Melissa followed the mâitre d´ into the restaurant and looked around. She was wearing a cream linen sundress with thin blue stripes, which Cathy had helped her pick out the day before. Even though Erik had made it clear that she was “off duty” from seven o’clock Wednesday morning till seven o’clock Thursday morning, she had decided to wear the high-heeled blue sandals that Cathy had found to go with the dress, rather than the plain flat sandals she had brought from her apartment. The new blue sandals really made the outfit.
She had also decided to take the Aston Martin, rather than her old beater. Erik had encouraged her to use the new sports car all the time, even on her day off. Although the new car had intimidated her at first, after driving it some more on Tuesday, she had fallen in love with its luxury and James Bond appeal. She did feel guilty and a bit disloyal, however, when she pulled away from the garage and caught a glimpse of her faded Nissan in the rearview mirror.
It wasn’t until she was halfway to the restaurant that she realized she hadn’t put on any underwear. Embarrassed, she considered going back. She vacillated, trying to remember if Erik had said anything about his “no underwear” rule extending to her time off. Finally, she just shrugged and kept driving, not wanting to be late.
Laughing at herself, she had to admit that when she got dressed, she simply hadn’t given any thought to putting on underwear. Even after a few short days at Erik’s house, it seemed natural to not be wearing anything under her clothing. After a moment’s consideration, she smirked, realizing that underwear would just look silly under most of the clothing she wore at his place.
Glancing down at her dress, she felt very grateful for Cathy’s help in buying clothes for going out in public with Erik. Cathy had mostly selected tops and dresses that were at least a little bit supportive of her bust, as well as fabrics that weren’t too sheer, or else they had found a light blazer or something to layer over it. Cathy firmly maintained that the key was to be “sophisticated sexy,” not slutty. Melissa wholeheartedly agreed. She thought that Cathy had been amazingly successful in hitting the right balance. Even the skimpy outfits that Melissa wore around the house had a sophisticated flair that made her feel beautiful, instead of trashy.
Just before she had left the house, Melissa had topped off her outfit with an iridescent blue fascinator that Cathy had spotted in a hat shop. After learning Melissa’s weakness for fascinators and beautiful high heels, Cathy had shamelessly indulged her in both. Walking into the restaurant, Melissa worried that she was overdressed, but she was reassured when the mâitre d´ had looked up, pausing the smallest moment while his eyes quickly flicked up and down, taking in her appearance, then giving her a warm smile that clearly approved of her outfit.
She gave him her name. He immediately responded, “Welcome to Chardon’s. Your party is waiting. Please, this way.”
Following him into the dining room, she looked around and was relieved that she wasn’t overdressed. Erik had suggested the restaurant and Serena had agreed that it was a good choice.
The mâitre d´ led her to a table where Malcolm was lounging in his chair, with his white polo shirt offsetting his dark skin. As he pulled out her chair, the mâitre d´ smirked ever so slightly at Malcolm, who responded with an equally subtle puckering of his lips and eyebrow raise. Melissa saw the mâitre d´ roll his eyes as he seated her.
She turned in her chair to watch the him walking away, amused by the slight strut in his gait. Turning back to Malcolm, she got ready to tease him about whatever flirting he must have done with the mâtre d´. Malcolm, however, burst out first, “Girl, I don’t care how you got it, but you go back right now and let that supermodel have her body back. That poor girl has got to look fabulous to make a living. You, on the other hand, I know for a fact, have an actual brain. So girl, you’ve got no call to look that hot. It’s just downright dangerous. Every hetero male in this place spiked his blood pressure when you walked by. Hell, I think you look amazing, and I’m so homo, it’s just not funny.” He paused for a moment, looking at her closely, “What’d they do to you in there?”
In response, Melissa dropped her head into her hands, feeling frustrated. “Oh shit, not you too. Erik and Serena keep on telling me that I’m… I don’t know… something I’m not. I’m not some goddamn supermodel! Get it? I’m just me. Like always. Plain me.”
She looked up at Malcolm, waiting for his response. He nodded slowly, thoughtfully. “Okay, you’re butt ugly, just like always. Feel better?”
She snorted derisively, “Thanks.”
“Hey, anytime. What are friends for? I mean, not everybody can be a sex god, like me.” Then he laughed, shaking his head ruefully, “But girl, for real, you have nailed the sex goddess thing. And hey, it looks good on you, so what the hell? Run with it.”
Melissa frowned. “Can we just drop it?”
Malcolm replied in a serious tone, dropping his normal jocularity, “Yeah. Sure. I didn’t mean to razz you. I’m sorry. But wow, I mean you’ve got to just be finding a whole new side of you. This is a statistically significant departure from sweatpants and t-shirt. And hey, I’ve seen you in clubbing mode too. This is a whole different thing. It’s just kind of mind-blowing to see you so different in only three days.”
