Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Just Friends: Chapter 3

Previous Chapters: One | Two |

Chapter Three: The Black Rose's Abandon

Janice watched Gwen pull up into the parking lot at the Macaroni Grill, one of their favorite haunts. Good food, cute waiters, and they gave out little plastic cups of crayons to draw on the butcher paper they used as tablecloths. She and Gwen had left some, ahem, inspirational messages – explicit stick people and naughty snippets of poetry – along with a very generous tip.
Janice had dated one of the guys for a few weeks, and one night, in a fit of giggles, she’d informed Gwen that they had their own wall in the employee break room, just for their contributions. It made return visits interesting for a while.
She pushed the ‘call’ button on her cell phone once Gwen pulled the front door open. Janice watched as she snagged it out of her purse, looked at the display, and accepted the call. “Woman, I know you can see me from wherever you’re sitting inside.”
Janice laughed. “Actually, amazingly, I can’t. I’m not there yet. I was calling to make sure we were still on, though…” She drew out the last word with a little lilt at the end.
“Though?” Gwen asked as she disappeared from Janice‘s view into the restaurant. “Hold on, how close are you?”
“About five minutes. You?”
“I’m inside. I’m getting a table. You want tea?”
“What do you think?” Janice made a kissing sound into the phone. “See you soon, hon.”
“Bye, sweetie.” Gwen hung up.
The blonde tossed her phone on the passenger side seat and glanced at her watch. She’d said five minutes. If she showed up right now, Gwen would be suspicious, though there was the possibility that last night’s activities had worn her out.
Janice frowned. Was the chance to walk Ben around his house on a leash enough of a return for giving him access to Gwen? She kicked the floorboards. Should’ve kept my damned mouth shut. It had turned into “Let’s pick on Janice” night, and between the alcohol and their stinging barbs, she’d had enough. But the alcohol made her stupid, and the secret she’d kept for so long had just spilled out.
When Paul had suggested the bet, she’d bit her tongue. If she’d balked then, any respect she held in that group would have been lost. The thought had scared her. Those people were her friends, had been for almost a decade. They were the only people who accepted her for who she was. Even if they didn’t like what she did sometimes, she knew they still liked her.
So she’d agreed, channeling her fear into anger towards Ben. Once they had shaken hands, Janice had no intention of losing.
Getting Gwen’s consent had been easy, though, much to Janice’s dismay, not as easy as she thought it would be. She’d waited until Tuesday to call and invited her out for a night of fun, on the grounds that Gwen needed a post-parental distraction. The other woman had agreed with an exhausted sigh.
Janice had never had much interest in shorter women -- they tended toward ‘cute’, and she loved good eye candy -- but when Gwen opened the front door, she was taken aback. Normally, her best friend dressed up, but it always bordered on sweet, softly feminine: frilly skirts, angel-sleeved blouses, comfortable flats and nonexistent makeup. And to not outshine Gwen, Janice had started dressing more conservatively.
Tonight, Gwen’s long hair had been pulled up, shiny brown curls spilling from a conservative, sequined hair doodad on the top of her head. Her makeup was natural, almost invisible, except for the crimson lipstick she’d chosen.
It matched her blouse, the same deep red with plunging neckline, clung precariously to her shoulders, as if one shrug would send the fabric to her elbows. She had to be wearing an adhesive bra, something that would provide some support to her breasts but remain unseen against her top.
To complement the shirt, Gwen had chosen one of Janice’s personal favorites: a black leather mini-skirt. A thick, silver chain ran at an angle from the waist with a pair of thumb cuffs, one end dangling from a belt loop as the other held the belt secure. She wore knee-high, black leather boots over a pair of fishnet thigh-highs, the tops barely visible beneath the skirt’s hem.
Her best friend was gorgeous, something Janice had never honestly considered a possibility before. So, this is what Ben sees. The thought didn’t sit well with her. She’d always been the looks. Gwen just…was.
Her inner conflict must have shown on her face, because Gwen blanched. “What?”
Janice laughed. “Nothing. You just look damn sexy, Gwen. I feel underdressed,” she said, gesturing to her own business suit-like ensemble: a cream silk tank top under a royal blue jacket and matching mini-skirt.
The other woman blushed at the compliment. “You said we were going to The Black Rose. So I dressed up a little.”
“A little?” Janice rolled her eyes. “You’re walking into one of the best premier BSDM clubs in Baltimore looking like an expensive dessert from their restaurant. Woe be to any dom who thinks they are worthy.” She extended a hand. “Come on, you sexy thang. Let’s go make some men drool.”
