Love&Pain

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Summary

A thriller with lesbian kink Serena has never taken the easy way out of anything. Her last girlfriend broke her trust and her heart and left her reluctant to get back out there. Unemployed graphic designer by day, performing dominatrix by night, her career isn't exactly taking off. Shy and slightly awkward Mia pushes all her buttons. Little does she know how much of a rollercoaster her life is about to become. Mia has always been the one to take care of everyone, her own desires taking a backseat. When Serena crashes into her life and looks right through all the facades she had so carefully constructed, she is forced to confront everything she has been unwilling to admit to herself and go on a journey of selfdiscovery. A journey that will take her into a world filled with terrors and delights she had never even dreamed of. Love&Pain is the first book of the "Games of trust and desire" series.

Genre:
Thriller / Romance
Author:
Evelien Heerens
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
28
Rating:
4.5 6 reviews
Age Rating:
18+

The girl in the coffee shop

Love&Pain

Dedication:

I would like to dedicate this book to my beastie. Who is my very own kitten, my rock and my forever home. <3 They knows who they are. ;) Thank you for everything. Without you I would not be the person I am today.

For the reader:

I would like to provide a trigger warning on the following subjects that come up in this book. Please inform your consent before reading.

Homophobia

Mention of conversion therapy

Violent assault

Violent Death

Incarceration

Police brutality

Mention of rape

Threat of rape

Blackmail

Voluntary and involuntary sex work

BDSM

Lesbian Sex

Straight Sex

Financial bankrupcy

Please read at your own discretion.

Chapter 1 The girl at the coffee shop

Serena

I walked out of the subway station and took a moment to check my reflection in a storefront window. Killer heels, check. Stunning pants-suit, check. Curly blond hair, styled to perfection. I was ready to kill this interview. All I needed was some coffee and I’d be good to go.

I sauntered into one of those pretentious yuppie coffee places I’d normally avoid. They charged an arm and a leg for some ground beans. Today was a day for exception.

It wasn’t busy, just one leggy brunette hanging on the counter, like leaning in would help her make up her mind. Those were nice legs though, I wouldn’t say no to those legs.

I took in the sight of her as I neared the counter. The sounds of my heels on the floor were muffled by a red carpet that ran over the hardwood floor all the way up to to the counter. She tapped her fingers on her chin as she mulled over her decision. I stopped behind her to wait my turn. Her smell tickled up my nose. Hmm. Light and sweet but not too sweet. I mentally slapped myself before I started musing what her skin tasted like. Maybe I’d been single too long. I couldn’t afford distraction though, this interview was important, I really needed this job. It was an entry level position but it paid over twice the minimum wage and opportunities were few. It’d been hard even getting interviews.

The woman made up her mind and decided not to order the muffin, the barista handed her the coffee. Her order had been ready the whole time. I was about to step up and order but she collided with me and I felt a wet, burning sensation spread over my chest. My hapless assailant almost fell over backwards but my arms shot out to steady her as she swore. “Fuck me!” Her eyes widened as I pulled her up bringing her face about an inch from mine. “Oh my god I’m so sorry!” A stream of incoherent apologies followed but I didn’t stay for that. I had hot coffee running down my chest and it burned more by the second.

I let her go, turned on my heel and marched towards the restroom, my heels pounded on the hardwood floor. She stood there for about a second before scrambling after me.

I breathed through the pain, quickly unbuttoning my blouse and turned on the faucet. I grabbed a handful of paper towels from my purse and dabbed cold water onto the burns.

Behind me the door swung open. The leggy brunette stumbled in, her eyes full of guilt. “Oh my god, are you..?” Her voice trailed off, her eyes glued to my chest. She stared for a three count. “Jeesh, that looks bad.”

I waved my hand dismissively. “It’s fine, it will heal.” my voice came out with finality and I could see a shock run through her at the assertion.

“Can I help with any…” She moved her hand to indicate where I was dabbing cold wet towels on my chest, her mouth hung open a little.

Adorable. “No I got it. Would be great if you could wash the shirt in the other sink though. I’ve somewhere to be.”

