Pip Jones pushed the protest signs aside to clear space, hearing the poster board and plastic handles hit the floor with a clatter, before she hopped up on the table. Leaning down to bite Cora Jameson’s bottom lip, Pip wrapped her long, pecan-colored legs around Cora’s bared, aspen-shaded waist. Pip smiled against the shorter woman’s lips when Cora’s hands moved higher up her thighs, lifting her skirt with them.
“Rainbow panties?” Cora laughed and brushed her finger against the brightly colored satin.
Pip shrugged and arched into the touch. “Well, it is PRIDE.” Her breath hitched when Cora’s finger dipped beneath her panties’ elastic hem. “The most wonderful time of the year.”
“Not so much this year.”
Pip straightened a bit at Cora’s bitter tone. Not that she blamed her. Not when, earlier this month, just in time for PRIDE, President Rosen announced his plans to strengthen religious freedom laws. At the expense of women, people of color, and the LGBTQ+ community. Laws that, under the guise of protecting people of faith, sought to strip people of their way of life, their freedom, and their dignity. Pip, as a black, bisexual woman, understood that bitterness all too well.
It was why she’d come, with her walking shoes on and her rally cry sign in hand, to protest the present administration and to protect something no one should ever have to: her right to be.
She’d never been a particularly political person before, but her world felt different now, since Rosen took the White House. On the campaign trail, he’d sworn to “Make America Rise Again,” bringing it back to a decade that romanticized the Confederacy and treated people who looked like Pip as different. As less than. Watching the president’s announcement had made her feel so alone. Like her country—her home—wasn’t hers anymore.
But, this morning, something had changed. Looking around in the early sun’s light, Pip had seen pink pussy hats, homemade signs, and rainbow flags everywhere she went. As she’d walked closer to the rally, she couldn’t help but smile while surrounded by strangers united by the same defiant desire for dignity.
It felt like coming home again.
Then there was Cora, passionate and beautiful as they’d marched together, hoisting their signs and chanting in unison. It’d been so hard to wait until the protest had all but ended before sneaking off with Cora to an abandoned storage room in a nearby parking garage.
But, now, that Pip’s world began to feel right again, she was not going to let that sense of bitter isolation creep back in. PRIDE was about community. About connection. She wasn’t going to let anyone take that away from her.
So, she squeezed her legs tighter around Cora. “Well, you’re making my PRIDE pretty damned wonderful.”
Cora let out a breathy laugh, heat flaring in her eyes. “Oh yeah?”
Pip nodded her head. “Uh-huh. I’ve been here, marching my butt off, since eight. I could use a break.”
“Your poor butt needs a break, huh?” Cora arched her eyebrow. Pip barely had time to gasp before Cora gripped her by the waist, tugging her off the table and flipping her so Pip was bent over, belly-down and ass-up. “I think I can arrange that.”
Cora let out a wicked laugh that had Pip craning back to see what the other woman was up to. Cora reached around her own neck and took off the plastic, rainbow-colored PRIDE beads hanging there. She gathered the ends in her hand, letting the strings flow out one side, before she struck her forearm with the makeshift flogger.
Pip pushed up onto her hands and laughed. “You can’t be serious.”
“Absolutely.” Cora grinned playfully. “But first,” the deliciously kinky top said, setting aside her beads, “we need to tie you up.”
Pip snorted and looked around the storage room. “With what?”
“Hmmm.” Cora reached for the collar Pip had around her throat. “Perfect!”
Pip was eyeing the always creative woman’s pervertable solutions when Cora lowered her to the table and held Pip’s wrists in one hand at the small of her back. “Beads for a flogger, a collar for cuffs. You’re practically a kinky fairy godmother.”
Pip snickered, until she felt Cora’s grip falter. She looked back again, wondering at the hesitant look on the woman’s face. “What’s wrong?”
Cora couldn’t stop staring. She had no idea how to explain why this suddenly felt wrong. But, looking at Pip’s soft, clove-colored wrists held tight in her own pale, tapioca hands...it all just felt tainted.
