Chapter One: Master
Gwen Martins couldn't see through the thick press of cotton against her eyelids. She strained her ears, listening to the silence blanketing her. Was she alone in this place? She couldn’t hear anything aside from the quiet escape of air from her own lips. Not even outside noises. Weren’t there windows?
She knew she was naked, but the room was warm enough to stave off any goose bumps attempting to rise on her skin.
She was facing downward, the pull of gravity sending her thick braid over her shoulder. But maybe she was on her back? The plait purposely positioned, a mental barrier to confuse her?
She flexed her fingers in an attempt to discern her orientation. Smooth wood met the heels of her hands. Her fingertips grazed the metallic chill of chain link climbing upward beyond the several inches of her reach. She sighed, relieved. She was lying on her stomach.
She smelled leather, heavy and tangy in her nose. Thick bands curled against the throbbing pulse in her wrists. Across her forehead and the back of her head.
Another swath on her chin and the nape of her neck.
Against her ribs just beneath her breasts, up and over her back below her shoulder blades.
Across her hips, the small of her back.
Cradling the weight of her mid-thighs, over and under.
Her shins. Her calves.
In her head, she put the pieces of the contraption together. A rectangular wooden frame held up by chain link leads. The leather straps. It was like two medieval hammocks sewn together, keeping her trapped between its nets. She had to smile. The creator of this piece of dungeon-ware was incredibly ingenious.
Had she seen it empty, she would have doubted its purpose. How could something so basic contribute to play? But within its leathery embrace, her naughty, little imagination whirled through the endless possibilities.
She heard a click behind her, followed by a squeaking noise. Someone had opened a door. Soft footfalls crossed the space between them; so quiet she wondered if maybe she had imagined them in her sensory deprivation.
Someone leaned against the mechanism, tilting it slightly. "Do you know why you are here?" The voice was male, deep, and authoritative.
She shook her head, unwilling to speak, subconsciously steeling herself against the seductive octave he was speaking in. She had met too many men like this one, their power and security all a façade. This one would be another little boy trapped in a big man's pubescent body.
He moved beneath her, his mouth a breath away from hers; each slow exhale heated her lips in a cloud of warmth. The movement was so spontaneous - so sudden - that fear gripped her chest. Just how high did he have her hoisted?
He did not have time to lie down and slide under her. Even if he had, she would have heard him do so. She would be able to feel the uniform warmth of his extended body against hers.
Was he standing? Had he taken just one step, maybe two, and tilted his head back to reach her? She fidgeted in her bonds, unsure of the little control she had conceded herself in this situation.
"Do you know who I am?"
She shook her head again, as much as the leather straps would allow. His voice sounded familiar, but none of the faces that passed her mind's eye were this ingenious, this creative. None of them knew the deep, dark desires of her heart.
His tongue brushed against her mouth, tracing the contours with artistic ease. She opened her mouth wider, her own tongue tentatively reaching for his, wanting to touch that wetness, but he pulled away.
She whimpered against her better judgment for his denial. How could he make her want him without a single kiss?
His hands grazed her breasts; his calloused palms kneaded them against her ribcage. Then, painfully, he twisted the aching, erect nipples, tighter and tighter, until she screamed, begging him to stop.
"You will call me ‘Master’," he said, as if the statement were nonnegotiable.
She laughed aloud, the sound escaping her lips. She laughed at his audacity; surely he didn't believe she would just give him that honor? She laughed mostly to cover her growing anticipation. She had never had someone be so forceful with her, so cocksure to even contemplate telling her such a thing.
"You will call me ‘Master’," he reiterated, ignoring her hysterics. "Do you understand?"
He tweaked her tender nipples again, harder this time. Tears welled in her eyes. "Answer me."
"Yes, I understand!"
He held her abused nipple between two fingers. "Yes, what?"
She understood and felt a rush of both gratitude and excitement. If she could concede this, he would rule over her, show her pleasure and pain beyond her wildest imagination. Without her consent, he could go no further. If she said no, he would stop.
That he offered this ‘out’ at all told of his experience. He was playing the game as it was meant to be, within the scene parameters of ‘safe, sane and consensual’. She knew too well that not every dom did.
It was one thing be submissive but another to trust. The experience and firm control in his voice allayed her fears and released her from the emotional bonds that had held her more tightly than the harness. Gwen relaxed, willing to trust him to do what would bring her the most pleasure.
"Yes, Master, I understand."
He rolled her nipple gently between his fingers, soothing the shock to their sensitivity. "Good slave."
He lowered her, the links of the chain clinking musically over the pulleys. She swallowed hard when he first initiated her descent, rushing through the endless feet before he jerked her to a halt. He chuckled as he asked if she was okay. She mumbled her answer, complete with his title, feeling her heart racing in her chest.