She nodded and got to work, scrubbing the shirt under the water like she knew what she was doing. I watched her work, and I noticed her hand was badly burned.

I grabbed her wrist, pulled the shirt out of her hands, tugged her towards my sink and held her hand under the water.

She hissed at the sudden cold sensation and shivered. Her hip bumped into mine and she stilled, relaxing into my firm grip.

“You should have cooled this immediately.” I chided her. “Now it’s going to take longer to heal.”

She cast her eyes down. “Sorry.” It came out as a whisper. I was suddenly aware of how close we were standing. I could feel her breath on my bare shoulder, she was taking short shallow breaths.

My voice softened. “It’s alright, just don’t forget to take care of yourself.”

She snorted. “I know. Not my first instinct you know. I’m more used to taking care of others.”

I turned my head to face her. I still held her wrist under the cold faucet making her lean towards me. Our faces maybe two inches apart, I looked into her slightly too wide eyes.

Was she scared? Had I crossed a line? She didn’t look away and a blush crept up her cheeks.

She quickly changed the subject. “What about you though, you’re taking care of me but you chest is still…” Her voice trailed off and I shrugged.

“I’ll be fine.” I assured her and turned my attention back to her hand. The water had done all it was going to do so I let her go.

She slowly backed away from me.

I checked my shirt, she had done a half decent job getting the stain out. I used the hand dryer to dry it a bit, didn’t want to show up in a see through shirt.

She stood awkwardly while I finished drying my shirt. “My name is Mia.” She said softly.

Gods if she kept being shy and demure like this I wasn’t going to make it to my interview.

“I need a cold shower.” I said out loud without meaning to. “For the burns I quickly added.” What the fuck was wrong with me? “Serena.” I said sticking out my hand.

She took it with her unburned hand. “It’s so nice to meet you.. I mean! Not nice to burn you, just…”

My smile seemed to cut off her rambling. “It’s all right Mia. It’s nice to meet you too.” I noticed the time and swore. I was going to be late for my interview! I Hastily put on my blouse and checked myself in the mirror. You could sort of see a faded shadow of a coffee stain. Couldn’t fix that now. “I gotta run” I blurted rushing out of the restroom.

Mia called out after me. “Wait, I should give you my number, so I can pay for the..” the restroom door fell shut behind me and I hurried to my interview.

It stung. She wanted to give me her number but I really couldn’t wait. Was she interested in me or was that my imagination? It all kept replaying in my head over and over. I rushed to the office building across the street.

*********

“Cheer up Serena, there’s more fish in the sea.” Tom was referring to jobs, like the job I didn’t get today. The interview was over the moment they saw my stained shirt. That prick just skipped the introduction and said “Next.” I was going to have to figure something out soon.

“You know, you could always go back to bar-tending. I still have some connections, could put in a good word for you.”

I scoffed. I knew what he meant. I’d done topless bar-tending at a local strip club for four years to get through school. It was how we met but I wasn’t about to go back to Showland, to Bunny. “No thank you Tom.” It came out more icy then I meant. He was only trying to help after all.

We were at club wonderland, the city’s only fetish club to survive the reign of a heavily conservative city council. It was kind of my haunt, a place to be yourself free from judgment. The place was reasonably well lit and the tables were spaced out with a mix of standing tables and ones with chairs. People didn’t come here to play, they came to watch and meet kindred spirits. The decor was reasonably classy and the only real clues to the kinky nature of this place were the outfits of the people and the things that happened on stage.

“You look off tonight Ren, are you sure you’re up for performing?”

I nodded. “No worries Tom, you’re in good hands. Besides, this is the only paying gig I got right now. Even if it’s only 50 bucks.”

He lifted his glass to me. “50 bucks each, plus a complementary drink.” I clinked my glass to his and we both took a sip.

“It can’t be easy, seeing how this kinda plays into your biggest weakness.” He teased

“Oh? What’s that?”

“Your inability to ask for help and let others take care of you.” He grinned at me.

I shook my head. “I did though, ask for help. Jenny is taking care of the rent this month.”

He looked at me surprised. “That’s very unlike you.”

