IRIS

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Chapter 28

Amanda marveled at the view from her office window as it offered her an awesome vantage point to witness the changing of the seasons.

Earlier that spring, she was reborn as Iris, her inner and true self debuted— aboard the Pleasure Cruise, where she learned to give in to her inner desires, and found an amazing play partnership with Alex.

Her new-found lifestyle took her on a rollercoaster ride of pleasure and pain, courage and fear, submission and dominance. However, it also gave her immense power— it revealed the goddess within her.

The grove of elm trees over Central Park swayed in the wind, its canopy tinged with yellow. She smiled at the first hints of fall.

“Good morning, Miss Fox,” Vanessa, the company’s head of marketing broke her reverie.

“Hi Vanessa, how are the creatives doing? Do you have studies to show me?” she said, her voice perky.

“Yes, the creatives worked all night on this. I didn’t force them, they insisted on doing the sprint. Carl said they were so fired up, they didn’t want to stifle the creative flow— you know how funky they can be sometimes.” Vanessa flashed a naughty grin.

“Show me.”

“I’ll let Carl do the presentation, shall I call them in?”

“I can’t wait.”

Vanessa strode out and made a sweeping gesture to call them in. A tall guy with long hair carried a large tablet on his tattooed arms, followed by a young woman with a nose ring and hair swept up in a messy but attractive kind of way.

“This is Carl, our creative director, and Brittany, one of our graphic artists. They will show you three studies they created last night.” Vanessa said, and gestured at Carl to take over.

He placed the tablet on the desk and folded its cover to make it stand facing Amanda, and showed her the first two studies they made.

Amanda didn’t show any reaction. She thought the studies were okay, but not the way she wanted. “May I see the last one?”

“I saved this for last, because I think you’ll like it.” He tapped on the screen.

The final study showed Brittany as the model. She wore a leather collar on her neck, her eyes looked down, she wore red lipstick on with her lower lip between her teeth. The copy said, “Orange for fall? That’s too vanilla … I’m sticking with my reds.”

“Vanessa, would you excuse us, I’d like a word with these two in private, if you don’t mind.” She said.

“Sure, no problem,” Vanessa walked out of the room and shut the door behind her.

“How did you come up with this idea, Carl?” She looked at him with calculated interest.

He flashed an embarrassed grin. “I saw you yesterday when you came out of the conference room, ma’am. I spied your collar, and thought…”

“Do you know what this is?” she ran a hand on her collar.

“Yes, of course, I’m into the lifestyle too.”

“What about you, Brittany? You make for a great model, you know.”

“I am a submissive, Miss Fox. In fact, that collar I wore in the photo is mine… Carl gave them to me.” She said shyly.

“So you are both aware of keeping it down… our lifestyle is nothing to be cocky about. We have to be subtle about it…”

“We are well aware of that, ma’am. I just thought it would be a great idea for the campaign. Besides, BDSM had already infiltrated Hollywood and a growing trend on the internet.” Carl said, the sound of defeat evident in his tone.

“I like it… Carl. This is exactly the kind of bomb I want for our campaign.”

“But I thought you said…”

“What I meant to say was, don’t go around telling people that your CEO is into BDSM. We don’t want a witch-hunt on our heels.”

“Of course, Miss Fox, I would never do that, you can trust me and Brittany to protect you. We don’t want that for us either.”

“I’m relieved to hear that, Carl, thanks… can you call Vanessa back in, please.”

“We have a winner…” she announced as Vanessa walked in. “I liked the last study, and thought Brittany here can actually be our model— we must pay her the model fee too.”

Brittany yelped with delight. “Really, Miss Fox?”

“Yes, Britt, I just hope you don’t leave your day job to become a supermodel soon.” She smiled.

“No, no, no, I wouldn’t do that for the world. I’m an artist, and I love my work here, ma’am,” she said, tongue in cheek.

“So, I guess we have an overnight success. I want the photoshoot done ASAP and a finished material before weekend. Let’s put that billboard up on Times Square, shall we?” Amanda announced to the group, her eyes brimmed with pride and excitement.

Just as the group left the room, Joan came in with a bunch of documents and a familiar lilac-colored envelope nestled top of the pile.

“These are some memos for your signature, and this one came by courier this morning.” Joan said, as she ran a hand on her blouse, trying to keep it straight.

Amanda saw what was wrong with her blouse. “One of the buttons went into the wrong hole, Joan.” She pointed at her chest.

“Oh damn,” She muttered as she fumbled to fix it.

“I hope you’re having fun, Joan, but make sure you’re also protected.”

“It’s okay, I’m on the pill, ma’am.” She smiled.

“Getting pregnant is one thing, but getting STDs is another. Don’t tell me you’re not using condoms.” Her eyes wide in astonishment.

“Ian didn’t like condoms, he said he could feel me better without it.”

“That’s careless and stupid, Joan,” she pulled out a box from her drawer and handed it to her. “Take these, don’t ever do it without making him wear one. You can tell him I said so.” Her voice stern and serious.

“I’ll do that, and thanks for these, Miss Fox.” Joan said and left with the box of condoms.

Amanda clicked her pen as she finished signing the last document, and eyed the envelope that patiently waited to be opened.

It was from the Pleasure Cruise— an invitation to their annual Hallow’s Eve Party aboard the ship. It leaves just before sunset and will return the next morning.

