Kate grimaced as she wiped the eye liner off for the millionth time, leaving her eyes a bloodshot red to match her irritated lids. This was not what she’d had in mind when she set about applying colour to her face. She puffed her flushed cheeks and began again, glancing at her phone to confirm that she still had plenty of time. She wasn’t due to meet David for another four hours.
Then again, one can do a fair bit of damage in four hours.
Cynthia tossed the mascara in the bin. How long it had been knocking about the bottom of her handbag she didn’t know, but it certainly wouldn’t be worn ever again. As with most of the makeup collection she’d amassed in her years of trying to appear interested in normal girlish things, she couldn’t remember the last time she’d used it. Makeup just wasn’t her thing, and she’d learned she appeared far more attractive with a subtle hint of eyeliner and a confident demeanor than a full makeover that left her feeling awkward and itchy.
If Brian cared- if he even noticed, he was a man after all- it was an early indication that he might not be a good match.
Kate glanced over the email she’d sent to Emma one last time. It contained everything she knew about David, which wasn’t much by any standards. She had a screen name, a blog address, and a vague physical description that could probably describe the majority of men in London. The only thing Emma had to go on if Kate failed to check in that evening was the name of the pub in which Brian had chosen to meet. Even then, she knew it was unlikely that they would stay here. A change of venue seemed all but required for most social events here, and besides, the pub didn’t serve food. “I should be spanked for taking that kind of risk,” she thought to herself. But not tonight, she knew; tonight was just a chat. They had both been very clear on that point, and she had no reason to doubt him.
All the same, Kate knew better than to walk into the meeting blindly. Even now, as she approached the pub, her heart thumped even more loudly than it had before she’d clicked “send” on her first message to him many months ago. Little had she known then that she would have the chance to meet him, thanks to a few flukes at the office that had landed her with her first international business trip.
It was the international bit that truly bothered her. Despite her supposed global roaming plan, her phone had resolutely refused to place or receive calls, leaving her with a deep feeling of isolation. She’d briefly considered lugging her laptop along, on the hope of finding wifi en route to keep Emma appraised of her location, but ultimately decided that it wouldn’t be worth the trouble. If David had any malicious plans, she doubted he’d allow her time to log on to her email.
Not that she expected anything like that to happen; he certainly appeared trustworthy. She’d poured over everything he had written- and he had written a lot in his five years of blogging- and couldn’t find any cause for alarm. Try as she might, she couldn’t turn up a single word of complaint from any of the women he supposedly knew. She’d researched his connections, the sites he favoured, the comments he made, and everything felt very cohesive. If he was faking his identity, he was doing an excellent job of it.
Instead of the dossier Cynthia usually assembled with all the information she could glean on the man she was to meet, this time all she’d had to say was “I’m meeting with Brian on Saturday.” Although she’d planned to follow up later with more information, this brief introduction proved sufficient as Liam gleefully replied, “Ah, great chap. Quite the demon with the strap; should be just your style. Have fun, and let me know how it goes! You’re coming to the munch on Sunday? Hope to see you there; I expect to hear all about it.”
Ireland truly was a very small place, and the kinky community was even smaller. She’d heard that fact had the tendency to exacerbate any drama, it did it very easy to connect with people. Everyone seemed to have met everyone before, and in most cases had doe a great deal more than just chat. Although she still struggled to understand the concept of polyamory, she had to admit that it made it very easy to get references on potential partners.
David was there. Right there. On the other side of the table.
Kate could think of nothing to say.
She ran her fingers along the rim of her glass, as if trying to appear busy. She looked around the pub, anywhere but at him.
“So, how did you know you were a submissive?”
“What?” Kate replied, though her blush revealed that she had understood the question perfectly.
David smiled supportingly, began sharing stories of his own early experiences. Some Kate recognised from his writing, some were knew. Some she couldn’t remember after she’d left; her mind doggedly refused to stay in the moment as it alternately wandered off to various panic-scenarios refused to believe she was actually talking to the man who had so eloquently captured her fantasies.
