Unfettered

•January 18, 2012 • 4 Comments

Ugly.

Damaged.

Stupid.

One by one, the links are forged in your own mind, by your own hands.

Fat.

Awkward.

Clumsy.

The links turn into chains, willingly accepted, binding you to your own blindness.

The chains we forge ourselves and wear of our own volition are the ones that are hardest to break. And break them we must, because no one has the key.

Lots of men had told her she was beautiful, that they desired her, that she was sexy. They were liars–all looking for a roll in the hay followed by a quick exit from the barn. This she knew; this she believed.

Lots of other men had played “if only” with her: “If only you were thinner”…”If only you were graceful”. She hated them even more than she hated the liars.

She moved through life, by herself, and the chains made it so hard to move, so hard to make progress, so hard to change. She didn’t have the energy to try–the chains drained her.

She noticed him for the first time at a meeting of the book club she attended. He had a kind face–not that one could rely on that for any real insight into a person. They were reading “The Lover’s Dictionary: A Novel”, which she thought was far too personal a book for a book club choice. She didn’t feel comfortable sharing her inner-most thoughts on relationships with people she hardly knew, but she noticed that he was very forthcoming and shared some very wise insights. That piqued her interest, and she began to pay more attention to him at the gatherings.

She watched him before the meetings began, and saw that he was greeted by just about everyone in the group with warmth. Even though she was often too far away to hear what was being said, she knew that people must like him for his sense of humor–he was always making them laugh. She wondered if she would find him funny.

She started sitting a little closer to him when she could, although that was not always possible since she chose to come very close to the start time of the meeting. She listened and observed him discreetly and she did indeed find him funny. Once or twice she even had to turn away because she was smiling.

When they started the next book, she began coming to the meetings early. He was there when she arrived and he greeted her warmly, even referring to her by name. She was impressed by that. Even more, she continued to be impressed by his sense of humor and his obvious wisdom and intelligence. As time went on, she found that they were talking before and after every meeting. In spite of herself, she found she was thinking about him a lot.

Eventually he asked her to have coffee with him after the meeting. She really couldn’t say no since the coffee shop was right in the bookstore where they had their meetings. Conversation flowed comfortably between them, and when he asked if she’d like to have dinner with him on Friday night she smiled sincerely and said yes.

One dinner led to another, and to shopping trips, walks in the park, movies, plays, concerts, and museums. There was a lovely first kiss in a darkened doorway after a dinner date, and there had been several passionate make-out sessions at both of their apartments. She noticed that he never pushed himself on her; things always seemed to just take their course. She also became aware that somewhere deep in her soul, her chains felt lighter and looser. There were no games with him and there were no “if onlys”. He seemed to like her just as she was, and that made her like herself.

They’d been out for dinner and a movie and were heading back to her place for some quiet time. She turned to him while he was driving and asked if he would stay the night with her. She couldn’t believe she’d let the words escape from her mouth, but they were out there now. She was so busy fretting, she almost missed it when he said he would love that.

They sat around on the couch with the TV on, cuddling and kissing. He was touching her in a way that was familiar to her now: like she was a gift. As he ran his hands over her body, he murmured things softly: things like “perfect” and “beautiful” and “sexy”. She smiled.

Finally, she stopped him and stood up, reaching for his hand. She led him to her bedroom and they stretched out on the bed together. He undressed her slowly, and she helped him out of his clothes as well. Time didn’t mean a thing; he lingered over every part of her. Somewhere, she could hear cooing and purring–she almost laughed when she realized it was coming from her.

At exactly the right moment, he rolled her over and slipped inside of her–so slowly and so sweetly. Still and quiet like the night sky, he looked down upon her and smiled. He loved her well and fully, making her cry out so many times that he lost count.

Covered by her cries were sounds only she heard: clink, clang, clunk…as every link of every chain that had ever held her fell away. Her heart soared; her spirit rested; her soul found peace.

With him, she was finally and truly unfettered.

