With thanks to Paolo of Wholebean and I
As Sarah approached the pub, she marvelled at her complete lack of panic. This was her third try, her third attempt to meet someone who might. . . .
Although she wasn’t panicked, she still wasn’t able to complete that particular thought.
Besides, she wasn’t even sure if this would work out. They had written back and forth, and although Mark’s writing was intriguing, it was distant and impersonal- almost professional. It didn’t charm her the way some of the others had, and yet she nonetheless had a nagging feeling that it would be worth seeing him in person. Beyond writing, she had also learned that much could be learned about a man by his choice in pubs, and he certainly passed muster on that account. She hadn’t even bothered to stop by his chosen meeting place beforehand to scope it out- he had chosen one of her favourite locations.
To his further credit, he had been very understanding thus far. He had sent her a name and a picture. She had sent him an excuse and an apology. She had set rules for herself, and those were among them. He asked if they were meeting for a drink, or perhaps something else as well. She had said just a drink- this first time. Another of her rules which she made very clear to him in a patient e-mail, and which she made clear to herself by booking a bunk in a hostel for the night.
Taking a deep breath, she opened the door and poked her head in. There he was, alone in the room which would have been cheery when filled with patrons, but now, in the mid-afternoon lull, instead presented a snug sense of privacy.
He stood to greet her. She cautiously offered her hand, which he turned into a hug complete with a quick peck on the cheek that she dutifully turned away from. She blushed, stammering and fumbling her way through a hurried introduction, ardently hoping that he wouldn’t judge her too harshly on these first awkward moments.
And then he talked, his lilting accent filling the silence that she was unable to banish on her own. Tales of his own history, simple questions on her own peppered in until her answers started to resemble the actual sentences that a sane person might offer in the course of a normal conversation.
He patiently avoided the Subject at first, not so much dancing around it as purposefully turning his back on it. They were each well into their second pint before he casually brought up the reason for their meeting. Just a quick reference before returning to more mundane subjects. “Later,” he said when she started to ask. “I don’t want to risk scaring you off just yet.”
She wanted to tell him not to worry, that she wouldn’t be scared, but that would be a lie. Even now, before she had even committed to anything else, she knew that would be a bad idea
She did her best to listen as he talked- a distinct challenge for her. She had an unfortunate habit of listening to voices rather than words when dealing with Irish accents or dominant men. This first attempt to carry on a conversation with a dominant Irishman was just as difficult as she had imagined. She tried to nod at all the right places while hoping that her staring at his hands wasn’t too obvious.
And it wasn’t just his hands. If she were to make a list of all the things she found attractive and dignified in a man, he had all of them. The greying hair and softly receding hairline that spoke to an embrace of the experience and wisdom that only comes with time. The gentle voice that helped her to relax. The small wrinkles in the corners of his eyes that spoke to an easily induced smile which he shared with her early and often. The simple, smart jeans and black shirt, topped with a soft scarf and jumper (and hiding the belt that he would later speak of), which spoke of an understated masculine elegance.
The kind, cautious, and yet firm manner that spoke of the care he took in these situations.
He touched her periodically, in the casual manner of two normal people talking. To anyone else, it would have looked like nothing; they couldn’t feel the zing of current that passed between them, they didn’t see him judging her reaction.
He asked her about her writing, and she marvelled about how he was able to pick out the grains of truth from the fantasies she had shared with him. How was it that he was able to distil so clear a picture of her from just a few words on a screen? How did he seem to know what she needed when even she had difficulty expressing it? How had he picked up on her deepest insecurity, and how did he so expertly avoid pushing that particular subject while continuing to make it clear that this was something he would help her overcome when she was ready?
He spoke of her development- professional, personal, and. . .very personal. Somehow, in this context, the HR-business jargon was comforting rather than annoying, and she hung onto his every word. “This time next year, you will be a very different person. How do you want to change? What are your goals?” She wanted to baulk at this, but all her usual arguments against the setting of formal goals died in her throat as she found herself agreeing to write out a plan.
“You are just as I expected,” he told her with pride in his eyes. “I’ve never had a conversation with a twenty-six year old quite like this. You are submissive from head to toe.” She blushed with pride, knowing that this was something she wanted to be, or rather, wanted to be seen as, even without fully understanding the implications. “The only thing that gives me pause is your lack of experience with the physicality of it all.” She shied away at the mention of this flaw, but before she could get far, he continued, “Like any physical skill, it is something that requires diligent practice. However, it is also something that, if done properly, will change you forever- make you a very different person.”
She would be his second first, he explained, and the first for which he had prior experience from which to draw. It would be a delicate situation, and one that would require much preparation from the both of them if she wished to do do it properly.
After an age and all too soon, another sort of planning began.
“You need to decide what you want- what you need. It will just be you and me in the room, though we won’t be able to speak as we are doing now. You may want to delay, you may want to run away, but I won’t allow it. You will have decided long before, and I will hold you to that decision.