Cora released Pip and stepped back. “It’s nothing.”
“Sure seems like something.” Pip’s brow furrowed. “So let’s talk about it.”
Cora let out a frustrated sigh. “It just doesn’t feel right, right now.”
“This. Us.” She shook her head when Pip’s eyes widened with hurt. She wasn’t explaining this well. “I mean, as a white person playing with...someone like you, how can I…” She clenched the collar—this once playful, now suddenly oppressive symbol of ownership—in her hands. “Much less…” She waved her hand toward—Jesus—the freaking flogger. Cora closed her eyes and buried her head in her hands. What was she thinking? How culturally insensitive could she be right now?
Pip touched Cora’s shoulder reassuringly. “We’ve played together before and my being black never seemed to be an issue then?”
Cora knew that. As a middle class white woman, she’d never really had to think much about race before.
But, after the election that so thoroughly reminded everyone of the hate that still existed in the world, maybe she should have.
“Things are different now.” With all that was going on—with Rosen and the social tensions gripping the world—how could Cora make light of some kinky sex game that played with roles and dynamics that felt so historically heavy? “It all feels different.” How could she look at the world today and not see it all differently now?
God, if anyone knew what she’d been about to do—what she still wanted to do—with Pip, how could they not assume the worst about Cora? How could they not accuse her of perpetuating and romanticizing the worst parts of their country’s past?
Pip sighed and reached for Cora’s hand, the collar pressed between their palms. “Even if this is what I want?” Pip leaned down and kissed Cora. “If you’re what I want?”
Cora closed her eyes and kissed her back.
God, she wanted Pip too.
She just didn’t know, with the weight of the world around them, how to want her. She couldn’t go back to being naively colorblind, acting as if race shouldn’t matter. It did, even if she had the privilege to believe otherwise.
But that didn’t stop her from wanting to be with Pip.
At the moment, she honestly didn’t know.
“Why do you want me?”
Cora looked up at Pip. “What?”
Pip wrapped her arms around herself almost protectively. “Why do you want me?” Pip took a deep, awkward breath. “Is it because I’m black? Because, as a black woman, you think I must be easy or exotic or, I don’t know, nothing but attitude, tits, and a nice ass?”
Cora recoiled. “God, no.” She wanted Pip because...she was Pip. “You’re smart. Funny. And you genuinely care about people.” Cora raised her eyebrow. “Though you do have a nice ass.”
“Damned right I do.” Pip snorted. Pip touched Cora’s cheek. “I don’t want you because you’re white.” She pulled her close for a quick kiss. “You’re white and I want you. Because you’re strong and fierce and make me feel things no one else can.”
Cora looked at the make-do flogger left forgotten on the table. The kinky top winced at its unavoidable significance. “Is it weird to say I’m afraid of hurting you?”
Pip shook her head. “The fact that you are makes me think you’re less likely to. You care too and, in all the times we’ve played, you’ve always taken care to never harm me. In any way.” Pip caressed Cora’s cheek before pulling her close for a kiss. “It’s part of why I want you so much.” Pip licked her lips, making Cora moan. "Why I want us."
Cora wanted to melt into that kiss.
So she did.
For a moment.
A long, amazing moment.
Then she held Pip at arms-length. Pip arched a curious eyebrow at her, but Cora just smiled and narrowed her gaze.
Pip wanted her? Wanted the connection they shared? If that was what Pip wanted, then Cora was more than willing to oblige.
Cora held out her hand and in an uncompromising tone, she said, “Wrists.”
Eyes alight with anticipation, Pip held out her hands, wrists together and palms up. Cora leaned down and pressed her lips to each wrist before twisting the collar tight around them both.
Truth be told, it wasn’t a good hold. All Pip had to do was twist her wrists to slip free. In fact, she would likely have to be careful how she struggled against the binding to be sure she didn’t break free from it too easily. “Is this okay?”
