Chapter 11

Grey Independent Communications was launched today – or rather SIC was rebranded. It feels pretty fucking good to have the company in my name.

Yeah, yeah, one giant fucking ego trip, but it has a purpose beyond that: it’s my calling card in the business world. I’ve had the marketing team working overtime getting the launch materials right: website, seeding the business forums with updates, new logo, mission statement – all the usual bullshit. Important bullshit: to make sure all the staff are working for the same goal and customers know who we are and what we stand for – what I stand for.

And in the meantime, I’ve quietly bought company number two, a small but interesting cell phone manufacturer. They’re marketing is frankly last fucking century but even so they’ve got good sales because they’ve got a good product. Their overheads, however, are too high and spending is out of control. They’re losing money every month. I’ve lost count of the businesses I’ve read about going to the wall because they forgot the key mantra: sales are vanity, profit is king. If you don’t make a profit, you may as well pack up and go home and put the entire labor force into unemployment. So I bought WA Cell Phones for a song, yeah a five million dollar song. But my business plan says that in six months, it’ll be pulling in an annual net profit of $1.9 million. Bring it on! I’m rebranding it as Grey Cells. Yeah, yeah, I know, but it made me smile, and not much does that – I don’t have the time.

I’ve had drinks with Elliot twice in the last month and I’ve promised Mia I’ll take her to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at the weekend. It’s kind of an annual thing just the two of us do for her birthday. I take her into the city for dinner, then we go and see a show. I prefer opera, but she likes dance. Whatever.

Other than that, I’ve been working and getting in a couple of runs a day. I need to find a kick boxing club near where I live, or maybe near the office would be better, because I really feel the need to kick some shit out of someone, and the staff are out of bounds. Pity. I thank my lucky stars that I found Ros: she knows what she’s doing and she can keep up. She’ll run GIC while I whip the new employees into shape. Wish I fucking could. But I mustn’t think along those lines: I haven’t had time to do anything about finding somewhere I can be a Dom, and I haven’t responded to Elena’s offer. I need some… space from her.

When I think about her, which I do too much, I see her broken in the hospital, knowing that I was responsible for that, at least in part. Linc has a lot to answer for, but Elena doesn’t want me to touch him. I’ll respect her wishes, but if he lays one finger on her again, I won’t be responsible for my actions.

I suspect she still wants to sub for me, and tempting as the idea is, I know it’s not a good one. Better that we stay friends, if that’s what we are. My head is so fucked up, it’s hard to think.

Mom has been dropping hints that I should find a new therapist to talk through all my shit. I don’t need a fucking shrink, I need a fucking sub. That’s all the therapy I need.

And, as if thinking about her has conjured her up, Elena texts me…

* Have proposition for you. R u free this weekend? *

Not really. I work. All the time. But I’m intrigued, as Elena knew I would be.

I get home – or rather back to the apartment that I see for a few hours each night – and change into my sweats for a run. I want to work, but I need to run. First, I call Elena.

“Hello, Christian, you got my message then?”

“Obviously, otherwise I wouldn’t be calling.”

“Don’t be so testy! I’ve got something that might interest you.”

“I’m listening.” Christ, she likes to string it out.

“A friend of a friend is hosting a special party at a private house out near Olympia. Very discreet. I believe the host is a district judge. I thought you might enjoy playing out a couple of scenes, as a Dom, of course, if you’re available. I’ve already signed up – as a Domme, naturally.”

I really want to say yes, but I’ve got a lot of work to do. The needs of one part of me, and the needs of the other seem to be mutually exclusive, but maybe Elena does have a solution.

“Maybe. When would we have to leave?”

“People will be arriving throughout Saturday afternoon. There’ll be a buffet dinner, very civilized, and then people just… do what comes naturally.” She laughs a light, silvery sound. “Or unnaturally, of course. We can leave anytime, although I believe most stay for breakfast, or dessert, depending on your stamina and point of view. You never had a problem with stamina, did you, Christian?”