Vicarious

•January 17, 2012 • Leave a Comment

“I really don’t know about this, David,” she said dubiously. Turning, she looked into the mirror and wound a strand of hair around her index finger.

“Oh, come on, Jess, it’ll be fun!” he told her. “You look so hot dressed like that and I really want to show you off. We’ll go, we’ll walk around and see what there is to see, and that’s it.”

She examined her reflection closely. David had picked out and purchased everything she was wearing–the tight black boots that reached above her knees, the shiny black PVC skirt that laced up both sides, and the  apple red corset into which she was snuggly laced. Even without her hair and makeup done, she had to admit she did look pretty amazing. She didn’t think she’d mention it to David right now, but she also felt…different…dressed like this.

“We’ll just look around?” she asked seriously. “You’re not going to make me do anything, right?”

“No, of course not! We’ll just go and talk to people and take in the atmosphere.”

She sighed. “Well, I guess…hey, what exactly do you think we’re going to see there?” she asked him, a look of concern on her face.

He walked toward her, took her hand, and led her to the big overstuffed chair. Sitting down, he pulled her into his lap.

“What do you THINK we might see?” he asked her.

She thought for a moment, almost embarrassed to put her thoughts into words.

“I don’t know, David. I guess maybe people getting whipped or flogged or spanked. People chained or tied to things, gagged maybe. And, you know, people doing sexual stuff.” She squirmed in his lap.

“Okay, and what if we DO see those things? How are you going to feel about that?”

“I’m not sure, honestly. It’s not the kind of thing you see every day, after all…” she looked away as her voice trailed off.

He put a finger under her chin and turned her face back towards his.

“What are you afraid of, Jess?” he asked quietly.

“Nothing,” she told him, “I’m not afraid of anything. I…I just don’t want to see something that makes me freak out or start giggling like an idiot in the middle of the place.”

That was a lie, but David didn’t seem to pick up on it.

“You’ll be fine, Jess, I promise. You’ll be with me, and if you see something you don’t want to see, we’ll simply move along.”

“Okay,” she said, quietly. “What time are we leaving?”

Hours later, she stood dressed in the exotic outfit once again, this time with her hair and makeup done with great care. David was by her side, dressed in leather pants and a black shirt, and they were standing outside a large metal door with the words “THE FOUNDRY” emblazoned on it. David opened the door and they entered.

They stopped at the window, showed their identification and paid the entry fee and then moved into the dim redness within. Instinctively, Jess reached down for David’s hand. She felt him give it a squeeze, but her blood seemed to be racing like rapids through her body.

It was 11 pm and the party was in full swing. Once in the main room, David steered them to the right. A small group of people was gathered nearby and, as they drew nearer, they could see a man stretched out over a bench of some kind. As Jess looked between some of the people in the group, she could see he was wearing a thong of sorts, leaving his backside bare. A beautiful blonde woman was standing to the side of the bench, a large wooden paddle in her hand. She was smiling and talking to the assembled group while the man just waited. A few minutes later, she leaned toward him, said something that Jess could not hear, and then raised the paddle and brought it down against his ass with tremendous force.

Jess shuddered at the sound of wood against bare skin and heard the man’s quivering voice say, “Thank you, Mistress.” She felt something akin to embarrassment, yet she couldn’t look away. The woman struck the man with the paddle several more times before David indicated that they were going to walk on.

They passed a bar selling soft drinks, juices and water and David stopped to get a bottle of water for each of them. The coolness of the plastic felt good against her overheated skin.

As they continued to walk, they came to an area with large wooden frames shaped like X’s and T’s. There were only one or two people observing, so Jess had a clear view of the woman who was attached to the X-shaped frame. She was bound at her wrists and ankles by large leather cuffs attached to the X. There were small platforms for her feet, but not much else in the way of support. She seemed to be completely naked, though it was hard to be sure since the front of her body was against the framework–leaving her back exposed. The man standing with her was holding a large, heavy-looking flogger. Glancing sideways at David, Jess noticed he looked more interested in this scene than he had in the last one. She turned her attention back to the couple.

