Every part of me, from my head to my waist, turns to lead as I drop his note. From somewhere inside my gut, it feels like someone has just released a dagger, and it’s fallen straight through me, ripping me open in every soft and sensitive place I have.
Switch the kettle on. Don’t want a drink. What other tasks do I do on autopilot? Lay out my clothes. I don’t want to get dressed, I want to die. Or stop living, at least. When I run my hand across the bed, it’s still all crumpled, still wet with our lust, and my body wants to wrap itself in the sensations that it took to heart only a few hours earlier: not the demands by email, or the texts that pained and unnerved me, but the feeling of my mouth on his neck, kissing, circling my tongue and begging in his ear to be taken. Of him pulling my hips towards him and sinking into my softness. Of the heat in his shoulders as my ankles rested there while he dipped in and wetted himself with my juices and then plunged into my hole, still tight enough around his girth despite being stretched by the butt plug so that I had to beg him to go slow, and watched a wild-eyed grin spread across his face. Of his soft, deadly orders growled in my ear, to get up on all fours so he could spank me and fuck me simultaneously.
My insides are empty now. My brain’s not functioning—except on the remnant taste of his cock, and the ache his thrusting fingers and frantic thumb made as I pleased him. And on that one word: ‘goodbye’. All at once it becomes by entire focal point; leaves me drained of life, just as if an incubus had been at me. And deserted me, after getting what it wanted. He never kissed me while he was inside me. Not once.
I should have known he’d go – just vanish. Why wouldn’t this happen to me? Why would he ever want to stay? What use am I to someone like him? Conquered; beaten.
The shower curtain is soaked; it sticks to me as I hide behind it, falling down into the corner, tears and water combining in a waterfall down my body. I don’t care. The shower is hot now, almost burning me. Will it burn everything away? I let the water pour over my dull limbs, scalding me for ages. It torrents over the fingerprints of the men in the lift, over the ridge around my neck where the collar clamps wet and heavy. I only just noticed. He left it there…
My imagination taunts me: my own hands become his hands against my skin, reliving every touch, every culmination of our messages, and every single year of desire since I first set eyes upon him. Amid the gushing water and the waves of tears I make myself come, because I need to find a release from the excruciating pain that threatens to overwhelm me. The feeling builds, an all-consuming ache that roots itself in my cunt and winds through me like a serpent, at the picture of his face burned on my retina, and the memory of the way I clung to him during the night, finally knowing the fullness of him inside me. The pure energy of the memory threatens to leave me unconscious there under the water, drowning me in my own desire and desperation and salty reprisals. And utter loneliness. There’s no release—not where it matters most.
A shadow of myself watches me as I dry my hair. An awful whiff of singeing strikes my nose, but I’m not burning to ashes. Just being careless with myself. Why am I not feeling anything properly? Why can’t I…why can’t I get angry? The collar clamps cold now, and starts to drip down my neck and onto my breastbone. Shaking fingers pluck at it imbecilically until it comes undone, and it sits there in across my palm. The bin’s there, under the desk; I stare at it for ages. Then I stuff the collar into the side pocket of my bag.
Following the line of tears as they slide down my cheeks, my own finger points out my humiliation. Look at me. Do I look like the woman he would keep in his life? The more I stare at the face that sometimes I don’t really recognise as mine, and shy away from the reflection of the body that I hide in the towel, even from me, the more it feels as if blocks of concrete are tied to my ribs. Getting dressed, collecting my things and heading to the door happen without my real, conscious knowledge.
I look back only once. At the room with its bed all made now – I don’t have any recollection of doing that – and nothing out of place. As if no-one had been here at all.
The receptionist is busy, with customers, and with ensuring no-one can hurt themselves on the ladders that have appeared in the middle of the floor during the day – some kind of emergency, maybe – don’t know. But that kind of employee always have eyes everywhere; her eyes burn into me as I try to get from the lift and past the counter without having to speak. I know I can’t look her in the face. I wonder whether he’d care that I’ve been spotted leaving? Does it matter to him? Will it spoil his reputation? Does the receptionist know? A huge wave of guilt drowns me for a moment, until it washes over and away, and I wonder why I’m actually caring. I drift through reception towards the door, engulfed in so many conflicting emotions that I don’t know which way up I am.