“Hey, it’s still me.”
“Got that. No argument. You are definitely still Melissa. But you’re learning new stuff about what being Melissa is, or could be, at least. That much is obvious. So give it up. Tell Uncle Malcolm every last little decadent detail.”
“Ha, you’re just a pervert.”
“Sure, and your point is…”
“I don’t know. Hell, it’s really good to see you. And it’s seriously weird too. Like two parts of my life crashing together.”
“So what is this other part of your life that you’ve been hiding away all this time?”
“That’s the thing. It’s not like Erik has turned me into something I wasn’t. It’s more like he’s helping me set free something I’ve always been, but I was way too scared to ever let out.”
Malcolm only nodded, waiting for her to continue.
“Ever since I was a little girl, I liked the idea of being tied up. And yeah, when I was a teenager, it turned into rape fantasies… and all that stuff. Being sold into white slavery. Whipped at a pillory. All that shit, it… it just scared the hell out of me… but I loved it. So, you know, I felt guilty as hell, but that’s what mostly made me cum when I… ah… you know, played with myself.”
She slowly shook her head in disbelief. “Now I find out that I’m not strange. Or at least, there’s loads of other people like me. And it’s not like they’re three-headed monsters or sick perverts. They’re good people. Nice people. And they love tying me up and whipping me.” She paused, uncertain. “It’s just too fucking weird.”
Malcolm reached across the table, taking her hands in his own. “When I was eight or nine, I realized I liked boys in a way that was different than my friends. I got scared. Being called ‘gay’ was a really mean insult in elementary school. By the time I was in middle school, there wasn’t any doubt. I knew I was a homo. Faggot. Queer. And I was sure I was the only one in my school. Ha! Fat fucking chance. At least, I didn’t ever think seriously about killing myself. It didn’t get that bad, but it sure as hell wasn’t a good time.”
He smiled, “Then I explored the Internet. Wow. Gay porn sites. Oh my God! Eighth-grade boys should never be allowed online. Especially with a laptop. Alone. In their room. Ever.”
He gently squeezed her hands and asked, “But what about you? Didn’t you ever Google ‘BDSM’? Read Fifty Shades of Grey? Watch the movies?”
“I was a good Catholic girl, remember? And I hated little mousy submissive girls. How could I be a submissive? God, how the fuck am I a submissive?”
“Ah, Earth to Melissa. You ain’t ‘mousy.’ Not since I’ve known you. And I’m pretty sure that being a ‘submissive’ don’t mean shit about how you live your life outside of the bedroom. Or it doesn’t have to, anyway.” He leaned back a little, looking at her dubiously, “But babycakes, you mean you ain’t never looked up all this BDSM stuff or read any of those books?”
She shook her head, “Not until last weekend.”
“Holy shit. When I got my first boyfriend, we were butt fucking and sucking each other off every moment of every day. Man, when people finally uncork their secret passion, it’s like totally showtime! Overdrive. You must be going crazy sexy right now.” He cocked his head, “You burning that poor man out? I mean, us poor guys can only make so much cum in a day. After that, it’s blue ball city.”
Melissa’s face tinged pink in embarrassment. Malcolm grinned, “Oh do tell. Come on sweet cheeks, come clean. What’re hiding?”
“Ah, he’s had help.”
“Oh Malcolm, I’m so confused.” She turned away, suddenly very embarrassed and afraid.
He squeezed her hands again. “Hey, It’s okay. You can tell me. Remember, I’m a certified sexual deviant. I’m safe.”
She smiled briefly, then took a deep breath. “It’s not just him. There’s this girl… woman… well, two actually… I guess. Oh and there was another guy, sort of, but I think he’s mostly gay…” She quietly wound down into an embarrassed silence.
“My, what a busy little girl you’ve been.”
“But it’s not like I’m a lesbian or anything. I mean, not that being gay is something bad or… I’m sorry. I’m just so fucking confused.”
He looked at her seriously again. Slowly and deliberately, he said, “Hey, you’re still you. Inside. You know, still you. Sure, you’re exploring some wild new stuff. But it’s still you who’s sitting here. My best friend.”
She took a deep breath and let it out. “Thanks. It’s been kinda weird. I guess I needed to hear that.”
He let go of her hands, sat back, and smiled widely. “That’s what Uncle Malcolm’s for. Buck you up. Send you back in there to conquer some more helpless women.”
“Sorry, was that ‘buck you up’ or ‘fuck you up’?”
He laughed, “Either which way.”
She nodded her agreement, “I’ve certainly had more sex in the last few days than I think I had the whole school year. Some of it was really weird. Great, but truly mind-warping stuff.”
“You bet. Besides, who’s the perv? The one who’s listening or the one who’s doing?”