Cora held her breath and watched Pip swivel her wrists, testing the tie. Cora let out a relieved sigh when Pip shifted her wrists, consciously causing the leather to twist and trap her, before she looked back up at Cora, desire so clear in Pip’s eyes.
Cora reached for the discarded beads again. “Turn around.”
Pip turned, tugging her skirt and panties down so they fell to her feet, and Cora’s body tensed in guilty arousal. She looked down at the vulnerable position Pip was in, back bent, feet spread wide. Pip was bared before her, open and giving. Cora’s fist tightened around the flogger, feeling the plastic bite into her flesh.
God help her, Cora did find that sweet sign of submission in Pip’s stance and the rush of dominance coursing through herself so fucking hot. But it wasn’t about race. Sure, Cora couldn’t lie, a part of her loved Pip’s perfect body bent over, her smooth, dark skin stretched taut over her curves as she playfully wiggled her ass.
But, when Cora gazed at Pip, she didn’t see politics. She saw Pip. Her play partner. She didn’t want Pip because she was black or in spite of it. Rather, Pip was black and Cora was attracted to her. All the parts that made her Pip, including her race. That desire didn’t deny the inevitable cultural baggage between them. Of course not.
But that didn’t mean it had to define them either. Together, they were so much more than just that.
So, Cora tightened her grip on the beads and placed a grounding hand on the small of the other woman’s back, feeling Pip’s body squirm in anticipation under her touch. “Ready?”
Pip nodded. “Yes.”
Cora pulled the beads taut between her hands and aimed, before letting them hit firmly, but not hard. Cora was pleased when Pip jumped, shocked, before pushing out her ass out again as if seeking another strike.
So Cora gave her one before asking, “Harder or softer?”
“Harder.” Pip’s voice was low and throaty with need.
Cora grinned and pulled her toy back again before striking with a bit more force. Cora let her hand slide down to caress the reddened flesh, both thrilling at the heat there as well as soothing the sting. “Harder or softer?”
Pip arched her back, defiantly ready. “Harder.”
This time, Cora changed the angle, striking the center of her ass so the sensation spread along both cheeks. Pip’s breathy gasp swiftly turned into a moan. “Careful,” Cora warned, nodding to the small room’s window that was opened just a crack, “don’t want anyone to know what we’re doing in here, do we?”
Pip bit her lip and swallowed the sounds of her pleasure, but Cora had a better idea. Through the window, she could still hear the small, but resilient crowd chanting, “No hate, no fear. Everyone is welcome here. No hate, no fear…”
Cora leaned down and stroked Pip’s back and whispered against her heated flesh, “No hate, no fear…”
She grinned when Pip responded softly, but gamely with the rest of the chant. “…Everyone is welcome here.”
With that, Cora stood tall and took aim. “No hate, no fear…” She struck.
After a sharp intake of breath, Pip replied a little louder, “Everyone is welcome here.”
It should not have been hot, yet Pip’s rebellious words said in ecstatic tones spurred Cora as she struck one cheek then the other and back again, Pip’s voice soaring louder, stronger, each time. Lost in its rhythm, Cora kept going until the protesters outside paused to switch chants.
Cora rolled her shoulder and stroked Pip’s ass. A change of pace did sound nice. So Cora set aside the beads and reached down for her sign.
“Aww,” Pip sighed sadly when Cora tore the plastic stick from the poster board, “I really liked your sign. Why would you ruin it?”
Cora looked down at the now ripped scraps and shrugged. “The march is almost over anyway.”
Pip shrugged. “It’s not as if there won’t be more marches.”
True enough. Given the state of the world, this was not their last protest. Cora leaned down and kissed the base of Pip’s back. “We can make new ones together next time, okay?”
At present, Cora paused to listen to the protest still going below. She aimed the stick, bringing it close to Pip’s butt only to draw it back again. “When civil rights are under attack, what do we do?” She smacked the stick against the sweet spot of Pip’s ass.