A huge throb registers in my brain, and it takes me a while to realise that my knee has clattered into one of the step ladders, my bag is hooked around it and I can’t get it off, and my fingers, quick to stabilise myself, are now being squashed flat underneath a great clodhopping steel toe-capped boot. Above me and my swallowed ‘fuck it’ and the sick feeling that threatens to make me pass out for a moment, there’s a muffled noise. The man is clutching at the ladder, hair covered in plaster or something, so it’s impossible to tell what he looks like. Maybe older than me, maybe darkish and greying a bit. Don’t know. Doesn’t matter. All that matters is that he lifts his foot off my fingers. His eye catches mine, and I could bury myself in a hole; I can still feel the soggy eyelashes when I blink away the shock and my cheeks burn. My ‘sorry’ coincides with his, and we both scuttle – he down the ladder, and me, ripping my bag off the metal, and out of the door as fast as I can get there, completely ignoring the call of “I’m so sorry. Are you all right?”
I just want to get away from this place. Spitting droplets begin and flit about in the air as I walk down that immense driveway. By the time I try and get some bearings through sodden hair and hunt down the number for a taxi, they’ve developed into a torrent of battering rain, leaving me sodden. My knee hurts, too. A complete mess, I finally get into the car when it pulls up at the top of the driveway. The irony of this journey back doesn’t escape me: wet knickers, wet skin, wet eyes.
Nothing really registers as I travel back along the same roads towards the station. Apart from knowing my face must be a mess. And there’s a gaping hole in my bag. For some reason, that upsets me more than anything else, leaving tears in a film across my eyes and my breath constricting in my throat. The hole’s right through the lining, and I suddenly everything implodes in my head as I spiral into total panic.
I do the first thing that makes sense to me. The only thing that makes sense.
“Mike, I’ve lost my diary!” I almost scream it down the phone. “And my lipstick. A ladder ripped my bag, and it’s bust, and now they’re gone. And I’m soaked. I want to come home and I think I’ve broken my knee. They’re gone, Mike. What am I going to do?” There’s a torrent of tears now. “It’s all a mess. Everything.
The soft urgency in his voice. Not a sign of anger. The kindness. I want to curl into a ball. “Charlotte? Tell me if you’re all right. You’re not hurt, are you?”
“I’m…no, I’m…Mike, I…” What can I tell him? I can’t tell him.
“Where are you? Don’t cry.” He sounds so – just like Mike. “I’ll come get you.”
“You can’t. Not yet.” I hang my head; I don’t know why, it’s not like he can see me. “I’m coming back… I’m catching a train back. Don’t ask any more…please.” If he does, I’m not going to be able to hold it together.
“Right. Okay. No questions, not now.” I can hear it in his voice – the concern, confusion. “You want me to meet your train? I’ll take you home – if you want me to.”
There’s a pause; I don’t know what to say. What I do know is that, if Mike was here right now, I’d hold him so tight, and press myself to his chest, hoping he never let me go. Tears flood my eyelids as the thought of his arms, his gentleness, his lips fill my head, and the desperate wish to do everything differently swamps my head, my heart, my everything. “Charlotte, do you want me to…do you want…?”
“Come get me, Mike. But don’t take me home. Please. Can I just…?” What can I say? What can I possibly ask from Mike right now? I don’t deserve to ask anything of him. But, if I could just have those arms, pulling me close, maybe it will come right. Maybe we’ll…I don’t know. I can’t expect anything. I just curl into my seat, like a small girl who knows she’s upset someone she shouldn’t, but doesn’t know what she’s meant to do about it.
His voice is soft. Still a bit guarded, but it’s a start. “Do you want to stay at mine tonight? I can make up the sofa. I’ve got some spare pillows and stuff somewhere. You can have the bed.”
“I don’t want you to sleep on the sofa.” I screw up my eyes; start again, before he can get a word in. “I mean…if you feel like sitting up tonight, you know, like we used to do…maybe we’ll just crash at some point.” My eyes sting, and my lip hurts like hell, the way I’m biting it. “I don’t know that bed is a good idea.”
“What time do you get in? Can’t meet you unless I know, can I?”
If that’s a yes, then I’ll take it right now.
“It’ll be very late.” My voice has shrunk to near nothingness.
“I’ll be waiting.”
All I can do is cry.
I’ve been on the train for about an hour so far. Just staring out of the window. There’s no-one at my end of the compartment; no-one who will try in vain to strike up a conversation. I should be grateful for small mercies.
