The woman in the mirror is frowning, brow creased and biting her bottom lip. A quarter-turn to the left, then to the right, appraising with a critical eye. I look up and meet my own eyes, counter the expression of anxious self-doubt with a wry roll. Let my tummy relax from its tense, defensive, held-in stance. Allow the truth to seep in and expand before me. I may never regain the smooth flat planes of my teenage shape. A sigh.

He drifts into the mirrorview, hands already reaching to fit around my curves, lips seeking the warm hollow between neck and shoulder. Nuzzling. It’s the comfort of hot soup on a cold grey day, the jolt of anticipation and warmth of birthday cards landing on the doormat. Even so, I can’t dislodge the rueful twist from my eyes and mouth as I survey the rolls around my middle. He sees. He always sees.

“You’re gorgeous” he breathes into my ear and brings his hands up to bat mine away from their unconscious measuring.

I don’t disagree. That’s how far I have come. I don’t scoff, or make a self-deprecating remark. But he sees nonetheless, my disbelief and cynicism, and his expression becomes resolute. He takes a step back.

“Say it. Say ‘I’m gorgeous’”. His eyes narrow as he sees me hesitate. “Go on.”

He’s using That Tone. The firm one he reserves for asserting dominance. It’s there in his stance and his face; it says You will do as you’re told, and because it was me who granted him that power, who explained my desire to submit and offered him control; I obey.

“I’m gorgeous” I say, my head held high and my tone confident. Like I believe it. And for a fraction of a moment, I do. Even without makeup, my features somehow smaller and unpleasingly indistinct; even without clothes, my rounded stomach and dimpled thighs illustrated mercilessly in the mirror, I believe it because he does.

And then, looking back at my reflection, I don’t believe any more.

He reaches out and grabs a roll of flesh in each fist, digging his nails in. He pulls me towards him by my own belly fat, until I am pressed against his t-shirt. “You are gorgeous” he hisses. “You’re fucking delicious, every inch of you.” His teeth scrape my neck as his hands roam, grabbing, pinching, squeezing, across my haunches. He groans with desire, grinding me against the swelling in his jeans, soft yielding curves mashed against the rough cloth with its determinedly stiffening lump. “You’re so beautiful, and you’re mine. Mine to play with, however I like. I’m the luckiest man in the world, I get to fuck you, you goddess, you sexy bitch.” His voice is hoarse with desire, hissing with intensity, hot breath and sharp teeth, wet tongue.

In the heat of our embrace, I haven’t noticed how deftly he’s manoeuvred me back to the mirror, but when he pushes his trousers and pants to his ankles and turns me around, there I am, watching him grasp handfuls of me, curl his fingers around my flesh, kneading and tugging. It hurts, and as I pull in a gasp of pain, I feel the wet heat bloom between my thighs at the combination of this rough handling and praise. “Watch” he says and points to my reflection. “Keep watching. Don’t look away.”

I stare at his pale hands against my olive skin. He slaps me – hard – on one buttock and slides a finger into my dark cleft.

“You feel so fucking fantastic when you’re wet like this”, he rasps, and spreads me wide with both hands, shoves his cock deep and hard inside me. “Keep watching. See how good you look?”

I have to admit that the sight of myself, bent forward, legs apart, tits swinging as he pounds into me, is a compelling one. Mesmerised by our rhythm, I drink in the sway and ripple of my curves; focusing on feeling what I see and seeing what I feel. No criticism, no judgement, no disapproving dissection.

He meets my eyes in the mirror and grins in pride, and triumph.

You are gorgeous.

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