I know she’s taunting me, but I don’t care. The idea is really attractive – except for the bit about staying for breakfast. I so don’t want to see my sub over the breakfast table. Although there’s something about a morning fuck that’s a real turn on.

“I’m waiting for an answer, Christian; you know I don’t like waiting.”

I don’t need to think about it anymore. “Ok, I’m in. But not fucking breakfast.”

“I rather like fucking before breakfast; it gives me an appetite… as you may remember, Christian.”

“I’m too busy for fucking memory lane, Elena. I’ll pick you up at six.”

“No, Christian. I’ll pick you up at 6.30pm. I’ll be in the city looking at possible salon locations. I presume you’d rather I picked you up from your apartment?”

“No. My car or forget it.”

“Oh, Christian! Are you trying to order me around? That’s so sweet!”

“Fuck off, Elena.”

“Don’t be a grump, Christian, it doesn’t suit you. Fine. I’ll be at your apartment at 6.30pm and we can go in your car. Happy?”

“Delirious.”

I hang up, irritated but excited, too. Now I really need that run.

There’s something about running at night, when the streets are emptying and moving into silence. I pass offices and shops, pools of light, glowing like jewels. I try not to catch my image in their windows, but when I do I seem a pale reflection of a person. It feels like this is the real me – a shadow travelling through the darkness. I like feeling invisible. So much of my life I’ve had people staring at me, trying to analyse me, wondering why I’m so fucked up and why the pretty packaging doesn’t match the ugliness inside.

I see my family watching me when they think my mind is elsewhere, like when I’m playing the piano. My mother stares at me and her expression is so sad I can’t bear to see it. I know there’s love in that look, but it’s only because she doesn’t know the real me. She can never know the real me: it would break her. I sometimes think my dad senses the otherness; there’s a look of doubt in his eyes, as if he sees some of the darkness. Perhaps it’s the difference between their two professions: mom wants to mend broken people, people like me; dad wants to know how their mind works. If he knew how my mind worked, he’d never want to speak to me again. I wouldn’t blame him. I’m fifty shades of fucked up and I don’t want to drag my family into my darkness. They deserve better than me. If… when I achieve in business, then, maybe, I can deserve their love. It’s a long shot. I know I deserve nothing.

I run until my brain numbs. The cops round here are used to seeing me late at night, or maybe it’s early in the morning. They don’t bother me anymore. I got stopped a few times when I first moved into my apartment. Now they just ignore me: another crazy guy who can’t sleep. Yeah, that’s about right.

Saturday

I’ve been working at home all day, except for a brief run earlier and I’ve bought a set of free weights to use at the apartment. I’m just thinking about taking a shower and getting ready when the intercom buzzes. It’s only 5.45pm. Elena is too fucking early. It makes me pissed.

“What?”

“Nice greeting, little bro!” Elliot’s voice sounds tinny through the cheap speaker.

“What do you want Elliot?”

“To come in, for a start!”

I sigh, but press the entry button anyway. I can hear him thundering up the stairs. What does he want?

“Hey, little bro. How’s it hanging?”

Christ! He talks like a fucking juvenile sometimes!

“What do you want, Elliot?”

“Truth? Mom sent me to see you. No-one’s heard from you for weeks.”

“Not true; I’m taking Mia to the ballet for her birthday tomorrow. I texted her.”

He rolls his eyes. “Yeah, mom wanted to see evidence of a body. So here I am.”

“Great. You’ve seen me. I’m busy.”

“Don’t be such a fucking shit, Christian. Mom and dad are worried about you.”

“Oh for fucks sake! I’m fine! I’ve been working, running a business. You know. I need to put in the hours.” I stare at him angrily. He holds up his hands in a placating gesture.

“Yeah, I do know, as it happens. But all work and no play makes you a dull dumb-ass. Come on, I’m taking you for a drink.”

“I meant what I said, Elliot. I’m busy. As it happens, I’m going out and I need to get ready.”

“Oh? Going where? Who with?”

Elliot is so fucking curious.

“Nowhere you’d know, with no-one you know.” My reply is terse.