The line outside The Black Rose wrapped around the block. The first level of the club catered to the more mundane partygoers, giving them several options -- trance, hip-hop, rap, country, techno and dance -- to sate their midweek appetites.
The second floor housed a five-star restaurant, Halo. Reservations were scarce. The menu didn’t list their prices, and the wine list was the envy of every other restaurant within five hundred miles. To reach Black Rose’s Abandon, you had to have a special invitation, be a regular, or come as a guest with one.
Janice had been given an invitation a few years ago, and she’d brought Gwen shortly after her best friend had moved to Baltimore. Her interest had fascinated Janice. She knew Gwen wasn’t completely new to the scene, but the small, shy girl she’d known in high school would’ve run screaming from the exhibitionists on the third floor.
It had been wicked fun to have Gwen watching in earnest as she’d made out with her boyfriends, but when she’d had sweet, little Gwen take notes -- notes! -- as she paddled the naked ass of her conquest of the week, Janice had experienced the most incredible rush. There was more than one reason they were still friends.
Together, they walked past the line and straight upstairs to Halo.
“Roman,” Janice said to the topless bouncer standing beside the elevator doors, the only access point to Abandon. The Rose’s owners knew good eye candy when they hired it. She stood on her tiptoes, one hand touching his broad shoulders, and kissed him on the cheek.
He grabbed a handful of Janice’s ass as she moved away. “Janice. A new look for you, Gwen.” Her best friend just smiled. He pushed a button behind him, and the elevator doors hummed open. He ushered them inside, giving Gwen a wink as the doors slid closed.
“I think he approved of the outfit,” Gwen said.
Indeed. Janice faked a grin. “Yeah, well, I told you that you looked hot as hell. When have I ever steered you wrong?” The doors opened again, and drawing Gwen closer, Janice stepped out of the elevator.
The first time she’d brought Gwen here, her friend had whispered, “Are you sure we’re in the right place?” She’d assured her that they were, but Janice understood why she would think that. The elevator led to a large lobby. There were two bars, one on each side of the room, and a handful of tables covered in fine linen.
Most of the patrons were dressed up, like they were attending a semi-formal charity ball. Leather abounded in different lengths, textures and colors.
She steered Gwen through the crowd with a few polite words to those she knew and nods to other familiar faces. There was an exhibition tonight she wanted them to see, and it was supposed to start soon.
When she’d called earlier to check on the night’s available activities, she’d been surprised to hear the manager say that they were doing a whole new series on submissive fantasies. An easy lead-in for the conversation she needed to have with Gwen.
“Gwen?” a familiar voice rumbled as they entered the main auditorium. Janice turned with Gwen. Shit.
Gwen pulled out of Janice’s grasp. “Rob? What are you doing here?”
He shrugged with a silly grin. “What’re you talking about? What are you doing here? Didn’t Janice tell you that I played, too?”
Janice glared at him over Gwen’s shoulder. “No, it must have slipped my mind. It’s not like you play often, Rob.”
He waggled his eyebrows at her and returned his attention back to Gwen. “So where have you been hiding this hottie?” He took Gwen’s hand and spun her around.
Gwen giggled. “You’re looking pretty hot yourself.” She traced the soft line of his bicep through the fine mesh fishnet shirt he wore over tight black leather pants. He’d slicked his sandy blonde hair back against his head, and the lack of his usual bangs made his brown eyes brighter. Janice approved of the look.
It occurred to Janice, as Gwen continued to preen in front of Rob, that her girl friend might not be as submissive as she’d thought. Gwen didn‘t drop her eyes when faced with a potential threat. Worse, she seemed to take his attention as an invitation to move closer and touch him in more intimate ways, her finger slipping beneath his sleeve. A little too close for Janice’s tastes.
And Rob wasn’t exactly a model sub. Maybe it was Ben’s influence -- she’d always considered Rob to be his lapdog -- but she knew from experience that he bucked at any show of dominance, challenging the dom at every turn and open opportunity. No amount of discipline would curb his smart ass antics.
Janice grabbed her other hand and pulled her away from Rob. He held onto her hand. Gwen gave them both a puzzled look, but Janice didn’t let go. “Come on, Gwen. We need to find some good seats. I think you’ll like this one.”
“Can I tag along?”