“You will not be stripped,” he said, perhaps in an attempt to offer comfort. “There is something special about the feeling of partial dress, the cool breeze in certain parts when your panties are pulled down to here,” he said as he ran a finger just above her knee. She had been staring at him in rapt attention, but had to to look away then. She had thought his quick touches earlier had been powerful, but this was something different entirely. Did he know what this was doing to her? Could she look him in the eye again? Of course she could. She had not waited for this far too long to pull away.
“You have waited far too long to cross this line. You quite a hard spanking coming but then the slate will be wiped clean,” he said with a stern voice that she had not yet heard.
He spoke of her impending punishment, detailing the progression of implements, along with his rationale for the order, duration, and severity of each stage. She was engrossed, nodding along with his explanation, fully knowing that by doing so she was granting him permission to do these things that were still unspeakable to her.
When their food arrived, he offered her a pepper. She jumped at the chance to enjoy her first spicy food in months- such a rare commodity in this country. He smiled, reading more into her enthusiasm than she thought he would. As they shared the dish, he explained about endorphins, offering her more peppers at intervals and enjoying a few himself. She knew all about endorphins, of course, as any clumsy runner who has been surprised to find blood running down one’s arm several miles after a fall is bound to know. His explanation, while technical and accurate, held an element that the textbook-explanations of biology classes could never capture. To him, this was practical knowledge that he used, a tool of his trade, a source of his power.
He spoke briefly about positions before turning the discussion to hands- her hands, this time. She had expected this- she had told him of this special obsession from she knew not where. She blushed as he grabbed her wrist, showing her how he expected her to offer herself for this particular punishment.
“You will glance at me,” he told her, and again she wondered at how he knew she would react. “A quick glance, perhaps as I announce the number of strokes you shall receive. But once it starts,” he gently tapped her upturned palm in demonstration, “your eyes will follow the pain, it is a simple defence mechanism, and probably for the best.” Defence or otherwise, she found he was right again. Even now, without the pain element, her eyes were glued to her hand.
Releasing her, he continued his explanation of how their next encounter would progress. “Afterwards, will will sit and talk about it- or I will sit, it remains to be seen what you will be capable of doing. Feedback is important, and we will talk through the whole thing- the preparation, the punishment, the aftercare- I need to know how each detail makes you feel, and how the whole experience makes you feel. The entire thing may be too much for you- we both hope not, but it’s a possibility that we need to be prepared for and prepared to work with.”
She nodded, telling herself that she would gladly give feedback, and that it wouldn’t be too much. As if knowing that she was trying to cut corners in her mental preparation, he moved closer to her and caressed the side of her thigh.
“Feel that?” he asked, clearly indicating the zing that she had felt each time he touched her. She nodded, almost eagerly. Moving closer again, he slid his hand behind her, resting it on the very top of her bum. Her eyes widened at the sensation that rendered her not only speechless but motionless as well. She had heard the phrase “played her body like an instrument,” and now began to appreciate the meaning, now began to realize that she was delivering herself into the hands of a true master.
Seeing that his point had been made, he slid back and picked up his drink. “It’s an entirely different thing,” he said after a slow sip. “And that was just a quick caress- unspanked, over clothing, and in a pub. When I say I need feedback, that I need to know how I am making you feel, I mean it.” She nodded again, this time with a deeper understanding of just how much she did not yet know.
“What do you think?” he asked, searching her face intently.
She paused for a moment. This was much more than a simple feedback-seeking question. For the first time that night, he wasn’t quite looking at her as he awaited her response. “I trust you,” she said once she caught up with her whirling thoughts. “I want to do this, and I want the first time to with you.” She was shocked by the sheer honesty of that statement. It had been initially formed only out of a desire to please him, but as her mouth formed the words she realized that she believed them wholeheartedly. Where had her hesitation gone?
“Are you excited?” he asked, for the first of many times that evening.
“Yes,” she breathed, and she knew it was the truth.
They continued to talk, continued to plan, but the discussion was different now. A decision had been made.
When the last of the pints were drained, they left together. She followed him up the street, listening as he pointed out buildings that he remembered from an earlier time and clinging to the memories that he shared in their last few minutes together as they headed to the corner where they would end this encounter.
Before parting ways for the night, he gave her a hug- a hug that lasted as long as she needed and a bit more, just to be sure. Relieved with this physical sign that he understood the magnitude of this evening for her, she felt tears prick at the corners of her eyes.
When she finally let go, he loosened his grip just enough to look her in they eye for a moment before moving in for a kiss. The gesture was unexpected, but not unwelcome. She wondered at the minty sweetness (when had he done that?) and fretted about her own lack of preparation for this unforeseen parting gift only briefly before losing herself in the moment as the street corner faded away. Amid the bustle of the evening, the world shrank to the two of them sharing one last embrace and rejoicing in the intimacy that somehow had grown over the course of just nine hours and six beers.
“One thing more,” he said as he pulled her to his side. She felt his hand caress her bottom before stopping to give a sharp pinch. “Feel that?” he asked as she stared at the ground.
Unable to speak, she nodded in acknowledgement.
“Just a taste,” he said with a last parting hug before sending her on her way.
She skipped a bit on the way back to the hostel, engrossed with her thoughts of their next encounter and savouring the taste of him that lingered on her lips and heart.
To be continued