“Well. I didn’t really have a choice. I ran out of savings last month.” I shrugged like it wasn’t a big deal but it was bothering the hell out of me.

“So you didn’t so much ask for help as that you were honest about your inability to carry your responsibilities and you worked out an arrangement?” I avoided his gaze, I knew I’d lost that one. I locked eyes with Frankie, the owner. She nodded at me. Showtime.

“Kneel.” my voice was silky but it wasn’t a request.

Tom eagerly dropped to his knees. I wound the rope slowly around my hand and elbow. His eyes followed me, hypnotized.

I circled him with slow deliberate steps. My heels resounded off the stage. The club had gone quiet. I took in our audience for a moment and my eyes fell on a familiar face.

Mia was sitting at a table near the bar with two other girls. Her mouth was hanging open as she stared at me. We made eye contact and she flushed red, closed her mouth and quickly turned away ducking behind one of her friends.

I smiled, I couldn’t help it. Something fluttered in my chest. She was here, I might have another chance to talk to her.

My nails drew angry red lined in Tom’s shoulder and he hissed in pain and pleasure. He turned to look at me. I slapped his cheek. It sounded a lot harder then it was. “Did I say you could move?” My voice was like honey. He resumed the position immediately. Casting his eyes down.

“No mistress.”

I coiled rope around his arms, tying them behind his back. I could sense him sinking into it. The earlier part had been theatrics. We had done this many times before. It was a performance, for the benefit of the audience, not for ourselves. He couldn’t help his response to the ropes though. Tom was a major rope bunny, it was hardwired into him.

His breathing had slowed and he was relaxed in spite of given the uncomfortable position I had tied him in. I knew this look in his eyes. Knew what it meant. He no longer noticed his physical limits. Not when it came to the ropes. That was on me now. It’s why he’d checked in with me earlier. I let the flogger run through my fingers, forcing sounds out of it I knew he would respond to.

I was wearing thigh high leather 4 inch stiletto boots and a red leather dress. Normally I’d wear a black piece for this routine for broad appeal but only the red one completely covered my burns.

I brought the flogger down and it lashed across his chest. The sound was sharp. He moaned in ecstasy and his whole body tensed and then relaxed. I painted a cruel smile on my face but my eyes were constantly checking him for signs that the constriction was causing problems.

Blows rained down on his chest, back and stomach in quick succession.

After several minutes of that I dropped the flogger and drew my knife. I could feel a ripple of shock and excitement roll through the crowd. I slowly approached him and cut his restraints. I put the knife away and uncoiled the rope from his arms. His eyes were still glazed.

I knelt down and pulled him into my lap, petting his hair and massaging his arms and shoulders to let him come down. “Good job Tom, good job.” I whispered to him as his eyes came back into focus.

I helped him up and the audience applauded.

We made our way back to our table where our drinks were still waiting for us. “Where are you at Tom?”

He sighed and took a long drink from his glass. “Almost back.” He answered steadily. “Feeling pretty good actually. You haven’t lost your touch.” He chuckled. “Have you been with anyone since?…”

I shook my head. “Nah.”

His mouth pulled into a thin line and his brows furrowed in disapproval. “You need to get back out there Ren. Tying up your best friend for cash cannot remain your only outlet. You were born to do this.”

“Maybe you’re right.” I admitted.

He choked on his drink. “I am?.. I mean I am!” He studied my face. “Why the turnaround though? I expected the usual deflections and arguments.”

I shrugged. “Maybe you are getting through to me Tom.” I smiled and flagged down one of the servers.
-----------

Mia

I was trying not to die of embarrassment as my friends trash-talked the show we had just witnessed.

“I am sooo glad you convinced us to come here tonight Veronica. That was the most bizarre thing I have ever seen.” Beth was talking excitedly.

“I know right. I told you this place was freaky.”

They were reveling in the scandalous feel of it all. I didn’t feel scandalized though, I felt a ball of other things. I felt turned on, embarrassed and above all ashamed of how my friends were responding. Maybe I even felt angry. That wasn’t just some ‘Sadist bitch’ up there as Beth had called her. That was a person. A person I had met today, who had taken care of me even though she’d been hurt herself. That wasn’t someone who got off on the pain of others. She’d scolded me for neglecting myself.

