“Apparently my understanding of what BDSM is is quite limited,” I whisper to Gina.
She leans into me and keeps watching. “How so?”
“How is this... hot?”
“You know how I love Sriracha on my waffles and you like bacon in your muffins like a lunatic?”
“Same thing. This”—she motions to the trio—“is downright euphoric to some people.”
Immediately I recall a time when I was a snobbish young woman with the most uptight family you could possibly imagine practising the most ridiculous conservative family virtues. We weren't even that well off—just acted like it so no one could shame us against our will. Anyway, my parents would take my brother and I to concerts. Not anything “normal,” but stuff you'd expect rich grandparents to go to instead. Orchestras, choirs, string quartets, operas, ballets... ever since I was six, I'd practically been a season ticket holder at the Auditorium. One of the last times I went we saw a tribute to Mozart. This man with olive skin and thick black curls walked onto the stage to open the concert. Something about the way he moved was inconspicuous, yet somehow omnipresent. When he sat down at the bench, he sat bolt upright. And when his fingers touched the keys....
I spent years fantasizing about him—usually it was him playing for me before lying me down on top of the piano before stroking his long, delicate fingers all over my skin. I never shared that with anyone, because the more I thought about it, the more bizarre it seemed to me. Eventually I convinced myself it was just downright mental; I was turned on beyond reason by watching someone play “Moonlight Sonata.”
So this girl being tied into a harness... made sense on some level, I guess.
“It's certainly impressive,” I comment.
“Just wait 'til they finish,” Gina says. “Though that might take another fifteen minutes.”
“Yeah. Let's go exploring.”
We walk down the opposite side of the aisle to see what's available. There is a woman bound in a cage, her wrists and ankles pulled wide by leather straps. Someone dressed in a black leather bodysuit is flogging her with a riding crop, and even though she's crying out with each hit, she looks like she's having an out-of-body experience. I duck my head and just listen, surprised to realize I find it somewhat alluring.
When I look up I catch a glimpse of a girl tied to a chair with her ankles bound to the legs and her wrists pulled back behind her head. There's a man with shaggy black hair and beard running a steel brush gently over her skin. I do a double take and stare.
“What?” Gina asks, once I stall in the aisle and she bumps into me stiffly.
I try to look away—I feel inappropriate staring at him—but I just keep watching, disbelieving of what I'm actually seeing.
Gina nudges me. “Kit?”
“That's the guy,” I say, motioning to him.
“The... guy.” Gina looks at him, and I can practically hear the click when she realizes. “Oh.”
I had worked in that pub where I met Gina for six years. It originally was going to be a full-time job for a year before I went back to college, but years later went by in what felt like a few months and I found myself still scrambling for tuition. Anyway... since before my time there, there was a customer who sat in the back corner every Saturday night. He would order one beer, nurse it all night, and leave just before last call. Never brought anyone, never talked to anyone, never let anyone in.
His hair was always shaggy, like he either didn't care or knew it had a messy charm to it. Which it did. And his beard looked neat and frazzled at the same time, like he trimmed it but intentionally made it stick in all directions. His eyes were shrouded under his hair most of the time, but when you could see them... they looked tired. Young and tired. Like he was the oldest thirty year old in the world or something. I wondered about his past—maybe he had some sort of condition, like bipolar or Asperger's, and coming to the pub was his constant. Maybe he was a hopelessly romantic writer who came to Lucky Larry's for inspiration. Maybe... he was alone. Without friends, family. A widower.
I don't know if it's a mysterious man complex I have... I mean, I've been in relationships before, I know how to talk to people... but I never knew how to get close to him. I tried. It never ended well.
Despite that, I've been holding onto my fascination of him for the longest time.
Gina grabs my arm but doesn't say anything. I look away finally, turning into her shoulder. “Did you know he comes here?”
Gina looks like she's preparing a lie, and the expression on her face is alien to her. “No, I... see... yeah.”
“Is that why you've been trying to get me to come forever?”
She shuffles her feet and looks away. Even though there's guilt in her eyes, a sly smile sneaks onto her lips. “Maybe.”
I get this sinking feeling in my chest. “Shit.”
“What's there to be scared about?” she asks.
My fingers tingle and I shake them out a bit. “This just changes the game plan a bit.”
She blows a quiet raspberry. “You never had a game plan, beautiful. I just made it for you.”
“That's what I'm nervous about.”
“They're not gonna notice you from here,” she says, nodding in their direction. “Looks pretty hot. Why not watch awhile?”
I'm about to tell her off when she grabs my shoulders and slowly eases me around. There's still this feeling I get that's desperately telling me to look away, but with each detail I pick up, the more intrigued I become.
The naked girl that's tied up so thoroughly to the chair looks to be only a few years older than me. She has pale skin, very blonde hair, and the biggest breasts I've seen on a girl with such a small frame. She's a bit thicker but very curvy, and she has such a beautiful face that I can't help but keep coming back to. The expression she's wearing.... She shudders as he traces the steel brush over her cheek. That's when my attention is drawn to him and I nearly forget that she's there.
There was always this same expression on his face when he was at the pub. A bit withdrawn, bored maybe, but mostly something like... melancholy. It's the same as it is now, but there's something else there. He looks intent. In control. As he lets the brush travel up her arm, over her elbow and down again, he leans his head on top of hers, and I see his lips part just a bit.
The blonde arches her back as the brush traces the side of her bust, and that's when the room around me stops existing. I can hear her breathing heavily, and I can hear the sound the brush makes as it travels across her stomach. But him—he's silent. His eyes follow the brush as he runs it along her inner thigh, and the girl arches again as it slides up the other leg. A small moan escapes her. When I swallow, my throat is bone-dry.
I try to shake myself out of it and I grab my arms to hold myself together. My skin feels cold, but inside I feel hot; I'm starting to sweat a little on my lower back. I notice my knees wobble a bit when I shift my stance. For about ten seconds I forget where I am. When he removes the steel brush from his girl and puts it back in a bag at his feet, I realize that I'd been imagining the brush running over my skin where he scraped at hers, and I'm left with this tingling sensation where I want to feel it again.
There's this dawning realization that I've been practically steeped into this community overbearingly fast and managed to find myself liking it so much that I was lost in a trance. I look around to Gina to tell her about it when I finally notice she's left me.
Don't panic, I try to tell myself, but inevitably I'm fretting like I'm on a sinking boat with no life raft. I turn to try and find her, but not a spot of hot pink is to be seen in the crowd. Part of me wants to go, but most of me is petrified of moving for some reason.
As I turn to see if she'll conveniently reappear somewhere further up the queue, I catch a glimpse of him retying the girl's hands behind her back. When he resurfaces he's rubbing his hands together, and I can see something shiny in his palms. He stands behind the chair, leans forward and gently runs his hands under her jaw, and as he slides over her shoulders, I see the oil stains gleam in the blue and purple lights. The girl tilts her head over the backrest, looking up at him with such... longing. He leans down and places a feathery kiss on her lips.
I can see her tongue slide over his as he gently pinches and pulls her breasts. She shifts in her seat, and when her legs part just a bit further, I see a gleam from between her lips. I clench, feeling that I'm just as wet. He lets go of her and trails his hands over her stomach and onto her thighs, gently squeezing the inside and pulling up; she breaks the kiss and gasps against him. Just as I'm thinking I'll lose my self-propriety if I stick around any longer he crouches down, resting his chin on her shoulder, slips his hands between her legs... and looks up right into my eyes.