Just over an hour and a half to go. Can’t read. Don’t want to go to the buffet car and fetch a bag of food. The smell of other people’s is turning my stomach. Usually by now I’ve drifted into some kind of sexy little fantasy about someone on the train. Climbing on the lap of a man with a taut torso and a beautiful long cock, who lifts my dress, draping it across his knee, and lets the rock of the train help him rub me deep inside and fucks me to the rhythm of the journey. I don’t even want to think about it; I just want to sit here and try not to think. But I can’t help it.
My head’s a bit light. The vibrations don’t really sink in at first, and I only gaze vaguely in the direction of my phone on the table. It makes my stomach roll when I read the text.
“You were such a good girl. Apart from removing the collar. I think I need to punish you for that.”
My heart is pounding. Blood crashes against the walls of my ears. I dig the fingernail of my index finger into my thumb. I just sit, glaring at the phone, unable to move.
Text: “Why are you not replying? I thought you were my good girl. Close your eyes. I’ll know if you haven’t.”
My breath is hard, fast. Lights begin to flash under my eyelids when I blink. So I stop blinking. Pin my eyes to the seat in front.
Text. Can’t help but look: “CLOSE YOUR EYES.”
I bite hard on my lip. Visions of those chess matches of years ago are right here with me. He’s attacking. And I have to decide what to do. Now.
Text: “If you don’t close your eyes, this will be the last message you receive from me. It’s up to you.”
He’s put me in check. And I have to fight to stay in the game. My eyelids close, and I sit and hope I’m making the right move. Because of what we are. What we’ve always been. Because of the thoughts and dreams that have kept me awake at night. I sit, my hands getting pins and needles, my body shivering, and I tell myself it’s the floor heater, blowing cold air, that’s making my legs spasm. I’m freezing. There’s a creak, right next to me. Closer. There’s breath upon my face – lips close over mine, setting every nerve alight. Something lands in my palm, pressed there for a moment. And the whisper.
“You are at my mercy. But you can end the game. You only have to quit. You’re a good girl – you have no idea how much that turns me on.” A fingertip finding my nipple, sending it hard upon its touch; my skirt lifted, a thumb working fast, expert circles against my knickers. “A new collar for you. Wear it unless I tell you not to. Count to five and open your eyes.”
He’s gone. I counted fast, and he’s gone. I’m wet and swollen and throbbing, and he’s gone. There’s no movement up or down the carriage. Is he – fuck, is he behind me? Should I turn around? No. I won’t give him the satisfaction of knowing I’m searching for him. I open the hand he has folded over the object he pushed in my palm. A long thin box. I lift the lid. Draw out a choker. It lays in my hand, stunning and beautiful, its rows of tiny pearls glimmering, their surface glinting like sunlight peeking at speed between the passing trees glints.
Text: “My moves aren’t exhausted yet. That was only the beginning. Tell me – do you still want to be my love slave? Are we still playing? Who do you belong to—really?”
I’m aching, hurting. Every part of me burns inside. If he had even the vaguest idea how I feel right now, I would never reply to another message. But he’ll never know; I want to keep it that way.
Something else: he has forgotten how competitive I am.
I begin typing my reply…
END OF BOOK 1
So, as I come to the end of the first book in this trilogy, I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been reading. Thank you to those who have taken the time to comment, or to message me direct with your thoughts on this story and on the characters involved. You’ve given me a lot of food for thought and much inspiration, not to mention some wonderful ideas of where to take this story next. For the lovely people who have told me they will beta read the edited copy, thank you, too, and I’ll be in touch very soon over that. I’ve never yet turned down a beta reader who loves erotica – and I know I have some experienced eyes on this story!
Anyone who really knows me understands only too well that I write for me, and for those who want to read my work. Because of that, if anyone has any opinions on the following questions, do please get in touch, either in the comments or directly at email@example.com.
- This is currently written in the first person present tense. How have you found that? Would you like to see it remain, or change to past tense, or third person – or both? I like the potential for deep viewpoint that a first person voice gives, but I’m willing to change it if you’d find it more readable. Are you happy with it being a story set just in one character’s viewpoint? Or would it work better for you to have all characters’ points of view? Obviously, I can’t please everyone, but I’ll do my best.
- I can already see things I would quite like to alter about the ending, and tweaks I want to make to other parts of the story. Is there anything about the ending that you would like to see that isn’t there, or that you would like to be different? I’ll consider all possibilities.
- This is a trilogy, as I’ve said. How would you like to see the overall story develop? All requests considered. Once again, thank you to those who have already thrashed out some ideas on this with me.
Happy reading, and thank you for staying with me on this project. I really do appreciate it.