I can tell he’s deciding whether to risk arguing with me but thinks better of it.

He chews his lip. “Mom asked me to remind you… to be safe. Don’t bite my head off, I’m just passing on the message. She made me promise.” He rolls his eyes.

I can tell what he’s thinking: bad shit, rent boys, all that ‘risk-taking behavior’ that dad thinks I’m into thanks to Professor Mathers’ fucking letter. Well, maybe the ‘bad shit’ bit is true.

“I’m fine, Elliot. Now will you just please fuck off?”

“You’re a real asshole sometimes, you know that?”

“Yeah. I know. Sorry.”

“Whatever. I told mom I’d come and see the corpse: job done. Laters.”

More true that you know, big brother; I am a dead man walking.

His footsteps echo in the stairwell and I hear the door slam downstairs. Yes, I have to keep them away. They can’t know the truth about me.

I hurry to shower: Elena will be here soon. My hair is still wet and I’ve only just pulled on a pair of jeans when the intercom buzzes again.

“Good evening, Christian. It’s not like you to be late. Are you safewording already?”

“Elena. You’re as amusing as ever. Actually, you just missed Elliot. Thank god. I’m ready now.”

“I’m very fond of Elliot.”

Yeah, yeah. Everyone loves Elliot. Why wouldn’t they? He’s not fifty shades of fucked up.

I ignore Elena’s comment. I know she’s trying to wind me up; I just don’t know why. Well, I do: because she can, because she likes seeing me mad.

The drive to Olympia takes just over an hour. Elena is pleased with the salon sites she’s seen in Seattle and has agreed to take over the lease on a unit in the Escala district. It’s an area that’s pretty smart and trendy: a good location for her. I wouldn’t mind living there one day, in fact, I plan to.

The directions she’s been given take us on a quiet side road and then along a turn-off into a gated driveway, framed by ancient cedars. A quarter of a mile down the road, a stately manor house of golden standstone sweeps into view. Its classic design and Georgian proportions are pleasing to look at. And as for the setting, it’s beautiful: tranquil and stately, as if the whole estate just drifted in from an English village in another century. Hardly the setting for what’s going to happen inside. The juxtaposition appeals to me.

And now we’re here, I feel the anticipation building up in me and I know Elena feels the same: I recognise the gleam in her eye, the tensing of her abdominal muscles. Yes, I know that look well.

An elegant woman in her late fifties opens the door. She’s wearing an evening dress and real diamonds at her throat and ears.

“Elena, darling! How wonderful to see you. And this is… your friend?”

“Beatrice, how charming you look! This is Christian.”

“Good evening, Christian. How nice to meet you. Please, call me Bea.”

“Bea, it’s very kind of you to invite me.” This is so weird! If she offers me a fucking sherry I might die laughing.

“Not at all, do come in. We’ve given our maid the evening off: I’m sure you understand.”

“Darling Bea, of course!” says Elena with a smile.

She leads us into what presumably is the dining room, except the table has been pushed to one side and the chairs removed. Instead of silverware, the dining table has been laid, if that’s the correct term, with an interesting choice of floggers, canes, whips, chains, cuffs, shackles, spreader bars and various toys in different shapes, sizes, colors and textures. Hmm, interesting. I see several of my weapons of choice on display. Just looking at them, thinking about how I could use them makes my cock twitch with anticipation. Yes, this is what I need, what I’ve been missing.

I count 17 adults, not including our hostess, Elena and myself. I’m the youngest person by about a decade, but that doesn’t bother me. There are men and women of pretty much every age, shape, size and color. It’s an intriguing tableau and diverting to decide who are the Dominants and who are the subs.

But the really fucking funny thing is that everyone there is dressed in bondage. Except the hostess. She probably chose to wear a dress in the case the DHL delivery guy turned up and had a coronary. Canapés have been laid out on a delicate sideboard along with red and white wine, champagne and a choice of spirits.