“I mean, I’ve read some kinky stories but these folks are off the deep end.” Beth prattled on. “It’s shocking and way better then reality TV. I’d never seen freaks out in the wild before.”

I’d had it! I slammed my hands on the table, knocking everyone’s drinks over and raised my voice. “Shut up Beth! That wasn’t a freak show for you to gawk at! That was a deep and beautiful performance and if you can’t behave like a person about it then you shouldn’t have come here with us!”

Not just my friends but the people at most of the tables around us had fallen silent. Everyone was staring at us now.

Red with embarrassment Beth stood up and bolted away from the table. Ronnie quickly stood up, giving everyone an apologetic smile, and ran after her.

I groaned and slammed my face on the table. Was I seriously going to screw up everything today? Where the hell did that come from? I was the quiet one, never confrontational.

A server wearing a fishnet shirt and a collar coughed drawing my eyes to his face. Was he about to ask me to leave?

“A drink offered to you by mistress Ren. You may rest assured that she only ordered it, the drink was prepared by our bartender and handled only by myself.”

He stared at me expectantly. “Huh, what?” I looked at him in confusion. My mind was still reeling with what had just happened. I must sound like an idiot.

“Would you like to accept the drink?”

I swallowed and then nodded at him. “Yeah, sure.”

-------------

Serena

Tom grinned at me. “Was that girl just defending your honor?”

I couldn’t suppress my grin. “Yours too by the sound of it.” Her friends march right out the door, hurt and guilt washed over her soft features. My chest constricted and not because of my corset. She accepted the offered drink with a meek nod.

“Well.” Tom sighed. “I don’t think they will be back here anytime soon. Good riddance to small-minded people.”

I shook my head. If they wouldn’t be back, odds are neither would she be. Besides, no one comes here and gets all worked up and judgmental because they don’t have deeply complicated feelings about what goes on in here. “They were probably just scared, confused and ignorant.” I said softly, getting up from our table.

“What are you doing?” He asked me, confused.

“Aftercare.”

I walked over to Mia. I tried to place my feet gently, my pace slow and my hips swaying slightly I walked towards her. Didn’t want my steel heels sounding to harshly. She didn’t need that, she needed a friend.

-----------

Mia

“Fuck. I’m going to have to apologize to them somehow..” I lamented quietly as I sipped my drink. “If they will even speak to me again.” I glanced at the other table, looking for Serena, who’d apparently bought me this drink. A Mimosa I noted, good guess. My friends had ordered me a Cosmo but I didn’t love those. That couldn’t be how she knew.

She walked this way elegantly. I swallowed and stared at her, hypnotized. Her movements seemed effortless, her back was perfectly straight and she walked on 4 inch heels as if it was comfortable.

Who does that? Was she a runway model? Her leather dress hugged her form tightly and left little to the imagination. She slid into the chair next to me fluidly and rested her hand on mine.

It was an effortless gesture. She didn’t grab or push. It made me feel warmer. I dared a glance at her face. Her deep blue eyes were full of compassion.

“Are you alright?”

Fuck, what was my face doing, what was it showing? I quickly pulled on my best smile. “Oh, I’m fine. Thank you.” Serena just shook her head and gave my hand a squeeze. Her touch sent a ripple of tingles up my arm right down to my stomach.

“No, don’t do that. You don’t have to do that with me.” Her eyes seem to look right through me. I felt naked under her gaze. “I’m not asking for myself. I’m asking for you. You can tell me if you want to.”

I did want to tell her. Don’t know what it was but everything about her just radiated “trustworthy”. It was crazy, I knew her for all of 10 minutes. I thought back to the restroom at the coffee shop. The way she had grabbed me, tended my injury, cared. The way that had made me feel. I’d felt sad that I’d probably never see her again. Then there she was, performing on stage no less. I’d agreed to come here thinking it would at least distract me from thinking about her. How had she left such a deep impression? Why did I care? I already had plenty of friends. Well, I used to anyway. After tonight, maybe not.

