wouldn’t believe me. “You shouldn’t,” I said, and he laughed again. The musical sound traveled down my spine, making my body tingle. I downed the rest of my drink so I could begin to forget our interaction and walk away before I said something stupid or gay, but he offered me a hand and led me to his friends.
He found me amusing.
I found them all frightening, but gorgeous, and I wanted to know why he took interest in me. He introduced me even though he didn’t know my name. After a few curious looks, they took little interest, just continued their conversations where they left off, but they let me listen in. It was nothing I understood. Stocks, interviews, gigs, shoots, reporters, managers, cars. I don’t know why they were so invested in cars.
Throughout the night he slowly tugged me closer to his side. He was a handsy guy, but I didn’t really mind, because it was the first time in a while someone acted this way with me. It was sweet. His fingers toyed with the hem of my shirt. I think he was just shocked by me being there, standing out so blatantly, as if I didn’t care about their little rules. I’d had two more glasses of alcohol. I think I was giggling at nothing in particular. Every time he asked me something his eyes widened so much at my response I thought they'd get stuck that way. But he laughed every time.
It was enchanting every single time.
Eventually his friends went off to network like I was supposed to be doing. I hadn’t seen my sister that whole time; I didn’t want her to know how poorly I’d done, so I clung to him. We only separated so he could grab another drink.
“You want to see my ride?” he asked when he returned. He leaned over and whispered in my ear. The soft touch of his breath on my skin set off my heart. “You look like a sports car kinda girl.”
Right. Of course.
I swallowed hard, nearly choked, and the look on my face must have tipped him off about something.
I avoided his eyes, debated saying anything at all. But I told myself when I got surgery that I’d at least try to correct people. Just once. “I’m a guy.”
“Oh, sorry. Sports car kinda guy.”
He asked if I wanted to go back to his place. No one would mind. He could do whatever he wanted; this was his world. I said OK because I was intoxicated, but also I was curious about him. Why he even showed a lick of interest in me. I thought he was nice.
If I had known what we’d become, I think I still would have gone home with him, so at least I’d have somewhere to sleep. I don’t know how my life got so fucked up, or how our worlds even touched. He shouldn’t have been interested in me. But he was. He was interested. He wanted to play around with me. And I couldn’t do anything back. I didn’t want to do anything back. So we played. He always won.
He grabbed my hand and led me from the venue without another word. I think I was in shock. I didn’t say a damn thing. He pushed me up against his stupid sports car I didn’t care about and kissed me. He did take me to his place, showed me everything he had, and I was in awe. An enormous glass door opened onto a balcony he dragged me to so we could overlook the city while he shoved his hand up my shirt. He pulled me to his room after we were done pretending the city lights were stars. He laid me down in a bed the size of my bedroom growing up.
I felt like nobody.
I let him fuck me.
He never let me fuck him. Not then, not ever.
The rest was history, I guess. We started dating soon after. I don’t know what he saw in me, but I made him laugh a lot, so it was nice. He liked to dress me up and show me off. Liked to buy me lots of things as long as I slept with him. I didn’t mind.
He liked that I didn’t protest anything. That I listened well. That I let him be possessive.
At first, he was gentle, caring, lovely. The marks he left on my skin after sex were from passion, from desire, from love. Heated, in-the-moment little marks, across my chest, my neck, my legs. They dotted my body like constellations. I adored them. Once or twice he let me mark him, too.
For a few months I was his world. What was his was mine, and mine his.
I thought about all this while I wondered if he still loved me. I thought about why we even got married in the first place. I know he proposed. Evidence of his liking me. I know he wanted me to be more involved in his career, give him something to talk about. Give him something more to show off and be proud of. But I never wanted to be in the spotlight. Maybe we got married so we could be closer, take things to the next step. Afterall, I was his.
The first time he snapped at me, really yelled at me, hurt me, I brushed it off. Because I was happy. He made me happy. He proposed a week later and I was so happy.
When we got married, I was all his. In body, in soul, in law.