“Everyone,” says our hostess, “meet Elena and Christian: they’ll be joining our little party tonight. Well, we’re all here now, please feel free to mingle – and do help yourselves to drinks.”

She takes Elena’s elbow, “Did you want to change into something less appropriate, Elena, dear?”

Elena smiles coolly. “I’d really rather find a playmate, Bea, darling.”

I can see that Beatrice isn’t pleased, but she’s smart enough not to fuck with Elena.

“Of course, Elena, as you wish. Christian? A drink, perhaps?”

“Thank you, Beatrice. A white wine, please.”

She pours a glass of Viognier. It’s not bad, although a little flowery for my taste. Holst’s Mars is playing in the background: someone has a sense of humor.

“So, Christian. We’re delighted to have you here – in fact I’m rather looking forward to having you here myself,” croons our hostess.

She raises her hand towards my chest and I take a step away. I see surprise and confusion warring on her face.

“Is there a problem?”

“I prefer not to be touched – unless I say so.”

“How exciting! I shall look forward to it.”

She moves away to talk to someone else and I can see Elena watching me with amusement. She’s the only one who’s ever touched me: I didn’t like it then and I sure as fuck don’t have to tolerate it now.

Across the elegant room a woman in her early 40s catches my eye. She’s of medium height with a full, curvaceous figure, a bandage dress with cut-out sections flattering her curves. But what attracts me is the coil of mahogany hair that hangs over one shoulder. I’d like to wrap that hair around my wrist and pull – hard.

I cross the room, never breaking eye contact.

“Hello, it’s nice to meet someone new,” she says softly. “I’m Siobhan… and you’re Christian.”

“Good evening, Siobhan.”

“Are you enjoying yourself?”

“Not yet, but I hope to soon.”

She laughs quietly. “My! You’re impatient, but I like that. I don’t know who you are, but I can see what you are. Would you like to see my room?”

“Yes, I’d like that, Siobhan.”

We’re the first pair to leave the dining room but others are not far behind us; it’s as if a rope of pearls has been broken. Or maybe we’re swine, with the pearls being cast before us. Yeah, that’s more like it, for fucks sake.

I sweep up a selection of tools from the table as we leave.

Siobhan leads me up a broad staircase and across a galleried area towards a suite of bedrooms. She pushes open the door to one and flicks on a switch.

The light is soft, muted; the room womb-like and unlike any bedroom I’ve ever seen. In fact, apart from the fact that it contains a bed, sheathed with silky black sheets, it’s nothing like a bedroom. Carabiners hang from one corner and a set of grid-like rails criss-cross the ceiling. I like it very much indeed.

“Kneel. By the door.”

She turns in surprise at the sound of my voice.

“I said kneel. I won’t repeat myself again.”

Immediately she does as she’s told.

“Don’t look at me.”

Her eyes drop to the floor. I don’t like people looking at me.

I remove my jacket, shoes and socks, then undo my cufflinks and pull off my white shirt. I’m already getting hard: it’s been weeks, but I want to savor the moment.

I pad towards her, my feet silent on the thick carpet.

“Stand up.”

She uses the wall to climb awkwardly to her feet.

“Turn around.”

Slowly I pull down the zip on her dress, breathing in the scent of her hair. A shiver runs through her.

“Sshhh…”

I slip the dress down her shoulders, running my fingers across her back, then let the dress slip to the floor.

She’s wearing stockings but no panties. I’m disappointed: I like peeling panties off a moist, hot body.

I kneel down behind her and run my tongue gently across her buttocks, holding her hips firmly in my hands. Her skin is warm and dry and pleasing to touch.

“What are your safewords, Siobhan?”

“Am… amber,” she stammers, “and red. Sir.”

“Ok. Hard limits?”

“Fisting, sir.”

“Anything else?”

“No, sir.”

“Good.”

I intend to take my time. Let’s see how far I can take the delicious Siobhan. First I need to have her secured.

“I’m going to shackle you to the wall, Siobhan, and then I’m going to get to know you.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Lift your right hand.”