The man raised the flogger nonchalantly and let if fall against the woman’s back then repeated this action several times. As he continued, Jess could tell that the fall of the flogger became heavier and more intense. She felt a mist of perspiration form on her forehead, but she kept watching. The man expertly wielded the flogger, spreading the strokes across the woman’s entire upper back. After a few more strokes, he let it move down to her full bottom. At some point, the woman began to moan softly. Jess felt something flutter inside her. She licked her lips.

Putting down the flogger, the man quickly released the woman from the frame, turned her around so she was facing outward, and secured her once again. He stroked her cheek and asked if she was okay. She nodded, and he kissed her cheek.

He reached into his bag and brought out a hard-sided case. Opening it, he took out a dildo and some lube and prepared it, then walked over to the woman and slid it up into her. She moaned more loudly, and Jess had to catch herself before she moaned too. She had never imagined experiencing this kind of vicarious excitement, but she knew she was enjoying it.

She felt herself grow damp as the man rested his thigh against the end of the dildo and gently pumped his leg. Her breathing quickened in time with the woman’s. The man reached into his pocket and brought out something shiny. In an instant, he had a clamp on each of the woman’s nipples and she was whimpering. Unable to stop herself, Jess made a sound. The blood rushed to her cheeks, which surprised her because she would have sworn that all of her blood was busy in the lower areas of her body.

David turned to look at her when she made the sound and he moved behind her, embracing her. He spoke into her ear.

“Do you want to keep watching, Jess?” he asked in a whisper.

“I…” Her voice was shaking. “I…want you to do that to me…just like that.”

David smiled knowingly.

 

 

Overture

•January 17, 2012 • 1 Comment

The black car drove up the long driveway, past the manicured lawn and well-groomed trees. She had only a few moments to replay in her mind the conversation she’d had before she left her home.

She’d known for several weeks that she was making this trip but that morning before she left, her Master called her to his study. She entered quietly, finding him seated behind his desk, pen in hand.

“Good morning, Master,” she greeted him.

He rose and walked around the desk, kissing her cheek and shepherding her into a chair.

“All ready to go?” he asked, already knowing the answer.

“Yes, Master.”

“Good. I will miss you until you return on Monday, My Own, but I know you will bring me honor.”

“I will surely do my best, Master,” she said, feeling somewhat smaller suddenly.

“I know you will,” he said, stroking her cheek softly. “All you need to do is be the girl I know you are–the girl I helped to create.”

The car stopped in front of the exquisite house and the driver came around to open her door. As she stood looking up the softly rising stairs, he fetched her bag from the trunk and quickly carried it up to the door. She placed one foot on the first step, hesitated a moment, and then resolutely made the climb.

The driver tipped his cap to her as she joined him and murmured that he would return for her on Monday at the appointed time. She thanked him and watched as he descended to the car. Then she turned and faced the front door, with its classic door knocker–a gold lion with a ring in its mouth. She reached out, took hold of the ring, and knocked it against the frame twice.

She was quite surprised when the door opened.

“Good morning and welcome, Allana.”

“Sir Marcus,” she stammered, “a very good morning to you as well.”

He reached down and picked up her bag, and stepped to the side to allow her to enter the house. He placed her bag down next to him and kissed both her cheeks.

“Be welcome in my house, now and always,” he said, warmly.

She smiled and lowered her eyes shyly.

“Thank you, Sir Marcus. I bring you the greetings of my Master and his wishes for your good health and happiness.”

“Delightful,” he responded. “I trust he is well?”

“Oh, yes, Sir.”

“I’m pleased to hear it. Ah, here’s Lucy,” he said, as a young woman in maid’s attire came down the long stairway.

“Lucy, this is Allana, who is our guest this weekend. Please take her to her room, help her to get settled in, and then show her to my sitting room.”