Before Janice could protest, Gwen said, “Sure, why not? Why don‘t you two go find seats? I need to go to the ladies’ room.” She gave Janice a kiss on the cheek, and when she went to hug Rob, he slid his hands down her back and made exaggerated moaning noises. She laughed and hit him on the head with her clutch. He released her with a pout that quickly turned into laughter as she batted at him once more before disappearing into the gathering throng.
Rob draped an arm over Janice’s shoulders. “Yeah, let’s go find seats.”
“Why are you here?” Janice asked as she shrugged off his arm. She rounded on him, arms crossed beneath her breasts. “You haven’t been to Abandon in months. Why the sudden interest?”
“The only reason -- come on, seats are filling up,” he said. He waited for her to make the next move.
Janice sighed and started down the aisle. “This doesn’t get you out of answering my question.”
“I wouldn’t dream of it.” He followed her until they came to a nice row in the center front of the auditorium. As they settled in their seats, he continued. “Ben insisted that there be a witness to the consent with the whole, you know, illegal taping laws here.”
“Ben doesn’t trust me.”
Rob leaned back in his chair, his hands laced together behind his neck. “Big surprise there. I knew you’d be here, because you told Mel. She told Thomas, and well, after Ben heard about it, he insisted that one of us go. Other than you and Ben, I’m the only one with access to Abandon, so here I am.”
Janice removed her jacket and draped it across her legs. As she smoothed out the fabric, she said, “Keep your hands off her.”
“If she tells me to,” he replied with a grin she didn’t like. Was he implying that Gwen wasn’t hers?
“You know, you can back out of this bet anytime you want to, Janice. We’re not going to think less of you, and,” he paused and placed one hand on her thigh, “I think you’d look good in a collar, oh, Mistress.”
Janice pushed his hand off. “Not a chance in hell. You tell Ben to go with Mel to get the collar fitted. I want him to be comf…”
Rob interrupted her, clearing his throat. “Hi, Gwen.”
Janice turned around. “Hi, sweetie, that didn’t take very long.”
“Everyone was clearing out to get a good seat. Submissive Fantasies 101, eh?” She winked at Janice. “Let me sit between you.”
“Sounds good to me.” Rob smirked. “Janice?”
“Sure. Why not.” She stood up and gave Gwen her seat.
Rob offered Gwen a hand as she moved closer. “Don’t you stand when there’s a lady present?” She teased, grinning shyly.
His eyes widened, and he stole a glance at Janice before he stood up. “What was I thinking? Many humble apologies,” he said, bowing to her as she sat down. “How can I make it up to you?” He retook his seat, his attention all for her.
Gwen laughed, and the sound grated in Janice’s ears. “I didn’t take you for a sub, Rob.”
He laughed and rested a hand on Gwen’s thigh. “Oh, I’m a sub through and through. You?”
Janice watched as Gwen ran a hand over Rob’s knuckles. “I think I’m a sub. More fun, don’t you think? I’d much rather be tortured than have to do the torturing.”
Rob glanced over her shoulder, catching Janice’s eye as the house lights went down. “It’s all about control.”
A tall woman strode across the stage in a slinky green gown to roaring applause.
“That’s Mistress Eva,” Janice whispered into Gwen’s ear. “She hasn’t taught a seminar in years. This is a real treat.”
“Then I should thank you for bringing me,” Gwen replied before Rob tugged on her sleeve. She turned toward him, leaning forward until her forehead touched his shoulder, one hand drawing on his leather-clad leg. He whispered something in her ear, his eyes twinkling mischievously at Janice.
Janice prickled at her wording. She knew that Gwen meant it sincerely, so why did she suddenly feel like the other woman was being sarcastic? She shook the thought out of her head. Rob’s sudden appearance was throwing her off her game.
Mistress Eva motioned for quiet. “Are there any doms in the house tonight?” The auditorium broke out in more rancorous applause. “Are there any subs?”
Gwen and Rob howled along with the others. Mistress Eva frowned. “Did you ask for permission before you answered?” The room grew quiet with an occasional chuckle, Janice among them, and Eva laughed. “Just kidding! Good subbies always answer when spoken to, right, boys and girls?”
She motioned off-stage, and a dozen leather-clad men appeared, carrying various pieces of dungeon furniture. “Tonight, Abandon is pleased to present Submissive Fantasies 101. To be part of our family, you need to have an active imagination, but sometimes even the most submissive slave can feel that their fantasies are too goofy, too left field for even the most open-minded master or mistress.
“So I’m going to save them the embarrassment and share some of the fantasies I’ve received via our website. Wesley!”
