Negotiation Is Half the Fun

Contains: Dom/sub conversations. All characters are consenting adults.


Ray tugged at their sweatshirt, their shorts, their chin-length hair. This moment had been weeks in the making, but no amount of research had prepared them for the adrenaline rush of sitting across from Lily in a crowded café, notes in hand and ready to tell her, in excruciating detail, everything they wanted her to do to them over the course of their relationship. 

Lily, of course, showed no sign of nervousness. Clad in a simple yellow cotton sundress, she sat beside a window whose steady stream of afternoon sunshine made her blonde hair sparkle and her brown eyes melt. Her bare arm was slung across the back of a chair in the picture of casual ease as if to confirm that, yes, she was the Domme, and no, she wasn’t worried because she knew what she was doing—unlike Ray.

They engaged in idle, surface-level chatter after ordering, but the coming conversation was a deafening buzz in Ray’s ears and blood. It was almost a relief when the server brought their cappuccinos. Ray took an unsteady sip, setting down the cup with an embarrassing clatter, and forced themself to meet Lily’s contemplative gaze. 

“So…how do we start?”

Lily smiled and took a slow sip of her drink. “I think we just did. What would you like to talk about first?”

“Limits.” That seemed safer. Less vulnerable than monologuing everything Ray wanted to do—and admitting how few of them they’d actually done. “Is it alright if I go first? I wrote mine down.”

Lily laughed, and its warmth chipped away some of Ray’s anxiety. “Of course you did.” She waved a graceful hand through the air between them. “Please do.”

Ray pulled their phone out of their pocket, typing the passcode with numb fingers. They gave themself a silent pep talk as they navigated to the Notes app and began reading. “I’m not interested in explicit age play. Fluids are mostly off limits, other than spit. Humiliation is a hard limit. I don’t want you to make me feel bad.”

“Thank you.” A beat of silence, and then Lily said, “I’m not interested in fluids either, although we could probably discuss spit. I engage with age play themes in a lot of my scenes, including language like good girl or good boy. How does that feel for you?”


“Good,” said Ray, mouth suddenly dry. Hearing Lily say good girl in what they could only imagine was her Dom voice had more of an effect than expected. Ray pushed their thighs together, forcing themself to focus instead of getting lost in the fantasy of what it’d feel like to hear Lily say it while making Ray count out strikes of a flogger. They shook their head.  Not helping. 

“As for humiliation, I’m not interested in that either,” said Lily, continuing as if she hadn’t noticed the blush springing up on Ray’s cheeks. “I am sometimes in the mood to explore degradation or objectification, but being mean for the sake of it isn’t really my thing.”

“Thank you,” said Ray, whisper soft. They’d worried that not wanting Lily to be mean meant they weren’t actually kinky. But Lily had taken it in stride—affirmed it even. Ray took a long drag of air and a longer sip of their drink.

“Now,” said Lily, voice a gentle command as their eyes met across the table. “Tell me what you want.”

Ray grabbed their phone like a lifeline, ignoring the pulse between their thighs as much as the intensity of Lily’s stare and whatever was building between them. Ray licked their lips, heart pounding in their chest as if looking for escape.

“I like to be choked and bitten,” said Ray, falling back onto things they’d voiced to previous partners. “And I like being told what to do.”

“So, you like being told to get on your knees and get me off? For example.” Lily smiled, oh so sweet, and Ray’s stomach turned to liquid. When Lily dropped her voice low, it took everything in Ray not to do exactly what she said right then and there, negotiations be damned. They couldn’t be sure, but they sensed a smirk at the tail-end of Lily’s question—like she knew exactly the effect her examples would have. 

Ray nodded faintly, overly aware of every nerve ending in their body. They hadn’t been ready for how hot talking about what they wanted to do to each other would be—and were grateful they were in a public space because it otherwise would’ve been very difficult not to derail this conversation using any means possible. 

“What else?” asked Lily with a rasp that hadn’t been there before. Ray swallowed a whimper at the sign that Lily was into this too. It was more of a struggle than it should’ve been in a crowded café not to slide onto the floor between her legs.

“I want…to be hit.”

“Good,” said Lily. Ray could hear her smile without looking up from their screen. “With what?”

Ray closed their eyes. Opened them. This was the moment they’d been dreading. “I don’t know.” They paused, pushing back their shoulders in silent challenge. “I’ve never done impact with anyone. I don’t know what I’ll like.”

They waited for Lily to push back their chair and walk out, to scoff, to laugh. But there was only silence, so Ray chanced a look at her. She’d cocked her head to the side, twirling her empty glass between pink manicured fingers. “Great. Then we’ll get to learn together what you like. Nothing more exciting than that.”

The heat in her gaze punctured the last of Ray’s embarrassment. Lily wasn’t touching them, wasn’t saying or doing anything, was only looking, but they felt her everywhere—tracing every limb, caressing every rise and dip of their body—and they shivered. Lily only smiled. Patient in a way Ray knew was a promise. 

They only needed to pay the check.


Louise Kane ( is a queer erotica writer who lives by the motto: Write smut. Read smut. Live forever. She lives in Seattle, WA, by way of Chicago, IL, with her feline companion, Marge.