She lifts it and I fasten the leather cuff around her wrist. When her left is secured I relax – she can’t touch me now. But I don’t want her looking at me either.

“Close your eyes.”

I’m annoyed that I haven’t brought a silk scarf to mask her with. It’s one less piece of control for me to have. Irritating and inconvenient, but not a deal breaker.

Slowly I slide my fingers down her neck, her breasts, her stomach, her thighs, her calves and to her feet. She’s wearing too much perfume, masking her natural scent.

I sit cross-legged on the floor and gaze up at her, musing whether or not to secure her ankles, too. Maybe later. Clearly she can’t bear the building tension, because she dares to risk a glance downwards.

“Oh dear, Siobhan, it looks like I’m going to have to punish you, doesn’t it?”

Her reply is a hoarse whisper. “Yes, sir, I’ve been very bad.”

I swing her round so she’s facing the wall. Her body is quivering and her breathing shallow and rapid. I really fucking like that.

I stroll over to the cornucopia of toys and take my time selecting implement number one. I’m so fucking hard now, it’s becoming uncomfortable. But, I don’t want to rush this – we have all night, after all… or as long as she lasts.

Do I want a crop? A slapper? Or the dragon whip? Hmm. Choices, choices.

I go for the dragon whip. I haven’t used one of those for a while; don’t want to get out of practice.

I trail the fronds down her back and see her shiver of arousal, then I snap it hard near her head and see her back arch reflexively. No, I need music. There’s a CD player in the room, I wonder what tracks they’ve got.

I wander over and flip through the CDs. Ah, yes, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Solitude, perfect: sensual, slow – it suits my mood. I set it to play and stroll back to Siobhan who is practically quivering with desire and need. I wrap her coil of bright, brown hair around my left wrist and, at last, I start to work with the dragon whip, watching her warm, golden skin turn brighten under my tender touch. Soon she’s groaning, almost whimpering – the sound turns me on big time – and I can she’s close. Oh no, sweet Siobhan, not yet.

I stop suddenly and her legs tremble. I wander back over to the table of delights. Oh yes, lube and anal beads; yes, that’ll do nicely, thank you.

“This is for you, sweet Siobhan, because you’ve been such a good girl; I think you deserve a treat.”

Slowly and sensually I lube her glorious ass and insert the beads. I adjust them slightly and she comes immediately. Fuck! Amateur fucking mistake! I should have remembered that it was unlikely she’d have Elena’s control. As far as she knows, it was all planned, but I’m irritated with myself.

I pull off my jeans and enjoy the freedom of being without clothes. I notice that Siobhan’s legs are shaking.

“Oh, Siobhan, I think you’re going to have to start working out.”

I decide to be kind and let her kneel down to recover. But not for long.

“Put your hands behind your back.”

She looks up, bewildered, still panting.

“Hands.” I won’t say it again.

Obediently she does as she’s told. I secure them with cuffs and stand in front of her.

“My turn, Siobhan. I’m sure you know what to do.”

Tentatively at first, but gaining in confidence, she moves her mouth over my erection. It’s not deep-throating, but it’s not bad. The tension and stress of the last few weeks begin to fall away. Yes, this is what I need.

I hold her head with my hands and flex my hips. She moans softly, the sound is intoxicating. She starts to work me harder and I close my eyes letting the sensation flow through me, like liquid mercury, pulling me apart.

Finally I let myself go and rest my hands on her shoulders until my breathing slows.

“Very nice, Siobhan. Now, I think I’d like to see your sweet ass bent over the bed.”

I help her up and she looks at me in astonishment. “More? Sir…”

“Oh, yes, Siobhan, I always want more.”

Gently, I tip her over the bed and run my hands over her pink ass. Then I kneel down behind her and run my hands up between her thighs. She’s beautifully wet and the feeling is an aphrodisiac. Oh, yes, more coming right up. Or just coming.

Aroused again, I reach over to my jeans and pull a condom out of the packet, sliding it along my length. Then I stand and position myself behind her. I kiss the nape of her neck and slam into her: she calls out, a wordless cry.