The maid nodded and smiled at Allana. “This way, Miss.”

“I’ll see you shortly,” Sir Marcus said with a smile.

Twenty-five minutes later, Lucy was showing her the door of Sir Marcus’s private parlor. She thanked the maid kindly for her help, smoothed her fitted black skirt, and knocked on the door.

“Enter,” Marcus’s muffled voice called from within.

“Ah, there you are!” he said, as she entered and moved toward him. “I hope your room is to your liking?”

“Oh, yes, Sir, it’s quite beautiful,” she replied.

“Please, come and sit,” he beckoned as he moved to a small couch near the windows.

As she moved to the couch, she could not help take in the amazing vista outside the windows–a wide patio furnished with comfortable chairs, tables and couches; a perfectly landscaped garden; and woods that looked like each tree had been purposely placed to create paths and shadowed places. Marcus watched the girl, smiling.

She came back to herself and carefully seated herself next to him on the settee.

He took her hand in his and looked into her eyes as he spoke.

“I cannot say that I am not very pleased that your Master and I were able to come to this arrangement, Allana. It is extremely generous of him to allow me the pleasure of your company and service for the weekend.”

“It’s my pleasure, Sir Marcus, to be able to visit and serve you,” she said quietly.

“Indeed,” he smiled. ‘If you have any questions about our time together, I would be happy to address them.”

“None, Sir. My Master has spoken of you with great respect, and that tells me all I need to know. While I am under your roof, I am yours without restriction.”

“Your Master gives me a great gift; I will be sure to show my full appreciation,” Marcus told her.

She felt her cheeks blush.

“Did your Master mention to you that I’m a great music lover, Allana?” he asked.

“He did, Sir Marcus. Do you favor a particular genre over others?”

“Well, although I like a great many kinds of music, I’d have to say that classical is my favorite.”

She smiled and said, “I’m very partial to classical music as well, Sir.”

“Are you? That’s wonderful! Then you’ll know that many classical works begin with an overture,” he said.

She nodded in acknowledgement.

“And so, I think, shall we,” he said, standing and reaching out a hand toward her. She took it, rising from the couch and following him as he moved across the room toward a door.

He opened the door and led her into an office that was decorated in masculine colors and patterns. He stopped about four feet from the desk and told her to stand in that spot. Then he walked the rest of the way to the desk and rested against the front of it, facing her. She watched him silently, her heart racing.

“Take off your blouse, Allana,” he commanded quietly.

She undid the buttons with fumbling fingers, trying to calm herself and demonstrate her gracefulness. She breathed deeply as she shrugged the garment off her shoulders and draped it carefully over a nearby chair.

“Now your skirt, please.”

Obediently, she reached around behind her and lowered the zipper, then stepped out of the skirt. It joined the blouse on the chair, and she stood in her lace bra and panties, garter belt and stockings. Her excitement was building, though she willed herself to stillness.

“You are very lovely, Allana,” Sir Marcus said as he approached her. “I have long looked forward to your service.”

He was standing right in front of her now, and he reached out a hand and touched her lightly–her face, her stomach, the inside of her thigh. His touch was like a small flame on her skin. He moved behind her, touching her shoulders, the small of her back, her round bottom. He took her by the right wrist, drawing her arm back toward him, then reached for the other to join it.

Arranging her hands as he wished them, he whispered into her ear, “Stay just like that, Allana.”

In a few moments, her hands were bound with what felt like ribbon.

“You’re quite irresistible, Allana,” he said, drawing a blindfold from his pocket. He tied it around her head and checked to make sure it wasn’t too tight.

She was temporarily disoriented and could not tell where he was; then she felt him release the clasps on her bra and push it down her arms so that her breasts were exposed. She knew he was standing directly in front of her then.

Running a thumb over each nipple, he inhaled deeply, then leaned forward and spoke.

“You fill my head with music, Allana. Now I’m going to make you sing.”

