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Chapter 5

Today was the closing interview of the BDSM segment. Crystal’s son was set to be interviewed. That was why I was up early and in the station, finalising and proofing the questions. I usually didn’t listen in on the segments, unless there was a problem. Instead, I usually spent that time going over ratings, planning future ideas and doing recruitment of both listeners and staff.

But these last weeks had been different. I’d listened to both Sam and Danny talk about being submissives. They’d both done so flawlessly that Crystals’ son, who I still only knew as J, emailed me to compliment, saying they’d spoken eloquently.

And they had. Sam had spoken so passionately, reminds me why she was my best friend. Her words, praising the lifestyle as a release from the pressures of every day society, had almost made me want to go to a club that very night. But not quite. Regardless, I’d been so proud of her. She’d spoken about how backwards it is that feminism is so against the lifestyle. It wasn’t about women being beaten into submission by men. It was about sexual release and a freely given power exchange. That was a far cry from a man abusing his power, size and station over a woman. She’d compared the way feminists shame submissives to the way society shamed woman as whole, the entire backwards situation of it. Women were simultaneously sex objects but constantly told to cover up.

The basis of feminism was choice. A woman should be free to choose what she wanted to do. If she wanted to be a stay at home mom but still believed in a woman’s equality of worth to a man’s, she was a feminist. If a woman didn’t want kids and instead wanted to shatter glass ceilings, close the gender pay gap between women of all races and the white men at the top, she was a feminist too. If she wanted to simultaneously do both, she was a feminist.

It wasn’t fair for a feminist to shame another woman for her choices.

I’d nearly cried happy tears at her speech. I’d never felt more understood. That was why Sam as my best friend and my person.

But was it fair to call her that when I was still harboring such a secret from her?

Danny’s segment had been less eloquent, he’d been nervous, but had still spoken about the minority of gay men in the lifestyle, both as dominants and submissives. He’s spoken about how he’d come out to us and that it had been easier for him coming out as gay than it had as coming out as a submissive. He’d spoken about how he’d found his true place as a submissive, that even just being a gay man he’d still only ever felt like half of his true self, but he’d found his whole self in being a submissive, in giving his power to someone he loved and trusted.

That had lead to a conversation about contracts and if someone who was capable of whipping another person for pleasure was actually capable of feeling and giving love. It was a ridiculous notion. Of course love could be involved. It didn’t have to be, but as Danny so quickly pointed out, love wasn’t always involved in vanilla sexual relationships either, the hookup culture and friends with benefits culture proved that.

Then he’d pointed out that the one thing that was always involved in a BDSM scene that wasn’t present in a vanilla sexual encounter was mutual respect.

Privately, I’d argue that he was wrong. My relationship with Eric had proved that making generalisations such as always was never a good idea. But the reality was that he was mostly right. The conversations leading up to a scene always discussed expectations. Was it a one time hookup, leading to a contract? It was a far cry from a drunken hookup post bar or party.

It was the first time I’d ever seen Stone without anything witty to say.

At eight o’clock, I made my way to the viewing room, waiting for J to call in. Crystal had made herself scarce, having no desire to listen to what her son had to say about his lifestyle.

I listened as Stone gave the usual greeting, welcome to the show, thank you for taking the time to meet with us, tell us about yourself. The only thing I learned was that J was thirty years old and a native to Chicago. But I already knew that. Crystal was born and raised here. It made sense that her son was too. He’d been a dominant for ten years and owned his own club in the city, but no he wouldn’t say the name and no he wouldn’t talk about any of his clients.

After the basic introductions they got to the juicy parts. A lot of his answers were standards, things I’d learned about in training, punishments, protocols, behavior. But then we got to a good one. “Tell me,” Stone said. “How has the popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey, the books and movies affected the community?”

“Horribly,” J said.

“Really?” Stone said, clearly surprised but he answer.