“This is going to be hard and fast, baby!”

She groans and I increase the speed, changing the angle slightly until I feel her orgasm clenching around me. I pull out the beads with a sudden jerk and her fierce response and our joint momentum pushes me over the edge; I collapse on top of her, sated, for now at least.

I push myself off her and undo the cuffs. She doesn’t move. I pull her up into a sitting position and kneel behind her on the bed, rubbing her stiff shoulder muscles. She rolls her neck and blinks sleepily, purring as my fingers knead her.

Then I lay her on the bed and place the sheet over her. She’s asleep almost instantly.

I’m pleased to find that the bedroom has an en suite shower. I feel relaxed under the flow of hot water running down my back and think about the last few weeks. Tonight has been ok, but I don’t want to waste my time driving to some rich fucker’s country house. And I don’t like someone else calling the shots. Ideally I should find my own sub. I might have to talk to Elena about the service she mentioned a few weeks ago. That could be the answer.

I walk back into the bedroom to dress. Siobhan is awake and watches me, curled like a cat, her eyes glittering in the muted light.

“That really was spectacular, Christian. Truly! Where have you been all my life – other than at school, of course?” She laughs softly; I see nothing amusing in her comment. “When can I see you again? Soon, I hope.”

Her question surprises me.

“I don’t think so, Siobhan.”

She looks disappointed.

“Why not?”

I shrug. That really is none of her fucking business. I finish dressing, replace the cufflinks, and leave the room, closing the door behind me quietly. Sakamoto’s piano music is still rippling through the room.

As I walk back down the corridor, I hear the sounds of couples in various stages of orgasmic release. It’s rather unpleasant; hearing other people’s arousal does nothing for me. No, the whole country house set up isn’t for me. I will have to make other arrangements.

The dining room is empty. I wonder how long I’ll have to wait for Elena. The feeling is irksome; I hate waiting. I eat some of the canapés and find a jug of sparkling mineral water. I’d really like a drink, but I’m not going to be stupid enough to drink and drive. I abhor people who take such foolish risks.

I find a first edition of Lamb’s essays lying to one side and find myself pulled into another world. An hour later, the dining room door opens and Elena finally appears.

“Hello, Christian. Have you been enjoying yourself?”

“Not bad, but I’m ready to leave. You?”

“Mmm, also not bad. I think I’ll just have a glass of champagne before we go. One gets rather thirsty, don’t you find?”

Sunday

I pull up at my parents’ house and have barely got out of the car when Mia bounces towards me.

“Christian! I’m so mad at you! I haven’t seen you for ages!” and she throws herself at me.

I can’t help laughing as I catch her and hug her briefly.

“Are you ready to go? We have a date, I believe!”

She pouts at me, making her look younger than 15. “Aren’t you going to at least come in and say ‘hi’ to mom and dad?”

“Ok, but it’ll have to be quick or we won’t have time to eat before the show.”

She takes my hand and pulls me into the living area. Mom is wearing slacks and an over-sized shirt.

“Christian! How are you, darling? Elliot says you’ve been busy.”

Fucking Elliot!

“Yes, pretty busy. How are you, mom?”

She kisses me lightly on the cheek and I know she’d like to hug me. I pull back. Suddenly I’m reminded of Elena and the country house and last night. I don’t deserve my mother’s love. She shouldn’t have a son like me, not even an adopted son; she doesn’t deserve it. I can’t bear her to touch me and be defiled by everything I am. She’s too good, too pure.

I see pain flicker across her face and feel a dull ache where my withered heart rests. Then dad is standing in front of me, his hand extended.

I shake his hand briefly.

“Dad.”

“Good to see you, son.”

There’s a bitter silence.

“We should go, Mia, or we’ll be late.”

She nods unhappily and she kisses mom and dad goodbye. I sketch a wave from the driveway.

“Why are you so mad at mom and dad?” says Mia, her eyes filling with tears.

How can I explain? I can’t. I can’t. That’s all there is.

~~~~~~~~

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