Bench

•January 15, 2012 • Leave a Comment

The totally unextraordinary piece of furniture sat against the wall by the bottom of the staircase. It had been right there in that spot the first time she had ever visited his house, and for who knows how long before that. She’d never seen anything placed on it, nor had she ever seen it sat upon. It was just there–made of a good solid wood, sturdy, dependable. On this particular day, she actually took a moment to have a closer look at it. It was, by her estimation, about five feet long and two-and-a-half feet deep. The back of it had spindles that were thin at the ends and fatter in the middle, spaced evenly. It had an armrest at each end and today, for the first time, she noticed that there were hinges along the back edge of the seat. That probably meant there was storage space inside.

Her odd inspection was interrupted by the click of the door behind her. She turned quickly to find the man of the house coming in from work.

“Hello, my girl! What are you up to?” he asked her, moving close and embracing her.

“Oh..uh…nothing really, Master. I was just looking at your bench.”

“Were you now?” he asked, taking her hand and moving both of them closer to it. “This bench actually has an interesting story.”

“Does it?”

“Indeed,” he replied, and a faraway look whispered across his face for a moment. Then he turned to her and spoke.

“By the time I was entering high school, it was clear to my parents that I was never going to amount to anything. I’d spent my school years slipping through every crack I could find and making use of every excuse I could conjure. My behavior was unfocused and erratic, and they’d pretty much had enough. Before the new school year started, my mom went up to see the guidance counselor and had me placed in the vocational trades track at the school. I think she was praying that I would settle down enough to at least learn a trade and not end up in jail–or worse.”

“Unbeknownst to her, my father had a little private talk with me one day when we were out picking up materials for one of his construction jobs. He told me that if I didn’t straighten up and stop worrying my mom, he’d throw me out of the house with nothing but the clothes on my back. I took one look at his face and knew he meant it.”

“The first two years, I floundered, but I managed to stay out of trouble and slide into the next grade face first. Then, on the first day of my junior year, I met Mr. Morris.”

She looked up into his face. “Mr. Morris was a teacher, Master?”

“Yes, my girl, he was. He was the Wood Shop teacher and, aside from my parents, he’s probably the person most responsible for my continued presence here on earth.”

“He must have been a formidable person, Master,” she reflected.

“He was the most gentle and genteel man I’ve ever met–and the strongest,” he replied, quietly. “He was unlike any other teacher I’d ever known. He never lectured, he never raised his voice, he never even really said what his rules or expectations were. You just knew. We each had a station with the same equipment–basic hand tools at first–and he would go from student to student and give each of us a few basic instructions and let us get started. From that point on, he was in perpetual motion–always moving, always guiding, always assessing. He never pointed out your weaknesses or complained about them; he simply helped you to improve upon them.”

“One day after the midpoint of the school year, we were starting work on a furniture project–the first really large-scale project of the class. I’d decided I was going to play it safe and just make a foot locker, a basic box with a hinged top. I’d drawn my plan and had my measurements and when Mr. Morris approached, I handed it to him. He looked it over carefully, then took out a pencil and worked on it for a few minutes before handing it back to me.”

” ‘Good drawing, Tom. I think you’ll be happier and find more use from the additions I made there. Oh, and you’ll be using the electric tools for this project.’ And with that, he moved on.”

“Well, I was floored; no one had yet been allowed to move from hand tools to electric tools–and now it seemed I was to be the first. I think I broke out in a cold sweat. Then I looked down at my sketch to find…well, that bench,” he said, indicating the piece in front of them.

She was captured by his story and gave her attention to his every word. She knew this was the story of a pivotal moment in his life.

“It’s hard to really explain, my girl, but I felt such a responsibility to do everything perfectly in the building of this bench, and I threw my whole self into the task. I even started staying after school, returning to the shop in order to have extra time to work on it. I put my sweat and blood–literally and figuratively–into that bench. The day I finished it, Mr. Morris came over and stood beside me. He looked it over carefully, lifting the seat to inspect the interior, then lowering it and sitting down. He put his arm on the armrest and slouched back a bit. Then he stood up again, took his place next to me, and put his hand on my shoulder.”