Fuck. I still haven’t said anything. How long have I been sitting her lost in my thoughts? I glanced at her face but she was still just sitting there, holding my hand, patiently waiting with that same compassionate look. Like a saint. What the hell am I even thinking?

I cleared my throat and she lessened the pressure on my hand and sat back a little, creating more space between us. Fuck. She must think she made me uncomfortable. Say something you dumb bitch, don’t let her withdraw more!

“I think I may have lost a friend tonight. Maybe even both of them.” It came out with a hiccup.

She squeezed my hand again and something in me just broke. Tears burst out of my eyes and the gravity of what had just happened earlier hit me full force.

“I’m so so sorry for you.”

Her words flowed through me, made me feel safe and understood. I let it all out then. Like she had given me permission somehow.

She lifted me gently into her lap and held me. I ugly cried unto the shoulder of her pretty red leather dress, her arms were strong and held me as if I weighed nothing. And I let her. I didn’t even hear the club around us anymore. She just held me and stroked my back. “It’s okay, just let it all out.” I can’t remember the last time I cried like this. Must have been in kindergarten. No, I didn’t cry like this back then either. This came from a deeper place.

I wasn’t just crying about my friend Beth, whom I’d known since kindergarten. This was about sitting by my dying mother when I was only eleven every day because dad had to work long days at the restaurant to pay for her medical bills, about having to raise my baby brother even though I was barely two years older then him, about letting go of my dreams of becoming a dancer to work at the family restaurant, about every time I hadn’t let myself cry. I had always had to be the strong one. No one ever took care of me. Now here she was, taking care of me, being the strong one. I ran out of tears but I stayed still on her lap. My face buried in her shoulder that was now slick and shiny with my snot and tears. Oh god, I bet everyone is staring at the freaky unstable headcase. I lifted my gaze cautiously.

No one was staring. People around where just going about their thing and chatting like I wasn’t totally having a breakdown here.

I turned my head so I could look at her. Her eyes were still soft and she seemed to know the question in my mind just from looking at me.

“In kink, things can get… emotionally heavy. Everyone breaks down sometimes. It’s healing. It’s… Normal.” I didn’t know what to make of that. A new wave of embarrassment threatened to bubble to the surface. “Mia.” My name was a command. I’d cast my eyes down but I immediately looked at her. “It’s okay. Just take a moment. Would it help to sit on your chair again? Collect yourself a little?” Her voice was soft, kind. It was super weird but I felt… Loved. I nodded at her. As nice as it was on her lap I really needed to feel the ground under me again. She carefully loosened her hold on me. Her hands steadied me as I slid back into my own chair.

I downed what was left of my drink.

She took a paper towel out of her handbag and simply wiped the shoulder of her dress clean like it wasn’t a big deal. She must have noticed me glancing at it guiltily.

“Do you always carry those?” I just wanted to talk about something else, anything but what I was feeling right now. The crying was cathartic but I was a raw emotional mess right now. I just wanted to feel normal.

Her mouth quirked in a slight half smile as if I’d asked about something amusing. “I make messes sometimes so they are handy to keep around.” Her eyes actually glinted with amusement.

“Messes?” My brow furrowed in confusion.

“Sexy messes.” She had a playful glint in her eye.

I gulped at her candor. Maybe I should change the subject again. I was starting to feel a little weirded out by how much of myself I’d shown her.

Her eyes softened. She was reading me like a book. “You want to go home don’t you.” She didn’t even really state it as a question. I did detect a hint of disappointment. Who was this girl? No, not girl, woman.

There was nothing immature or girly about anything in her. Her strength was inevitable and I felt drawn to her gravity.

I didn’t trust my voice so I just nodded. She nodded back. “I’ll call you an Uber and wait with you outside. Your friends left without you so it isn’t safe.” That last part came out harsher. Was she angry? She helped me get up. My legs were still a bit wobbly. I probably shouldn’t have drank that mimosa so fast, being the lightweight that I am.

She walked with me, using an app on her phone to call for a car. We collected my coat and made our way outside. We waited in silence for a bit and then she turned to me to hand me her card. I looked it over. Serena Bernetti, freelance graphic designer. It also had links to her social media and her mobile number on it. “Right” I said. Understanding dawning on me. “For the dry-cleaning bill.”

