I wake up screaming. Another fucking nightmare. When, when will they stop? Christ – they’re getting worse.
As I start to sit up my muscles protest. I trudge into the bathroom and stare at myself. I’m still fully dressed from my encounter with Elena at the club. I pull off my sweat-soaked T-shirt and angle my shaving mirror so I can see myself in the main bathroom mirror. My back is a mess: in about half a dozen places she’s broken the skin. She’s never done that before; it’ll be more than a couple of weeks before those marks fade.
I pull off my jeans and see that the marks from the cane continue down the back of my legs. Shit. I won’t be able to wear shorts. I wonder if I’m going to have to cut rowing practice for a while. And kickboxing. It’s going to look weird doing that with a long-sleeved T-shirt and long sweatpants.
I feel raw anger at what Elena’s done to me. This is new. I’ve always enjoyed her viciousness before: or rather, found it an acceptable way to be near someone. Last night wasn’t acceptable: she let that woman touch me. I fucking hate being touched.
I shake my head. It’s hard to compartmentalise all these alien feelings, especially at four in the morning. I roam around my small apartment, feeling anxious and caged in. Maybe a shower will help me calm down.
The hot water stings in too many places but it soothes as well. When the massaging stream cools, I stagger out of the shower and lie face down on the bed but I don’t sleep.
As dawn breaks I pull on a pair of sweatpants and sweatshirt and head outside. My muscles are sore but at least the pain in my ass is less – I guess all the training helps. I jog slowly through the park trying to put my thoughts in order. I don’t know if Elena is still in town and whether or not she’s planning on seeing me tonight. At the thought of her, my cock does what it always does but I’m irritated with my body’s response. I don’t want to go through what she put me through last night ever again. Touching is a hard limit. No. I won’t let her do that to me again. Ever.
I stop running as I have an epiphany: I don’t want to sub for Elena anymore. I don’t want to be a sub ever again. I need control in my life – I fucking need control. So no-one can ever touch me. Suddenly the image of Shelly flits into my mind. I imagine her sweet face screwed up with pleasure and pain as I fetter, fuck and flog her. Yes, that’s what I want. I want to dominate women. Although maybe Shelly isn’t such a good idea. I need someone already into the scene.
I start jogging again, letting the warmth of exercise loosen me up. By the time I get back to my apartment, my mind is made up. No more Elena. Unless… it’s a crazy idea but maybe… unless she wants to sub for me? Would she go for that? I can’t imagine it, but maybe. We’ll see. I decide to text her, even though it’s against her careful rules.
* Where are you? I need to see you again. C. *
I shower again quickly and dress carefully: a long-sleeved white shirt with the cuffs fastened to hide the welts. I pick up my books for class and remember that I left Shelly hanging last night. We were nearly finished, so it shouldn’t take long to sort out our assignment. And I might be able to go to rowing practice if I put sweat bands over my wrists and wear long sweatpants. Kickboxing is definitely out though and the thought pisses me off.
Stupidly I’ve forgotten about Professor Mathers. She’s waiting for me when I walk into the lecture hall.
“I’d like to see you in my office now, Mr Grey,” she says, her face stern.
Some of the other students glance up at her serious tone. At the back of the lecture hall I can see Shelly staring at me biting her lip. Someone else that I’m going to have to explain things to: well, make up some sort of explanation.
I hover inside Professor Mathers’ office as she shuts the door. It reminds me of the times I got expelled for fighting when I was 15, before Elena took me in hand.
“Please sit, Christian,” she says quietly.
Oh. Not ‘Mr Grey’, then.
I sit in the chair opposite her, leaning back, wearing my mask of arrogance. It’s the face that irritates people the most. My body language is passively aggressive.
She raises her eyebrows as she looks at me. She’s confused. I know what she’s thinking: submissive last night – very different now.
“Are you alright?”
“I’m fine, thank you.”
“You weren’t fine last night.”
She leaves the sentence hanging, but as she hasn’t asked a question I don’t bother to reply. I just stare at her.
“The woman you were with last night… is she your… girlfriend?”
I almost laugh. Elena is most definitely not my girlfriend!
I know Professor Mathers is just thinking of her pastoral duties towards a student, but I have to shut down this line of questioning.
“I don’t like to discuss my private life, Professor.”
She sighs. She’s smart enough to see this is going nowhere.
“Well, Mr Grey, I hope you know you can talk to me should you have any… concerns.”
Her gaze hardens and she shifts uncomfortably in her chair.
“As your personal tutor it is my professional responsibility to inform the authorities of any risk-taking behaviour.”
Shit! She’s serious!
“And from what I saw last night… that is certainly the case with you.”
“I don’t need your help.”
My voice is quiet but I can feel the careful control slipping away from me as my anger mounts.
“I think you do,” she replies. “I’m going to make a formal recommendation for you to talk to Dr Weitz, our counsellor, this morning. Not negotiable.”
I lose it big time.
I’m on my feet and staring down at her before I know it.
“Then I fucking quit! I don’t need this. I don’t need any of this! I’m out of here.”
And I stalk out of her office, leaving the good Professor speechless.
I’ve said the words that have been churning around in my head for a while now. I’ve lost motivation at Harvard; I’m bored of the limits it has to offer me. I want to get out into the real world and put what I’ve learned into practice – put my god-given talents to use. He didn’t make me a fucking genius for no reason.
I scowl. I don’t like people using my first name.
Shelly. Of course.
She blanches at my tone.
“Are you ok? You left so suddenly last night – and you look kind of mad.”
“I’m fine, thank you. But you’ll have to complete Professor Mathers’ assignment with someone else.”
Her quiet voice sounds hurt and I stare down into her gentle my eyes, my angry stance softening slightly.
“Because I’ve decided to leave Harvard,” I say, almost kindly.
Her eyes widen in shock.
“But why? You can’t be having problems with your grades?”
I grin at her. Oh no, baby, no problem there.
I shrug. “I’ve had enough.”
“But last night…” she stutters to a halt and I frown at her. “Last night was… really good,” she says hesitantly.
I feel like rolling my eyes at her but that would hardly be polite.
“Take care, Shelly,” I say over my shoulder as I walk away.
I drive back to my apartment, box up my shit, mostly books, CDs, and clothes, and drive it to a freight company to send home. I cancel the rent on my apartment and write a brief letter for the Harvard administration. No going back.
I take my Ford to a used car dealership and take the second offer he makes me.
An hour later I’m waiting at the airport for a flight to Seattle. I text Elliot and ask him to come pick me up when I land, 7am EST. He’ll assume I’ve come home for a weekend break. No need to spread the good news that I’ve dropped out too soon.
I know it’s going to be one hell of a fight with my parents. They’ll try and talk me out of it. They won’t succeed.
I hate the thought of upsetting them, especially my mother, but I have to do this.