” ‘It’s a fine piece, Tom…a very fine piece, indeed.’ I felt as if I’d won an Academy Award, and all of a sudden I found I had a completely different outlook about myself and about my life. Not only did I work hard at developing my woodworking and carpentry skills, I also put a lot more effort into the rest of my classes. I carried myself differently, I had a new sense of confidence and accomplishment–I felt like I could be someone.”

He paused, looking down at her and smiling. She slipped her arms around his waist and hugged him close.

“Thank you for sharing that story with me, Master; I’d never have imagined a bench having such an important place in someone’s life.”

“Oh, yes, my girl. This bench has seen some very important moments in my life…” and with that he sat down on it, leading her to stand directly in front of him.

“Really, Master?” she asked, wondering what important events might have included a lowly bench.

“Yes, it’s true. For example, I gave my very first spanking on this bench,” he said, looking up into her eyes with vague amusement.

“Oh, my…I see,” she said, feeling the blood rushing to her cheeks.

He pulled her toward him, and deftly turned her over his lap and raised her skirt. She felt his hand caressing her now-exposed bottom.

She squeaked a bit as she uttered one word: “Master?”

“Yes, my girl?”

Very timidly she asked, “What are you doing?”

He was quiet for a moment, then he said, “Did I mention that once I put my mind to it, it turned out that I was an excellent student of history?”

“No, Master, you didn’t mention that,” she replied.

“Ah, well, that was, indeed, the case, so I thought we might have a bit of a historical reenactment…”

Before she could say anything, he raised his hand and brought it down against her, quickly and lightly. He repeated this action again and again, with a little more force each time. She was breathless in his lap and moaned softly.

“Ah, yes…I do so love history,” he murmured.

Elusion

•January 13, 2012 • Leave a Comment

The city is a big place with millions of people, so what is the mathematical probability of seeing the same stranger again and again in your travels, she wondered?

She had first seen him as she was attempting to hail a cab on the corner of 24th Street and Tenth Avenue. For a fleeting moment, he was alone on the corner across from her, waiting for the light to change. His head had turned in her direction and she was fascinated by his green eyes and silver hair. In the next moment, a beam of sunlight illuminated the spot where he stood and he was silhouetted against the sky. She remembered looking in her bag to see if, by some odd chance, she’d left her camera in it; when she turned back, he had been carried away in a rag-tag crowd of pedestrians.

Three weeks later, she was meeting a girlfriend for drinks at a midtown hotspot. She was early by nearly a half-hour, so she was window-surfing as she walked slowly toward her destination. A window full of cameras, cell phones, and assorted cut-rate electronic devices became the window of a bodega displaying advertisements for international calling cards. A view into a tiny bakery was followed by the open doors of a cafe. She moved along, crossing the bustling avenue and approaching the part of the street where she was to meet her friend. Stopping to read the bulletins in front of a church-turned-theater-venue used up a few more minutes, and she figured if she took a moment to look at the menus in front of each of the restaurants between her current location and the bar, she would get there right on time.

Greek, Italian, eclectic American….she was getting hungry. The next restaurant was French and the menu sat in a small case just outside the main window. She perused it with a sigh and as she lifted her eyes from it, there he was again–the silver-haired, green-eyed man, standing at the bar with a drink in his hand. She blinked a few times, her recognition of him kicking in. He shifted his gaze and met her eyes, holding her there. Everything else seemed to fade away, like one of those cinematic moments. She took a step or two toward the door of the restaurant, but wasn’t sure if she was moving under her own control. Three more steps and she would be inside.

Suddenly a hand was on her arm. She quickly looked in that direction, surprised to see the face of her girlfriend. The rest of the world came rushing back.

“Hey, you! This is not the right place; we’re a few doors down. Come on,” her friend said, grabbing her hand.