A well-muscled black man crawled to her from stage right. At first Janice thought he was naked, but as he moved in front of his mistress, she saw a thin strip of fabric a shade darker than his skin running between his smooth buttocks.
“God, he’s beautiful,” she heard Gwen whisper beside her. She looked as her friend ran her tongue over her bottom lip. Rob winked. He trailed his fingers down Gwen’s back, and the woman shivered, curling her back as she leaned forward to allow him better access. Janice fought the urge to slap his hand away. He was fucking with her head.
“Wesley, my own personal Dread Pirate Roberts, is going to help demonstrate our first scene. Stand, slave.” He complied. She turned him around. “Remind me what this scene’s called, boy.”
“’Petticoat Junction‘, Mistress Eva.”
“Well, well, well, I’m not exactly dressed for that, now am I?” she asked the audience. Clapping her hands together, she called out, “Lydia, Marie.” Two women entered stage left, a large skirt held between them and the audience. They walked over to Eva, and dropping the skirt to her waist, Janice saw that they were dressed similarly to Wesley.
Mistress Eva patted them on the head and tweaked a nipple each after they tied the skirt on. “Good girls. You‘re dismissed.”
“The circle of play resides within the hem of this hoop skirt. Where’s my whip?” A half-dozen men and women streamed onto the stage, surrounding the mistress in various positions of submission, with a variety of whips and floggers held into the air. “Damn, it’s good to be me,” she said over their heads to the audience.
One by one, she dismissed the slaves, sometimes with just a touch, others with a firm slap across a bared breast or ass. After a few titillating moments, only a petite redhead remained with a long, firm length of a horse’s crop held aloft in her hand. Her pale back faced the audience, a human vase holding a delicately-arranged bouquet of curls.
“Ah, Adora, thank you, my precious.” Eva slipped the crop out of the woman’s grasp. Janice felt Gwen stiffen, a small sound escaping her lips, as the mistress brought the leather down against Adora’s back. A collective sigh rose once the skin reddened, a long welt brightening along her skin.
“You okay?” she heard Rob whisper.
Gwen nodded, biting her bottom lip. “Oh, yes. I like a little leather.”
Rob drew closer to her, his head rubbing along Gwen’s shoulder, one hand sliding down her thigh until his fingers brushed the exposed edge of her stockings. He raised his eyes, as if waiting for disapproval that never came. Instead she returned his gesture. Eyes still riveted on the stage, she caressed his head with her own. Then she reached up, touching the edge of his ear and down his cheek. He pulled back slowly and shot Janice a look of confusion.
She grimaced. Everything that happened tonight would get reported back to Ben. Dammit. Janice could almost see the gears turning in his head. Gwen’s smooth transition from verbal dom to physical sub were sending mixed signals. If she were really Janice’s sub, then she wouldn’t even attempt to be dominant to Rob. Dammit, dammit, dammit!
She tapped Gwen on the shoulder, and soft doe eyes met hers. “Pay attention. We’re here to learn, remember? Not to play with our friends.”
Gwen’s smirk widened into a silly grin. “Sorry, Mommy.” She pushed Rob’s thigh and with a finger to her lips, she shushed him. Motioning him closer, she whispered in his ear, and they both broke out in quiet giggles. But once they caught Janice staring at them, they both sat up straight, giving the mistress onstage their undivided attention.
The redhead crawled off stage, and Mistress Eva raised her skirts. “Wesley.” He moved beneath the fabric until only his toes were visible along the hem. “This, my fellow doms, is an exercise in movement.” She twitched, and as suddenly as she had used it before, she snapped the crop against the front of the skirt. An audible moan issued from within, and Eva just smiled. “Bad boy.”
She shifted, and his toes disappeared. “As I was saying before I was interrupted, this is an exercise in movement. Simply move,” she took a step to her left, exposing a clean line of his calf, “and if they don’t follow, staying within the skirt, punish them.” She cracked the crop again, its stiff tip biting across his calf as he sought to hide again.
Amidst cheers, she led Wesley along the width of the stage. He’s good, Janice thought as he managed to stay hidden. Eva caught him several times, and when she was done, she tapped the skirt, lifting it, and he reappeared, his small thong pulled tight by his erection.
“Stand, boy,” she ordered. Wesley did as he was bid, his body visibly trembling as she ran the crop down his chest. With a pleased smile, she kissed him on the cheek, her free hand grabbing his member. He licked his lips, and when she pointed off stage, he went.
“God, she can fuckin’ top me anytime she wants,” Rob moaned.