She blushed again, looking down at the table.
He waited, but when she didn’t say anything more, he said, “So like I was saying, when I had had my first boyfriend, God, we were constant fuck monkeys. Total party city. I mean the vaccine for AIDS had just come out the year before and the whole gay scene had gone completely crazy.”
He smiled at the memories, then shook his head sadly, “It wasn’t till a year or so ago that I realized how emotionally overwhelming it had all been. I mean, I don’t care how many people say that being gay is okay or how many countries have gay marriage, it’s still not the norm. Certainly not for a 14-year-old middle school kid. And I was breaking all the rules. Sure, I was loving it and having a boyfriend felt awesome, but it also felt really wrong. I was scared. So I went outrageously out. I pushed it in front of my mom, and she kind of freaked. Then she tried hard to be supportive.
“I did some pretty crazy shit. My boyfriend and I went to some gay pride things. A guy there pulled us into the whole boy-toy scene with a bunch of older men.” Malcolm paused, then continued in a quiet, angrier tone, “All the attention seemed amazing at the time, but there’s a really good reason why pedophilia is illegal. It was… damaging. We were kids, not adults.”
His voice grew very quiet and sad, “My boyfriend got turned onto drugs. He just spiraled out of control. I tried to get help, but…
“I don’t know, Melissa. I’m not sure what I’m trying to say. Traveling the ‘road less taken’ can be a really strange trip. Some stuff is really great, but some shit can be really fucked up. With all the newness, it’s like, you can get so far out of bounds, and maybe so far out of control, that it’s hard to dial in on what you really want or like. I mean, I have a sense that this Erik guy is trying to be careful, but I don’t know. It’s, like, almost inevitable that you’ll go across at least a few lines that you’ll regret afterwards. When I was a kid, and everything turned upside down, it was hard to even know where the lines were, until I was way, way over on the other side. But I was a kid. You’re an adult. Besides, in the end, for me, it all worked out. My boyfriend Jon didn’t do so good, but maybe that’s what was going to happen anyway. Some people are like that with drugs and all.”
Malcolm paused again, then grinned lopsidedly, “But hey, I figured out who I am and what my boundaries are. Well, mostly, unless he’s really, really cute.”
He chuckled and reached out to take her hands again. “I know you. I know you’ll be okay. If you go too far, you’ll figure it out and find your way back. If something bad is holding you there, then I’ll kick ass and come get you.”
Melissa smiled at him, grateful. She thought a moment and asked, “Losing Jon left a scar, didn’t it?”
He answered softly, “Yeah. It healed. Not right away. But I’m an adult now. I can handle the hard stuff. You can too.”
“Thanks. You’re right, Malcolm. I am an adult. But really, thank you… I’m hugely glad you’re my friend. Talking to you helps so much. Cause it’s like what you said, ‘everything feels turned upside down.’”
She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Even without the last few days, I think Erik’s right – I am a submissive. The sad truth is… I love being tied up and played with. Maybe not all the time, but I don’t think that a vanilla lifestyle would cut it anymore. Being spanked and whipped? It’s pretty freaky – liking it, I mean. But I do. I think I do. At least, I sure as hell respond to it. But I don’t think that I’d ever want to be with someone who was heavy into it. That’d get too weird. It’d feel like abuse. I want way more in a relationship.”
She looked off in the distance, unfocused, considering. “Ball gags, they’re not really my thing. Make my jaw ache. But he loves the look, and that sort of makes it worthwhile… least as long as I don’t have to go too long. I don’t know, it’s kind of like wearing high heels. They’re not really comfortable, but I like the way they make me look.
“The pony stuff didn’t really work for either of us, so that’s good. Making out with another girl? I really don’t know how I feel about that yet. I like what it does for the scene and how he reacts. It’s sort of like teasing him, which is kind of cool, cause he isn’t the kind of guy you’d normally tease. And I can get off on making out with a girl, I mean, you know, ah, like, have an orgasm and all. But at some level, it still feels kind of, eww, yuck, gross! I’m not sure that I want to get to a point where I look at another woman and get all hot and bothered. That’s still pretty scary. No… ‘scary’ isn’t the right word. I don’t know. ‘Weird’? At least, I’m just not sure it feels ‘right,’ for me.
“And swallowing down his cum? I’m getting better at not gagging on the taste. But I can’t imagine ever actually liking it. You were right, though, it sure as hell does do something for him. That’s fun. And even though Serena handles it like a porn star, she told me that she thinks the taste is foul too. Of course, she gets paid for liking it. Though I’m getting paid for it too, I guess.”
She looked down at the table, pensive. Then she met his eyes again and asked, “Freaked out?”
He smiled, shaking his head, “Not even the tiniest little bit. I’m… you know… what I really feel is happy and excited for you. You’re on this awesome exploration thing, and it seems like it could be a really important part of you. It’s just really cool to see you tromping through this new territory. In your six inch stilettos.”