Pip jerked against the table and threw back her head, joining in with the new chant, “Rise up, fight back!”
“What do we do?” Cora cracked the stick again.
“Rise up, fight back!”
Fuck, yeah. Cora swung again and again, keeping time with the rally cries like a lust-fueled drum beat. It was stunning, the sight and sound of Pip’s pleasure. She dropped the stick to the ground to cup Pip’s ass in her hands, needing to feel that heated blush against her palms as Pip pushed into her touch.
Cora closed her eyes and focused on the needy sounds that dripped between Pip’s now breathy words, feeding the desire building within Cora too. She squeezed Pip’s flushed flesh. “More?”
Pip groaned. “God, yes.”
“What do you need?”
“You.” She swallowed hard. “Now.”
Cora made a low, satisfied sound when she reached between Pip’s thighs and felt the woman’s wetness, thick and silky. She dipped her fingertips into Pip’s liquid heat just deep enough to tease, to tempt. Pip gave a longing moan as Cora slid between slick lips and found Pip’s eager clit. She rubbed the ready flesh, loving how Pip’s hips would grind in time to her touch.
Cora could hear Pip’s pleasure peak with each guttural grunt and groan. Could feel it in the flood of heat flowing onto her palm as Pip raced toward release.
Then, on a sharp inhale, Pip’s body tensed against Cora’s while her climax washed over her.
Sighing, Pip rested on the cool cloth of her skirt and panties that still sat pooled at Cora’s feet while the world came back to her.
She’d needed that. A break. A pleasure-filled pause from the world.
With her wrists still bound, Pip turned and struggled to face Cora on the floor. Looking up, Pip met Cora’s gaze, seeing both heat and tenderness there. Pip smiled before reaching out to grab the band of Cora’s shorts, pulling her closer. She undid the buttons, tugged on the zipper, then slowly, inch by inch, peeled the fabric down Cora’s body.
Spreading Cora’s legs, Pip pressed nipping kisses all along her partner’s thighs. Pip leaned in and, while the tremors of her climax still throbbed between her thighs, inhaled the scent of aroused woman. Damn. Her mouth watered. Hungry, she nuzzled the curls on Cora’s mound. “How can I thank you?”
Cora’s eyes fluttered and her hand rested on Pip’s shoulder. “You don’t have to.”
Pip peeked her tongue out to tease Cora’s pink flesh. “What if I want to?” She flicked her tongue over Cora’s clit, making her gasp and tighten her grip on her shoulder, before Pip closed her mouth over that needy nub. She suckled and licked that slick silken skin, Cora’s taste and scent overwhelming. Wanting more of her, Pip reached up and slipped her fingers inside Cora’s core.
Pip could hear Cora moan as she rode Pip’s fingers, pumping Pip deeper within her and tasting sweeter, hotter. “Faster.” Her nails dug into Pip’s shoulder. “More.” Pip felt Cora’s knees begin to weaken, but still she sucked. “Please.”
Pip twisted her wrists and freed her hands, just as Cora’s back arched and her head fell back. Cora cried out, her climax a burst of sound covered only by the crowd outside still chanting. “Love, not hate, makes America great. Love, not hate...”
Pip caught her as Cora’s knees gave way and she fell into Pip’s waiting arms. With her mouth still sticky with Cora, Pip kissed up along the woman’s arm, her shoulder, her neck, then her lips.
Cora’s body weighed soft and warm against Pip’s as her breath panted hot against Pip’s neck. “Thank you.”
Pip kissed Cora’s temple as the rebellious yet rejoicing sound of hope and freedom streamed through the window and surrounded them in the small room.
If the election had taught her anything, it was that hate was often easy and dismissively simple. Loving, openly and honestly, could so often be complicated, hard, and awkward as hell.
Sometimes, she could see why people clung to their shortcuts.
Even so, Pip knew which one felt more worth it in the end.
Feeling, for the first time in a long time, connected and content, Pip breathed deep and hugged Cora close. “You’re always welcome.”