"Wonder if she has a brother?" Gwen teased. "Then we could double-play"
His eyes widened, and his jaw dropped. Fuck me! he mouthed to Janice behind Gwen’s back as the brunette whistled her appreciation towards the stage.
She shifted uncomfortably in her seat. The night was going seriously downhill. She considered welching on the bet, but she didn’t think she would ever live it down.
No matter how the bet went down, she’d lose Gwen to the group. Rob would tell the guys, but what? That Gwen was a sub? A dom? A good giggle buddy? And what then? What would they say? She’d done a great deal to cultivate the idea that Gwen was some sophisticated, fragile flower. Her own stupidity had quashed most of that, but could she salvage the rest?
Janice clenched big fistfuls of her jacket. This wasn’t turning out right at all. She was being paranoid. Gwen had been her friend first and forever. Nothing would change, not really. Not if she could help it.
“A big round of applause for Wesley!”
The crowd roared.
Mistress Eva curtsied. Then she clapped her hands twice, and a flurry of human bodies flooded the stage. The two women, Lydia and Marie, reappeared and removed the skirt. Furniture was rearranged, and the people took various positions over them.
“Now we started with something small, yes? That was only an hors d’oeuvre. May I present the main course?” She motioned in a semi-circle behind her. The light on the stage faded, and a single spotlight appeared over a woman standing naked with a bowl of fruit in one hand and a long, thin box in the other.
Mistress Eva stepped into the circle. Using the crop, she lifted the woman’s chin. “Fantasy?”
“’Summer’s Fruit’, Mistress.”
Eva grinned. “Ah, a simple favorite. We are going to do a little precautionary wrapping -- wouldn’t want the fruit to go bad before we’re ready to eat it -- and we’ll be on our way.” She snapped her fingers, and a dark arm reached out from the shadows to the slave’s left and plucked the box out of her hand.
“Wesley,” Janice murmured, happy to see the man moving into the light. She agreed with Gwen’s earlier assessment. He was a beautiful man. Still wearing only the thong, he proceeded to display the box for the audience.
“Oh, Saran Wrap,” Rob chuckled. Janice looked at him, but he wasn’t paying attention to her. He had one arm draped over Gwen’s shoulders, playing with the curls on her shoulder. Janice frowned. Just ignore it. She looked back to the stage.
Wesley had pulled the roll out of the box and, starting on the woman’s left arm, begun to wrap it around her back. As he walked around her, another slave stepped in, taking the fruit out of her hand; he knelt beside the mistress with the bowl on his head, held steady with one hand. The female slave kept her arm up, waiting until Mistress Eva tapped it with the crop. Then she lowered it.
“As you can see, our little subbie, Diana, is going to be properly packaged for me,” Eva said. She picked two small, dark fruits from the bowl. “Wesley.”
He took them from her and pulling the plastic wrap across Diana, he positioned one over each nipple, securing them to the woman with another revolution of the roll. He came around her, covering her a little lower until her torso was encased in the shiny film.
“I’ve done this,” Janice heard Gwen whisper. “It’s a lot of fun.” Her friend pulled away from Rob, and cupping her hand over an ear, she said, “This is something I forgot to tell you that Marshall showed me.”
Janice raised a brow. It had been a while since that name had been brought up. “Marshall?”
Gwen waved it off with a giggle. “I’ll tell you later.” She cozied up to Rob again, and Janice could see her left hand walking up one his thighs and disappear out of her sight. Rob tugged gently at the back of Gwen’s blouse and tucked his fingers into her waist band.
Gwen shifted, and Janice smiled. He’d crossed the line. But her grin faded as Gwen took his hand and moved it around her waist, half his hand disappearing under her shirt.
Janice flicked his hand, and he looked at her. She shook her head, pointing at his hand. He pulled his hand out enough to flip her off, and with a smirk, he slid it back in further, until Janice couldn’t see his knuckles. She forced herself to ignore him, unwilling to take the bait.
A loud snap grabbed her attention, and as she looked back at the scene on the stage, she saw that Wesley had dropped the roll. Mistress Eva shook her head, flicked the crop again, and the sound made Janice jump. His skin was too dark to see the welt, but as he bent down to retrieve the plastic wrap, she saw that he was erect again.
Wesley finished mummifying Diana in the plastic wrap under Mistress Eva‘s watchful eye. A large, bright green apple sat suspended within the layers between the slave’s thighs, just below her crotch. He ripped the film from the roll, handed it to the fruit bowl slave who disappeared into the shadows, and smoothed his handiwork.