She laughed, looking down at her new shoes admiringly. “Aren’t they amazing?” She laughed. “Of course, I don’t have anything in my closet with less than a five inch heel. Oh my God, my ankles are so fucking sore at night… but I do love how I look in heels. And it really turns Erik on. It’s that teasing thing. It gives me a power over him that I really enjoy. Serena really gets off by teasing him, for the same reason.”
“So who’s this Serena?”
“I don’t really know.”
“I mean, she’s kind of a puzzle. I’m pretty sure she’s really smart, but she told me she hated school. I don’t think she ever went to college. I’m not even sure she finished high school. But she’s got midwestern beauty, you know, great cheekbones, blond hair, clear skin. And an amazing body, though she’s not stacked, or anything. She’s definitely from somewhere in the midwest. I get the sense, though, it was from the wrong part of town.”
“Trailer park trash?”
“No, not that either. At least, I don’t think so. But she sure as hell was the ‘bad’ girl in high school. And really big into theater, acting and all. She came out East to be an actress.”
“Nope. Not sure why. Well, maybe I know. It’s like she can’t stand fake people. I guess that’s strange for an actress and all, but she’s got an amazing bullshit detector. She’s just dead-on. So, I get the sense that Hollywood wasn’t her thing.
“Anyway, she came out here. Worked at a Starbucks and just fell into the whole kink scene, somehow or other. Pretty quickly, she figured out she could make a shit load of money. Turns out that lots of rich guys will pay big bucks for a domme.”
“So she’s a dominant?”
“Ha! She’s whatever she wants to be. She swims in kink like it’s a Roman tepidarium. And I think she really likes most of it, but I’m also pretty sure she’s banking almost all the money she makes. She said something about not being able to charge her rates forever. She definitely plans ahead. A lot more than I do, anyway.”
Malcolm grinned, “Yeah, well we’re still irresponsible students. But spill the beans girl, what’s with you and your Midwest chickie?”
“I’m not totally sure. Erik likes her, and they’ve definitely got a history together, but it’s not like it’s any sort of serious boyfriend-girlfriend thing. It’s more like friends with gobs of benefits… or maybe even a trusted employee thing.
“Anyway, Erik hired her to give me massages after my morning workouts, but it’s way more than that. She’s sort of like a guide or mentor or something.”
“I’m sorry, Miss ‘Way Too Entitled.’ Did you just say that you have a personal masseuse, after your dainty little morning workout?”
“Yeah, if you ever had to deal with Mistress Amy’s… motivational techniques, you’d need more than just a masseuse to get it back together. That woman’s a serious sadist.”
“Yeah? Sorry, but you’re still not selling me on the whole ‘poor little Melissa’ deal. But as interested as ‘Mistress Amy’ sounds, let’s not get distracted from what Serena’s doing for you. Or to you?”
“Well, she’s not seriously into girl-girl stuff either, but it seems like everyone in this kink thing just does whatever to whoever. Or, at least, that’s the case for the crew that Erik hangs out with.”
“So, do you all get hot and heavy when Erik’s not around to be an audience?”
“Ah… yeah, kind of. It’s like, you know, just something to do.”
“Just passing the time, huh?”
“Well, if you’re going to be all bitchy about it…”
“Only pointing out: you might be the teensiest bit more willing and interested than you’ve been saying. That’s all.”
“Yeah. Well, that’s what scares me. I mean, what if I’ve really liked women better all along, and that’s been my problem with men? I’m just not sure of who I am anymore.”
“Ha! Much as I enjoy watching you squirm, I’m pretty sure I’m hearing panic now, not reality. I mean, my gaydar is pretty damn good – well admittedly more for guys than women – but still, I can usually sniff out a bent sister from a long way off. And you just don’t have that scent. Not even a little.”
He laughed again, and said, “I think you were a whole lot closer to the truth when you said it was more about the kink than gender. My gut’s telling me that you’re looking for someone who fits your kink, and their gender is secondary.
“Hell girl, the whole year I’ve known you, you’ve been desperately trying to find someone who knows how to push all your buttons just the right way. Up till now, that’s been a terrible mess. It’s been… sad, watching you fuck one stupid-ass piece of crap after another. Bullies. Self-centered assholes. Lordy, what a crock of shit.
“This group that hangs around Erik, on the other hand, it definitely sounds like they know how to scratch your itch. Look at you now. If you were a cat, you’d be purring away. I’ve never seen you this happy… satisfied. So if it takes going down on a woman, or swallowing some cum, or being tied up, or whatever the hell, go for it, girl! I trust you. You’ll figure out what works, where your boundaries are. And if you get in too deep, don’t worry, I’ll be here to get you out.”