“Yes. For starters Christian was a terrible Dominant. He didn’t treat Anastasia well. He was basically a predator and the fact that he was romanticised is only because he was a gagillionair.” That got a small chuckle out of stone. “Take the money away and it’s a horror story not an epic romance.“ I could hear the sarcasm in his words. “Just like in a vanilla relationship the two founding principals of BDSM are communication and trust. They didn’t trust each other. Anastasia was selfish for leaving him at the end of the first book. She should have used her safe word, any sub worth anything would have. And what’s worse than that is that Christian, as a dominant should have looked at her body language to know he was going over her limits. It’s a dominants job to know his submissive’s limits better than she knows them herself. He didn’t train her to be a submissive; he trained her to be what he wanted. And the end of the third book, her changing him. It doesn’t work like that. It broadened the message that dominants are sexual deviants in need of saving.”

“You’re not?” Stone dared to ask.

“No,” J all but growled through the phone. “We’re not. I wouldn’t expect someone not in the lifestyle to understand it, but being a dominant is a gift given to you by a submissive. Without someone willingly putting all of their trust in their body, mind and soul to you, we wouldn’t exist. Do I like punishing my submissives? Yes, absolutely. But I like giving them pleasure more; I like that taking the pleasure that they allow me to take, consent for me to take, brings them pleasure. I like knowing that I’m making my submissive feel free, loved, cherished and experience more pleasure than she ever has all because of my touch, my words, my hands, my toys. It’s about blurring the line between pleasure and pain.

“The characteristics of a good dominant are the same as any other typically good person- kind, loving, considerate, polite. Nobody would argue that possessing those traits makes someone a sexual deviant or a bad person.”

“So you’re saying there’s no bad dominants?” Stone asked.

“No, I’m not saying that,” J said. “Of course there are bad dominants. Just like there are bad men and women, poor partners, in every part of the world.”

“But when a submissive is tied up, she’s powerless.”

“Technically, yes, but also no. If she uses are safe word, a Dom needs to stop. Just like in a vanilla relationship if a person ever says stop, they other partner or partners involved need to. Immediately.”

“And if a dominant doesn’t stop?” Stone challenged. “What does that make him?” My breath caught at the words. It was like Stone had known what happened to me.

“A shitty fucking human being.” They definitely wouldn’t have gotten that in time to bleep that out for the listeners and because I knew J was Crystals’ son, I knew he’d be getting an earful from her later. But even that knowledge didn’t stop my heart from its out of control beating behind my ribcage, the words Stone asked, weighing heavy in the air. “And a rapist.”

There it was. The most accurate word to describe Eric that had ever existed. He was a rapist. My rapist.

I couldn’t handle anymore of the interview so I pushed my tears back down and scurried to my office, running away from the segment.

About an hour later, after it was concluded, Crystal walked into my office. I had myself together, all evidence of my distress washed from my face.

“Other than the fact that I had to call and berate my child for his use of foul language on the air, this segment was absolutely fantastic. You did amazing work putting the questions together.”

“Thank you,” I said.

“Do you want to come out for drinks to celebrate?” She asked. “We’re all going.”

“Thank you,” I said sincerely. “But I have plans with my friends.”

“The same friends who spoke on the segments.”

“Yes,” I blushed.

“Well, you’re probably in for more fun tonight than I am.” I laughed, brushing her comment off. Truth was, I wouldn’t be. I was terrified. Danny had finally begged me enough to convince me to to go to see his scene.

It would be the first time I’d been back in a club in almost six months.

