At the club, I watched him rig up some rope and a steel bar among the exposed beams.

“That’s for you,” he said.

The contraption left my body free for him to circle and flog in all different directions.

He held a rose before my mouth and told me to bite down on the stem.

Most of the flogging was frontal this time. Since I wasn’t blindfolded, I could see the people watching us, but soon they didn’t matter to me.

Afterward, he guided me to my knees and kneeled alongside me, then held me by the neck and bent me nearly backward. My body was so warm and flexible, he had total control.

The position allowed him to assess the marks on the tops of my breasts and on my belly. I know we made a beautiful shape together, too – we usually received many compliments. I have also seen him with others. He knows what looks beautiful – it is part of his job.

None of that mattered right then, though. At that moment, someone could have killed me and I would not have minded.

I spent the rest of the evening tracing the rose all over my skin.

wanting and waiting

He told me to bend over his bed, chest down. I waited like that while he worked at his computer.

I tried to be patient. To not shift or sigh. To breathe naturally, as if I could do this all night, every night.

I hated waiting and wanting as much as I loved it. I respected it for this.

Finally, he spanked me.

I had to cling to the sheets. I was no good at holding position or at being quiet.

Afterward, my body was warm, my limbs loose with the rush, my head light.

He laughed at me for being in la-la-land and went back to work on his computer.

Saturday night

Any other Saturday night at the club, watching the dancers could lure me into a trance. But not tonight. I was too distracted.

At first I tried not to look at him, taking refuge in my friend instead.

When the night slowed down, he finally sat down next to me and sighed. “You haven’t said hello.”

I leaned in closer. “Hello.”

He slid his hand into my hair, grabbed a fistful near the base of my neck, and guided my head until my upper body was stretched out across his lap.

“Hi, how are you?” He asked my friend, another submissive who nervously responded that he was fine.

I gently bit his arm – I couldn’t help it.

Without a word, he yanked me up and went back to running the room.

I felt like I had taken a hit.

When he returned, he was holding a blindfold. In minutes, my wrists were cuffed and secured to the cross.

The dark eased my mind open.

I plunged fast.

My head emptied of everything except

     the music     always the music
the waiting          waiting for the moments when he would come close
     his voice when he did
          the pressure of him
the absence
                    the warm promise of a hand
     a press
               the sting          and stroke

He thwacked the cross around me – once, twice, more – bringing me back. The sound made me gasp.

Or yelp. Or whimper. I don’t know which. All three.

He slapped my face, drizzled water into my mouth, and untied the blindfold.

I didn’t open my eyes for awhile. When I finally blinked, all of these people were looking at me.

He loved an audience.

My hair was in my face. I tried to force half a smile. I wanted to please him.

It will hurt when he tires of me.

It’s just play it’s just play it’s just play is so hard to remember.