She squeezed my arm so I’d look at her and shook her head. “No Mia. Because I want to see you again.”

A shock went through me and it was as if all the air left my lungs. My mouth was suddenly dry. I was saved from having to respond by the car pulling up. Serena opened the door and helped me inside.

She whipped up her phone and took a picture of the drivers laminated license card, then another one of his face as he turned in his seat. She spoke to him in that even commanding voice. “She gets home safe or you become famous James.”

’James’ as his license had apparently identified him smirked, not seeming to take that the wrong way. “Of course ma’am.” He flashed her a winning smile.

She took a second photo. “Sorry, had to get your good side.”

He chuckled. “Preciate it.”

She turned to me. “Text me when you get home okay?” I nodded to her and then she closed the door. The car pulled away from the club.

“That’s a solid friend you have there.” James said as his eyes scanned traffic. “Where are we heading?” I gave him my address and wrapped my arms around myself. James got a worried look for a moment. He seemed to sense I wasn’t a hundred percent and softly turned on the radio. I was grateful. I didn’t want to talk. I couldn’t focus, my mind was running a million miles a minute. I sunk into the rhythm of streetlights flashing overhead. Maybe things would make more sense tomorrow.

-------------

Serena

I walked back inside. What I really wanted to do was head home as well and soak in a nice warm bath for a while. Maybe spend some time sketching to relax my mind. Definitely wanted to get out of this corset that was squeezing my burn wounds. I needed to stay for my second performance though, right now I just needed every penny I could make.

I tanked the interview but it didn’t ruin today. I’d made a real connection with Mia. If I hadn’t completely scared the shit out of her she might even call me.

“Hello! Earth to Serena!” Tom waved his hands at me trying to get my attention. I slid back into my seat and let out a deep sigh. “What the fuck just happened over there? You just walk up to a girl, pull her into your lap and let her cry her eyes out. I know that you’re like some kind of sub-whisperer or something but that was crazy.”

I shook my head at him. “I know her.” It wasn’t exactly a lie. I did feel like I knew her a little now and I really wasn’t in the mood to give him the play by play.

“So what happened?” I looked at him apologetically.

“Not my story to tell.” He seemed to accept that. It was just a bit to personal to tell him, I didn’t feel she would like me to talk about what little there was to tell.

“So are you crushing on her?” Am I? I thought about how we connected, about her soft angelic features, about the glimpses I’d gotten of the kind of person she is. A warm glow spread from my chest towards my face and it wasn’t the coffee burn.

“I may have a slight crush going on.” I admitted softly. He nodded, smirking. He got what he wanted.

“Ask if she has stern-looking older brother.”

I smiled wryly. “I don’t think she does.”

He frowned. “Okay… So.. Are you good to go back up there later? It’s audience volunteer time. If you used up too much of your mojo earlier?..” His voice trailed off. It was nice that he was checking in. Tom and I had few secrets between us and he knew I was under a lot of stress. I put my hand on his arm in gratitude.

“You’re a good friend Tom.” He grinned like an idiot.

“Just good? I’d say I am a fantastic friend. A phenomenal friend even.” It made me smile. He was goofing to lift my spirit.

“I stand corrected.”

********
A Petite Asian girl climbed on stage after I called for volunteers. She was blushing heavily, it was cute honestly. She folded her hands in front of herself and shifted back and forth on her legs shyly. It must have taken real courage to climb up here – courage and a lot of desire. “What’s your name sub.” I asked gently.

“Naki, mistress Ren.” Her words came out softer then mine. I moved closer to her, my mouth next to her ear. “Tell me about your fantasy Naki.”

She swallowed. “I want to be suspended mistress Ren.”

I went through a mental list of what I had with me and what Frankie had backstage. I called out to Frankie. “I need the rig from backstage, the cross one.” Frankie beamed at me and signaled her people. Suspension wasn’t some party trick. It entailed a lot of moving parts, doing the bindings properly took time and you had to really know what you were doing. Doing it over the clothes lessened the risk of cutting off circulation too much but it also hid the signs.