She wanted to reply, to respond, to give something back for the faith he had shown in her when he had agreed to meet. She did try, but despite her best efforts the responsibility for carrying on the conversation largely rested with him.
They didn’t need to discuss much about their later plans, which was a good thing as the pub was far too crowded for such talk, not that the public location inhibited either of them from the occasional oblique reference. Detail wasn’t necessary, it had all been worked out already in the course of countless messages. Cynthia preferred it that way. Not that she minded discussing spanking in person, but she’d found it was much easier to compose her thoughts before her laptop, rather than in the intoxicating presence of a live top.
When Brian looked up from his glass and asked “Would you like to go?” all Cynthia needed to do was nod, rise, and follow him to her fate.
This is it, Kate thought to herself as the train slowed. He’s leaving now, and I’ve blown it. I had one chance, one opportunity to convince him I’m worth knowing, to be more than just that random emailer, and I’ve wasted it. She turned to face him, but still could not quite meet his eyes as the horror of what she had done and not done threatened to bubble up inside her.
“We’ll talk more online,” he said, as he left her with a firm handshake and warm smile.
“Thanks,” Kate replied, returning his smile as broadly as she could manage. He still wanted to chat. That was a good thing. She held that kernel of hope close as she made her way back to her hotel.
“The time for talking is over,” Brian said sternly, sliding his belt free as he spoke.
Cynthia gulped and nodded, allowing him to bend her over his desk without even token resistance. Oh my, can he scold, she thought to herself as she shuddered in anticipation of the coming punishment. The first stroke forced a gasp from her throat and tripped a reflex to flee. No matter how much she did to court a punishment, no matter how badly she knew she wanted this, the first stroke inevitably left her questioning her sanity. A strong hand lowered her back into place and held her firmly as she recovered from the shock. It was a small gesture, but it gave her hope- hope that this unpleasantness wouldn’t last, hope that she wasn’t crazy for craving this, hope that this would be a good thing, even if at the moment it seemed anything but.
His hand helped, gently keeping her still as he struck again, the pain mounting along with her squirms until she reached a plateau of sorts. It still hurt, and the burn only increased with each stroke, but it no longer repulsed her. She embraced the sensation, still moving but dancing with the strokes rather than fleeing them.
His hand was still there. Still warm, still steady, a soft presence in comparison to the harsh bite of the belt.
Kate couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed as she prepared herself for bed within the solitary, cramped confines of her hotel room. She had met a spanker, but had not been spanked, had touched on the subject, but not fully committed to the dialogue. Little did she know what depth, what power, would come of his friendship, and all without a single swat to her behind. Lying alone in bed, thousands of miles from home, she couldn’t help but question how she had spent her evening. Had it been worth it?
Cynthia sighed contentedly as she slid between unfamiliar sheets into an embrace of a man of whom she had quickly grown quite fond. He held her close, and even though his probing fingers reignited the sting in her behind, the hugs and whispered endearments as she drifted off to sleep made it all worthwhile.
Kate awoke the next morning determined. She checked her email to find a message from David- short, simple, and lovely. She smiled as she thought back over the evening. To an outside observer, it would seem not at all significant, but Kate knew better. She knew that it was a small step, but it was the first of many.
She had met one man, made one friend. It had been difficult, terrifying even, but she had done it. And she would do it again.
She clicked the link David had sent her. It was a site she knew well- or a login page she at least knew well. She’d been there several times before, but had never mustered the courage to sign herself up. It had been tempting, the prospect of setting up a profile and pseudonym under which to make her intimate desires known, to find those who understood, to search for those who may be willing to share her fantasies. She had considered it before, but had told herself it wasn’t time, she wasn’t ready. Maybe she wasn’t even submissive and didn’t need to do this at all.
Today was different. Bolstered by her first real meeting, she filled out the form, clicked the appropriately titled Submit button, and Cynthia was born.