But now the pace was steady, the stops not without warning.
"Yes, Master," she said softly, wriggling in the contraption. She heard the sound of metal scraping against the floor, stopping just beyond her head.
"Here are the rules," he said evenly. "If anything I do gets uncomfortable, like the straps or your position, say 'yellow'. If you want me to stop, say 'red'. Either way, we will address the issue. Don't worry that you will disappoint me if you say the safe words. I will be severely disappointed, however, if you don't use them and I end up hurting you.
"Do you understand?"
"Repeat what I said."
She did, almost verbatim, understanding the importance of this discussion, respecting him for it, but she wanted to move on.
He walked the length of her, caressing here, squeezing there. He tested the straps. He spread her ample buttocks, sliding a hand between them.
"You're wet." He wiped his hand on her thigh.
Gwen did not refute it. What would have been the point in an obvious lie? Besides, his words had been a statement, not a question. Shouldn't a good slave only speak when spoken to?
She heard a drawer slide open and his methodical search of its contents. One by one, he placed the instruments atop a metal tray. She counted the metallic thuds. Seven.
Her mind raced. What seven things could he have retrieved? What delights did he have in store for her? Her body moved gently in the sling, aching, anticipating his next move.
Her breath caught in her throat. Her muscles tensed, sending her quivering buttocks as far upward as they were able. But there was no heat, no delicious sting, anywhere on her body. She exhaled slowly, trying to understand.
The sound had been leather. She could swear that it was leather on skin, but still nothing. No painful pleasure rising on her bared backside.
Again, the sound, so crisp and clear, she knew she wasn’t imagining it. And again, her whole body reacted, curving towards the leathery source. And again, nothing.
Her brain worked furiously, her mind filling with images, possibilities. A belt more than likely had created that scintillating sensation rushing through every nerve ending in her body. But if it hadn't touched her...
Ah. Folding the length of leather in her head, it dawned on her. Pavlov. Indeed her assumption of the sound was correct, but her new master had not struck her. He had merely played upon her need, her want, her heated desire, and snapped the belt together in his hands.
Gwen almost screamed in agony at his insistent mental torture. Then a band of flesh burned with heated prickles, and her protests melted into thankful, blissful moans. She wiggled the soft curve of her buttocks, spreading the expanding heat.
He hit her again. And again. And again. The belt left her trembling with decadent pleasure. Each biting blow sent her farther out of reality and into this fantasy where they alone existed.
His aim was perfect, striking her between her leather bonds, catching only flesh on the belt's descent.
She wanted to pour her gratitude from between her parched lips, but he allowed her no opportunity to speak.
She writhed within the embrace of the contraption, trying to reveal unkissed skin that the incredible rush might truly encase her entire being. Her thighs were wet, so wet that she wondered with a touch of embarrassment if she was dripping on the floor.
The belt ceased its incessant biting. Her breathing was shallow, her fingers relaxing from tight fists.
"Here." A thin straw pressed against her lips. She sucked slowly, knowing that if she drank too much too fast, she would cramp up, and the session would have to stop. At long last she let the straw fall from her mouth. Had he held the cup the entire time?
"Yes, thank you, Master," she said with sincerity. "Thank you for everything."
"We aren't done yet," he whispered into one ear, the warm baritone of his voice sending familiar shivers down her spine. Who was he?
She heard the obvious sound of a lighter being flicked on. She could almost smell the lighter fluid on the air, and that meant only one thing in her experience: candles. Gwen shuddered, remembering the last – botched -- attempt at the fine art of melted wax.
He had hurt her, that man, holding the candle too close, pouring the wax against her skin without giving it the space to cool before making contact. She’d worn a painful mark, shiny and pink, on her left breast for the next week, the scar for life. She never played with him again.
Some of the excitement slipped from her body, replaced by nervousness. So far this was the best scene she had ever been involved in, but the man who had hurt her had started out just as intoxicating. She did not want those candles anywhere near her.
"Red." The word left her lips with a soft urgency.
He came to her side in an instant. "What's wrong?"
She wanted to cry, conflicted between taking the chance that he was more adept and the possibility that he was just the same as all the rest. "Candles."
He stood there in silence. Was he disappointed?
The contraption lurched, the chains by her hands rising. Somehow the chains at her feet did the opposite, dropping as the others ascended. She held her breath, unsure of the inexplicable change. She heard a strange, grating sound as she found herself upright, her feet sliding into stirrups at the bottom of the sling.
He touched her face, pulling her braid back, tucking it between her head and one of the leather thongs. With agile fingers, he removed the blindfold.