Naki was wearing Jeans and a sweater and no way I’d expose a patron volunteer on stage without consent. Given how nervous she was, asking her would pressure her. It wouldn’t be consent.

This rig made it a little easier though so I felt confident doing it, if not for too long. I had some time to fill while they worked.

I circled Naki. I drove my heels down hard as I walked. A little shudder went through her with every step. “Before we do this we have some ground to cover my sweet volunteer sub.”

She shivered. “Yes mistress Ren.”

“What is your safe word?”

She watched me circle her. “Ocean, mistress Ren.”

I repeated the word in my head over and over until I was sure I would respond immediately. “Have you done this or anything like this before?”

She hesitated. “Never suspension mistress, but I have done rope bondage before. I’ve even been to a workshop or two.” Good. Something to work with. Out of her sight I retrieved my riding crop. I lightly touched her chin. She straightened immediately. “We are going to work on your posture a little first.” I used the crop to indicate where her posture needed work. She quickly made adjustments. She was starting to slip into the fantasy, forgetting about the audience.

I took out the hemp rope. On stage I’d often use silk or cotton but that wouldn’t work for suspension, too much give and not enough friction for secure knots. I ran my hands over it to test if I’d oiled it enough after the last time I’d boiled it.

“Hands on your head.” I said it calmly but with authority. She placed her hands on the back of her head in a flash. Slow and steady, I wound the rope around her, creating the harness that would carry her weight. We fell into the trance together. Control flowing from her to me with every wind and coil of the rope. When the boys brought up the cross behind her she was ready. I secured the bindings to the cross.

I touched her face and looked into her heavy lidded eyes for a moment. I nodded and mike pressed the button. She rose above the stage hanging from ropes about half a meter below the rig. Soaring like a bird. Further up she rose until she hovered just slightly above my head.

I walked around underneath, petting her with the riding crop. Her eyes were turned back in her head, lost inside herself. I counted, 3 minutes of nothing but the sky was all I could safely give her.

At my signal, the rig came down. I took my time untying her. Making sure she had the time she needed to come back down from her high.

I nudged her softly when I was done. “Come on, we’ll have a drink over there and talk it through for a bit.” She nodded meekly and followed me to my table where Tom was still sitting.

“Tom, an orange juice and a glass of water if you please?” Tom nodded and walked towards the bar. “You did great up there” I told Naki.

“Thank you. That was… Amazing.” She sighed, blushing.

Tom put the drinks down and sauntered off again. We sat quietly until she finished both drinks. She was still processing, smiling the whole time.

“Are you here with a friend?” I asked gently.

She nodded. “My boyfriend. He knows suspension isn’t something he has experience with and we don’t have the right equipment but I’ve wanted to try for so long…”

I smiled at her. “Glad I could help.” I made eye contact with a young man that was watching us, beaming from ear to ear. Good, he didn’t look jealous. “He sounds like a good, smart, responsible guy. A real keeper.”

A dopey smile spread over her face. “He is amazing. He was actually the one who encouraged me to volunteer tonight. I would never been so bold if he hadn’t supported me.” She gushed about him. I waved him over and offered him my seat.

My work was done, she was in good hands.

Frankie waved me over. “Suspension? I thought you didn’t do suspension on stage?” Her eyes were full of amusement and her tone teasing. She’d requested something like this from me multiple times. Even offered to pay extra. I’d always turned her down. “With a volunteer no less.”

I shrugged. “The girl had a dream.”

She laughed. “You’re a classic serving dom Ren. I’ve been going about it all wrong. Instead of offering you money I should just have been showing you all the sad little subs who were begging for it.” She teased, her way of checking in. It came from a good place. I knew what was coming next. What this was really about. “So what was up with that other girl earlier?”

I shrugged. “I don’t know yet.” I fished out my phone. Two missed texts from 10 minutes ago. “Home Safe!” Followed by: “Thank you… really.” I smiled and typed back. “Sweet dreams angel. Call me if you need to talk, day or night.” I pressed send and put my phone away.

Frankie was studying my face with that bemused smirk of hers. “I think you’ll figure it out Ren.”

********

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