As she was hustled off up the street, she thought about this strange second sighting and her reaction to this stranger. She had meant to go into that restaurant; what had she planned to do once inside? She seemed to have no idea.

What she did know was that she’d begun to see him in her dreams. He was at the newsstand on the corner but she couldn’t get across the street; he was in the subway car on the other track; he was in the grocery store but when she turned into the aisle, he was gone. She was haunted but didn’t know why.

Weeks passed. She found her attention constantly being diverted by a flash of silver hair or the glint in a pair of green eyes. None of these belonged to her stranger, but it didn’t matter–she was a hunter now.

The weeks turned into a month, and she found herself uptown on Museum Row on a crisp and sunny Saturday morning. She wandered through the warm, quiet alcoves at the Met, visiting her favorite paintings and sculptures. She stood out on one of the balconies looking out over the park, the sun shining on her face. She mulled over ideas for the rest of the day and then headed out of the museum and up one of the tree-lined streets. Two avenues up, she began to browse through the shops of the antique book sellers, looking for something special to add to her small collection. She was partial to poetry, but the first two stores had nothing that interested her.

She walked into the third store, smiling and nodding at the proprietor, then headed for the first aisle of treasures. As she stepped around the shelving, she froze both physically and mentally. He stood three feet from her–silver hair pushed carelessly but perfectly back from his forehead, green eyes rising to look into her face, a slight smile gracing his lips. His elusion–however unintentional–was over.

She roused herself from her shocked stillness, moved toward him with her hand outstretched, and felt a smile come to her face.

“Well, hello there…it’s so nice to finally meet you.”

Opulent

•January 12, 2012 • Leave a Comment

The door barely made a sound as she opened it, but her heels tapped out a steady patter as she moved across the marble floor. A hundred candles lit her way, placed carefully on the low walls that flanked the empty room. She reached the tiled courtyard, filled with verdant plants and a pond where koi swam languidly; that’s when she saw the trail of white rose petals. Breathing in the delicate perfume, she turned to the right and walked on until she reached the double staircase. Placing her hand on the large handrail she slowed her pace and climbed. Each click of her heels coincided perfectly with the beating of her heart and the soft inhalation of her breath. Though the day was hot, she was surrounded by  cool marble and the heady scent of the rose petals.

Reaching the top of the stairs, the delicate petals drew her to the left and into a shadowed alcove. A quick right found her in an expansive room that was dark but for two distinct areas. Gazing to her left, she found a copper bathtub–already filled with scented water–lit from above by a chandelier holding at least two dozen candles. The light from it formed a golden pool and reflected off the metallic vessel. She turned to her right and took about twenty steps, finally stopping at the foot of a bed that could only be described as opulent. Six enormous pillar candles flanked it, setting it apart from the dark shadows.  The bed’s four high posts were gilded with gold and carved with delicate flowers and fairies, and each was wrapped in lengths of gossamer that trailed down and onto the floor in every direction. The sheets were silk and seemed to ripple like water across the surface of the bed. Piled atop the sheets were furs the likes of which she had never seen nor touched, their softness a balm for every small injury that had ever troubled her soul.

She stepped back into the darkness and closed her eyes. She felt the room whispering against her skin and then a different power–one that played like an electric current, jumping here and there, teasing, arousing, igniting something within her. Without opening her eyes, she slid the slight straps of her sundress down her arms and let the dress fall away. Slowly, she banished the lace underthings and stood naked in the dimness. Her eyes still closed, she moved back in the direction of the bed, stopping when she felt the fur against her thigh. Climbing up, she nestled down into the furs as a shiver ran the entire length of her body. She lay still, the power of the room pressing in against her from all sides, and then she heard it.

Footsteps. Downstairs. Moving. Climbing. Coming.

She pushed against the room, freeing herself, readying herself.

Smiling softly, she needed no eyes to know he was there. She reached out her hand and opened her soul.