And I was terrified.

~~~~~

Later that same evening, my stress level is through the roof as I try and get ready for the evening. Ellie and Sam had called it my second coming out party, but it didn’t feel like that. Naively, I’d been excited the first time I’d gone to a club because I’d had a date. And it was because of that same date that I was basically shaking like a leaf in my bathroom, fighting a losing battle. “I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.” I repeated the mantra over and over out loud in front of the mirror.

It felt like there was no truth in the words; I absolutely could not do this. But I had to. Danny asked me to go to support him in his first public performance with his new Dom, his first public performance ever actually. Master Tom was such a good Dom that he’d convinced him, gently working through the soft limits like a good Dom did, if his submissive wanted to.

See. Good Doms do exist. My subconscious chastised me. Sure they did, and just like Tom, they were all gay. It felt like there was a devil and angel on my shoulder, like in those old cheesy cartoons, giving me good and bad advice. Except in this case, even the angel wasn’t giving very good advice.

Giving myself one last look in the mirror I smiled; I certainly looked the part. My blonde hair was pulled into a high, tight pony tail and pin straight down to my waist. The black corset I was wearing made my small chest appear fuller and cinched my waist. I added lace sleeves, hiding the newest scars. Tight leather pants completed the look. As I finished applying my lipstick I absentmindedly ran my hand over my throat; the absence of my collar made me feel naked and exposed. Vulnerable. Especially since tonight would be my first night stepping into a club without one.

But was finally free without it. Even if I didn’t feel free.

I’d be fine. That was what I kept trying to convince myself of. How had I let Danny talk me in to this. He’d convinced me that a red arm bracelet, indicating I didn’t want to be approached, would be enough. Sam and Ellie had promised not to find Doms for the night and not to leave my side. I had a hard time believing that though. Ellie’s contract had just ended and she was ready for another one, another new Dom to have the potential to be her happily ever after.

Even after all this time, six months later, they still didn’t know. I couldn’t tell them. I couldn’t tell them why I’d run from him. All they knew is that I was done, they’d pretty much said so when they’d had their little intervention. I would never be able to trust another man with that much control over my body. Giving that much trust was just too much.

Danny promised that the scene would involve none of my hard limits. They’d also be the first performance of the night. I’d go, be a good friend and leave as soon as they’d walked off stage. Simple. I’d be back in my own bed before one am, ready to sleep away the reminder of how my life had so drastically changed in the last six months.

The beeping of my phone pulled me out of my thoughts. The message that lit up the screen indicated that my friends were here. I stumbled momentarily in the sky high stilettos, having not worn them in months.

“Hi!” They said excitedly at the same time as I climbed into the backseat with them.

“Hi girls,” I said less enthusiastically.

Sam attached her hand to mine and squeezed. They were silent the entire ride to the club. The only solace I had was that this is one of the few clubs in the city that Eric didn’t have a membership to.

He wouldn’t be there.

I wouldn’t see him.

He couldn’t hurt me.

I was safe.

Sweat had broken out across my body, despite the cold of the air conditioning blasting across from me. Ellie was the first out of the car and she headed straight towards the large Dom playing bouncer tonight. She gave our names and we were let inside. Danny had us put on the VIP list for tonight. Submissives without a Dom usually had to wait in line to get in but because Danny was performing a scene he was allowed guests.

Sam handed me a red bracelet. I was officially off limits. I didn’t want to play and I definitely didn’t even want to be approached. She and Ellie each had yellow on. They could be approached but not for play. I was sure that as soon as I left they would tear those of in favor of green. Open for play.

My senses were assaulted with the smell of sex, the sounds of pleasure and pain and the sight of people in various forms of undress and play. I took in the familiarity of it and despite my attempts to deny it, it felt right being back here.

Like I was home.

“What do you want to drink?” Ellie shouted over the music.

“Just water,” I said. I needed to stay sober while I was here. Stone cold sober. I could feel the judgement from her but she didn’t say anything.

“We need to head to the VIP room. His scene is starting soon.” I took a large gulp of water before following.

We were let into the VIP room. There was a group of Doms without the presence of submissives in the corner. I hoped their subs have just gone dancing and they weren’t actually free. I made sure the arm that had my bracelet on it is turned towards them, the red clearly visible.

When the show started and only two of the five had submissives at their feet my heart rate increased ten fold. When a pretty, petite, redheaded submissive walked on stage, who very clearly wasn’t Danny I started to panic more. “I thought Danny’s scene was first,” I hissed at my friends.

“Shhh,” Ellie chastised me while glancing over her shoulder to make sure the Doms hadn’t noticed our exchange. “It must have gotten switched. Just watch the show.”