She had never experienced Halloween parties after she left university. She thought these parties were for young people seeking petty thrills, just to get access to booze, but the idea of dressing up in costumes aboard the Pleasure Cruise excited her.

The clock struck four when she rose from her seat and entered her private suite for a shower. She had to prepare for their dinner date with Val and Adam… or Bruno, as he was actually known.

Alex was already on the couch with a glass of whiskey when she walked in. He wore a dark blue silk dress shirt tucked in belted dark jeans and a black blazer over it.

“Wow, you look dapper in that outfit, you make me wet.” She said.

He smiled. “I wish we could play before we go, but we don’t have time. We have to be there by five, my love.”

“Oh, sorry, I had so much work today.”

“That’s all right, we can play later.”

She peeled off her clothes and strode to the shower. “Okay, I’ll be quick.”

Heads turned when they entered the restaurant. The burgundy cocktail dress she wore perfectly framed her tussled hair and face. It had sleeves that reached just above her elbows, with one side fallen off her shoulder, and highlighted her shiny gold collar. An asymmetric hemline that fell below her knee on one side and on the other side it went up to her thighs, it displayed her shapely legs.

“You look like a goddess in that outfit, my love.” Alex whispered in her ear as they walked in.

She smiled. “I thought I should wear something nice to match my Adonis.”

Val and Bruno were already at the table with their wine, all-smiles as they greeted them.

“Did we let you wait long?” Alex said when he kissed Val.

“Not at all, we just got here a few minutes before you came in.” Val said as she kissed Amanda and squeezed her hand. “I’m happy that we’re finally having this time together.”

Amanda looked at Bruno and acknowledged him with a smile, then took her seat across Alex. She didn’t say anything.

“Did you get the invitation for the Hallow’s Eve party, Amanda?” Bruno started, to break the ice.

“Yes, I saw it today. Thanks for the invite.” She said, noncommittal.

“We should go, that would be a lot of fun, most of the cruise guests will be there.” Alex said.

“Of course, I’m excited.” She said, and thought of the people she’d met at the cruise, and glad that Richard won’t be among them. “I hope Jo comes back soon, I’d like her to be there too.”

“Perfect!” Bruno said. “Okay… so, for dinner, I ordered the lobster and trout entrees, with all the delectable side dishes that go with it. We have a bottle of sauvignon blanc here, and apple confit for dessert. I hope you like it, and I’m sure you will.” He smiled and poured wine on their glasses. “Let’s enjoy this evening, Val, Alex, Amanda— cheers.”

They clinked their glasses and drank the good wine. Valerie and Bruno told stories of their stay in Paris. They looked happy together, Amanda thought. Maybe Adam really wanted to drive her away because he wanted to be with Val, and didn’t want to ruin his relationship with Alex. She also realized she didn’t feel the same infatuation she had for Adam back at the cruise. All is well that ends well.

Dinner arrived and everyone had their fill of the sumptuous fair. Amanda thought she just had the best fish dish she’d ever had, and the wine complemented it perfectly.

Conversations over dinner were quite relaxed and filled with humorous anecdotes about their kinky lifestyle, that made Amanda feel more comfortable around Bruno. She gave him a sincere smile to convey that all was well between them, which he returned with a bow.

The dessert plate was wiped clean and the last drop of wine was consumed. “Shall we go to my place for a nightcap?”

Amanda felt a bit of tremor in her gut but smiled. “Why not? The night is still young.”

Bruno’s apartment is a sprawling penthouse that had a 360-degree view of New York City. It had floor to ceiling glass windows on all sides with brownstone walls and pillars.

“You have a beautiful home, Bruno.” She complimented.

“I’ve been asking Val to come live here with me, but she insisted on having her own place.” He said, throwing an arm around Val beside him.

“I can come here as often as I’d like, but I prefer having my own place.” Val said. “What about you, Amanda?”

“Same with me, I want my own place. I think we should maintain that freedom— something that marriage is bound to take away from us.” She said.

“I agree, totally.” Val said.

“How about we play for a bit, before this conversation goes awry…” Alex said as he slid his arms around Amanda. “We didn’t have enough time to play earlier, what do you think?”

“May I suggest a swap tonight, Alex?” Bruno teased.

“I think that’s a good idea, Dad.” He said and turned to Amanda. “Would you agree, my love?”

Her heart fluttered at the suggestion, but it also inflamed her. The thought of Bruno touching her again excited her still.

“Sure, if Val is okay with it…” she said.

“Alex and I have played before I even met Bruno— I’d be delighted.”

“Very well, Alex, you and Val can go ahead to the play room. I want to talk to Amanda for a bit, and we’ll be right there.”

Alex took Val’s hand and led her inside the play room. Val giggled at something Alex said to her.

“I know this feels awkward for you, Iris.” Bruno said as he padded towards her. “Considering you didn’t want to see me again.”

“That’s true… I didn’t want to see you again because I felt your desire to drive me away that night, am I right?”

“You were right in a way. I wanted you to make a decision that will save our relationships— you with Alex, and Val with me.”

“But you knew you can have me again… like tonight…”

“Yes,” he whispered. “I love Val, but I also want you, Iris.”

“So is this like an affair?”

“If that’s what you want, then it is…”

“No, we’re not having an affair. I can play with you, but that’s about it. I love Alex and I love Valerie, let’s not ruin it, Adam.”

“Very well said, Iris, and I agree… shall we play now?”

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