She blinked, trying to adjust her eyes to the brightness of the room. When the spots stopped appearing, she looked at her master.
"Hello," he said smiling, his green eyes bright with concern. "What's going on?"
"Ben?" she whispered. He was one of her best friend’s ex-boyfriends. Gwen had always thought Janice had been stupid to let him go, but she’d been happy when he’d stuck around their little group after they’d broken up.
He grinned, ear-to-ear, and shrugged. "Never would have guessed it, eh?"
"But," she started to say, but he put a finger to her lips.
"We can talk about all that later. We need to talk about why you stopped the play. What's the deal with candles?"
Gwen didn’t know where to start, still half-ashamed to have let herself get into that situation in the first place. She avoided his eyes, and the question. Ben had on a plain black t-shirt that hugged the broad spread of his shoulders and smooth, well-muscled biceps. Loose-fit jeans covered what she knew, from their trips to the beach, were nice runner legs.
She looked up as he ran one hand through his sandy brown hair. “I…he…” The story spilled from her lips, and she told him about the other man, the previous dom. He frowned as she continued to talk. First his eyes, then his hands, moved toward the offended breast. He rubbed the surface, finding the pale, puckered skin.
"Bastard." His frown tightened, and when he looked up at her again, his eyes so sad, she started to cry. “Baby, I would never hurt you.” His words touched her like a healing salve, but she couldn’t stop the tears, her body shaking the sling until the chains chinked above her.
Ben stepped to her right and began to unfasten the clamps holding her upright. Her heart sank into the pit of her stomach.
“Just give me a few minutes,” she said, as her sobs subsided. “Then we can…”
“No,” he interrupted. He slipped his hands beneath her armpits, and with one gentle motion, he lifted her up and out of the harness. She felt helpless in his grasp, a child trapped in a woman’s body. He sat down on the floor, draping her across his lap, one arm protectively around her waist. His other hand drifted to her face, and he brushed away the hair that had strayed from her braid.
“I won’t have my slave suffer at my hand,” he whispered, tilting her chin up so their eyes met, “because of some asshole. No, we’ll work through this, and we’ll play another day.”
She burst into tears again. He pulled her to his chest, and she cried her heart out.
They spent that night together, just talking in his bed. They discussed her limits and their respective likes and dislikes, among other things.
The next morning he awakened her with breakfast in bed: a big bowl of Cocoa Puffs and a teapot filled with chamomile tea. Ben sat on the edge of the bed while she ate, his hand stroking her calf through the bedclothes.
“Who will you tell?” he asked. He dropped his eyes.
She smiled at this unusual display. Ben feared no one, ever confident and secure, yet here he was, acting like a shy schoolboy. “I’ll have to tell Janice. I was supposed to have plans with her last night until I was ‘kidnapped’.”
“She knows.” He didn’t lift his eyes.
“How else do you think they knew you’d be home?”
Gwen admitted she had been unsure how the entire ‘kidnapping’ had been arranged. One of her deepest, darkest sub fantasies, she had only told a select few in embarrassed, usually drunken, moments.
She had been in her bedroom in bra and thong, trying to figure out what to wear to go out clubbing with her best friend, when the door had burst open and a half dozen masked people poured in. Modesty tossed to the wind, she’d screamed and started throwing the nearest accessible item: her shoe collection.
She had a few friends she needed to apologize to; she had gotten in a few good throws before they dog piled on top of her.
They’d said nothing as two of them pinned her stomach-down on the carpet. Her arms were yanked behind her, her head lifted, and she had found herself bound, blindfolded and gagged in seconds. The satiny duvet from her bed had been wrapped around her, and she had almost wiggled away using the slick surface and her toes to propel her forward.
She had fought them for every inch, even when they’d picked her up like a human burrito.
“Dammit, woman,” one of the voices had cursed as he’d grabbed a handful of her hair and jerked up.
“He wants you in one piece. Don’t make me have to hurt you now. You’re not worth the punishment.”
Her curiosity had gotten the better of her, and she’d stopped struggling. They had carried her out of her apartment and into a waiting vehicle. She’d tried to keep track of the turns and stops, but she’d actually fallen asleep. Had there been something in the gag?
“She told you.” She didn’t even bother making it a question.
A small smile crept to his lips, and he rolled his eyes up to look at her without moving his head.
“Rob, Gavin, Melissa, Paul, and Thomas,” he said, counting off the majority of their friends on one outstretched hand.
She laughed, hard enough she almost knocked over the tray he’d brought her, and fell back in the pillow. “I guess the question now is which of them is going to want details?”
“Doesn’t matter.” Ben leaned forward and planted a soft kiss on her mouth. “No details allowed. Master’s orders.”
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