I clenched my eyes tight and took a few deep breaths. In for four seconds. Hold for seven. Out for eight. I kept my eyes closed the entire time the scene was being prepared. When I opened my eyes the sub was bent over and tied to the table. Her round ass was high in the air and waiting. She squirmed, but was immediately corrected by her Dom. A look of satisfaction crossed his face as she relaxed. The ringing in my ears prevented me from hearing what he was saying to her but when he lifted his hand and slapped it against her ass, my breath caught in my throat. “One!” She called out. I had to clamp my legs together. By the time she was at ten she was shaking in pleasure, begging him to stop, begging him to take her. I was turned on too. More so than I had been in months.

He rubbed his hands over her body affectionately. She was going to get her reward now. I still couldn’t hear over the ringing in my ears, but I could tell by her body language that she was being praised, maybe degraded at the same time. The best combination.

But apparently the scene wasn’t over because he went to where the toys were laid out and picked up a whip. Internally I screamed, my body frozen. The scars on my back physically pained me as if they were opening all over again, feeling every slash that he’d marked across my skin like it was bleeding fresh red blood down my back just like it had all those months ago.

Red.

Red.

Red.

I needed to escape. Somehow I managed to have enough sense to take my shoes off before I fled. I didn’t need any extra attention and the sound of my heels tapping against the floor as I ran would bring just that.

I didn’t know the club’s layout and in my haze I ended up in a darkened corridor without any escape. “Little one,” a voice called and I froze on the spot. It was deep and masculine. And it terrified me as much as it excited me.

I felt like I’d heard it before, but couldn’t place it.

I turned, my eyes cast down, but not before I got a good look at him. “Are you okay?” He asked. I recognized him as one of the Doms who had been sitting behind us. He looked even bigger than he did sitting on the couch. He was in nothing but leather pants. His broad shoulders and defined chest were on display. He was flawless. His skin was a light shade of dark. He looked biracial maybe, but that could be me just acting on stereotypes, and the lighting was low and could be playing tricks on my mind. His eyes were a jade green and even though I wasn’t supposed to look a Dom in the eye without permission, I was mesmerized by them.

“Yo-you-you’re not supposed to talk to me,” I stuttered out the first part of my sentence while holding up my wrist so he can see the bracelet.

“I’m the dungeon master, little one.” No. No. No. No.

Eric had been too. The head Dom who thought the rules didn’t apply to him.

“I just want to make sure you’re okay.” I didn’t respond. “It’s my job to make sure you’re okay.”

“I’ll be fine once I’m out of here. Can you please show me to the exit?”

“Sure, little one.” His hand found its way to my lower back as I walked in front of him. When he felt me flinch away he pulled his hand back respectfully.

“Thank you,” I said softly as he held the door open for me.

“Can I take you home?”

“No. I’ll take a cab,” I said firmly.

“Little one, I do not feel comfortable with you taking a cab in your current state.”

He’s sweet the angel voice whispered in my ears. It’s a poly the devil on the other shoulder said. My inner monologue gives even me a headache these days.

Fishing my phone out of my corset I held it up and took a picture of him. I sent it to the group chat with Sam, Ellie and Danny. “Now my friends know who I’m with.” He let out a deep chuckle and in the past minute of our exchange I’d finally felt like myself again. For the first time in months.

He guided me around the corner of the club and to a black sedan. “Little one,” he said as he held the door open for me.

“My name is Abby,” I told him.

“Abby,” he said my name like he was tasting it on his tongue. “I’m Jared. In the club Master Jared.” I nodded as he closed the door. Once he was backing out of his parking spot he said, “put your address in the GPS.”

“I can just give you directions,” I said. He might remember where I lived, but I was at least going to make it a challenge for him and not give him access to it in the memory of his fancy car’s GPS. He nodded, like he’d approved of my answer.

He was silent the entire drive to my building. It took only ten minutes but I was thankful when it was over.

“Abby,” he said as I went to climb out.

“Thank you for the ride.”

“I’d like to see you again. Outside of the club.” I went to tell him no, but he cut me off, handing me his card. “Ball’s in your court little one.”

I nodded before climbing out.

To my own surprise I didn’t immediately throw his card in the trash when I walked into my apartment.

Walking into the bathroom, I stripped out of my club attire. The razor sitting on the sink called to me as I stared at my naked body in the mirror. Picking it up I felt the lightweight of it in my hand. But metaphorically, it felt like holding the weight of the world in my palm.

It felt so much heavier than it should.

Whore. I said, as I swiped it across my arm. The sting of pain brought pleasure as I watched blood trickle from the cut.

Slut. Cut.

Bitch. Cut

Worthless. Cut

Worthless fat bitch. The last cut was the longest and deepest across my abdomen. I let the blood drip carelessly to the floor as the razor fall out of my hands. I climbed into the shower, turning the water scalding warm and sat down under the spray. I stayed until my skin is an angry red from the warmth and my tears have dried and the bleeding has stopped and the water wasn’t running pink anymore.

Naked and wet, I climbed into my bed and slept.

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