Then he went and knelt before Mistress Eva. “As you can see,” she said, ignoring him as she moved toward Diana. “She has been completely covered. Our Diana does not like having her head covered, and as a caring domme, I’ve not required it. If you do, please remember to allow openings for the nose and mouth. Never, ever put anything bigger than a ball gag in their mouth when performing this exercise.
“Now, I know those of you who aren’t familiar with this fantasy are wondering, where’s the fun? Wesley, scissors.” He reached into the darkness, and Janice saw the shadow of a person pass him a pair of shiny silver scissors. He crawled on his knees over to the mistress and offered them to her.
“This is a cocoon experience, ladies and gents,” Eva said as she plucked the scissors off his open palms. “To enjoy the fruits of your labor, you must awaken the patient butterfly.” She tapped the scissors against her chin. “Let’s see…Wesley, do you like plums?”
“Yes, Mistress.”
“I bet you have nice plums,” Rob whispered. His hand moved higher, and Janice could see a long line of bared skin. She’d been right; Gwen wasn’t wearing a regular bra. A matted nude corner of an adhesive bra showed beneath his fingers.
“Rob!” Gwen hissed. She yanked his hand down. “God, do you want to show my breasts to the entire auditorium?” Janice stifled a laugh. Gwen’s boundaries might be a little farther out than she’d originally anticipated, but the woman still had them. Good thing to know.
“I’m sorry,” he replied, throwing his hand up by his chest in surrender. “I didn’t mean…” He cast a look at Janice, but she just shrugged. He got himself into it; the bastard could get himself out.
“Is that a good plum, Wesley?”
Janice turned to see the fruit discarded on the floor and Wesley’s head positioned over Diana’s breast. For a half-second she wondered if it was all posturing, but when the woman moaned, well, Janice thought about asking for Wesley’s number after the show.
“Did you see…?” Janice started to ask, the words dying on her tongue as she saw Gwen move Rob’s hand beneath the hem of her skirt.
“What?” Gwen smiled, ignoring her friend‘s questioning glance. “I’m telling you, if you haven’t done this with a sub, you really need to, Janice.”
She was pissed, but what could she do? Tell them to stop? Gwen would laugh it off. And Rob, well, he’d just add it to the growing list of things to report back to Ben. No, she would fix this later, somehow. Until then, she’d just enjoy the show.
On stage, Wesley had removed both plums and the apple. Diana twitched and shuddered, her wrapping making her balance haphazard. Twice, he had to catch her, and he did so without his mouth ever leaving the opening over her crotch.
“Enough, Wesley,” Mistress Eva commanded, nudging his head with the crop. “Another good thing about this fantasy is this -- Wesley?”
He stood up, grabbed Diana and flipped her sideways. A spanking bench was pushed into their spotlight, and he bent her over it with one hand and ripped a sizeable hole over her ass with the other. He straddled her legs and pressed himself against her. Diana cried out in appreciation as he rolled his hips against her.
Mistress Eva put her hands on her hips. “Any questions?” She smacked the crop across her palm. “Didn’t think so.”
The spotlight moved away from Wesley and Diana to the audience. “We have one more presentation for you before intermission, but I will need two delicious little subs to volunteer. Any takers?”
The light swirled across their heads, and hands popped up everywhere. Janice looked at Gwen and saw her and Rob holding hands, giggling and whispering furiously. Gwen shook her head. Rob touched her face with his other hand and whispered something Janice couldn’t hear. Gwen shrugged.
Mistress Eva made a big show of her consideration of the dozens of prospective volunteers. “You’re not ready, Harrison,” she cooed to the left section amid laughter. “No, ladies and gents, I am looking for two special subbies.” The light continued its journey around the room.
“Sorry, hon, your dress is nicer than mine. Can’t have you showing me up onstage,” she chided a tall brunette standing a few rows in front of them. More laughter erupted as the woman pouted.
“Come on, aren’t there any truly delectable delights out there?” She leaned forward, hand over her eyes, scanning the crowd. The light darted away. “Go back, go back,” Eva called out, pointing back to the middle of the auditorium. “I think we missed a couple in the center here.
“Yes, you two will do just fine,” Mistress Eva purred, pointing her crop. “Nothing better than two subs who are so obviously comfortable with each other.” The light settled to Janice’s right.
Janice turned to see the lucky pair. “No fucking way,” she groaned.
Gwen and Rob had stood up, their hands together and in the air.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Troll or Derby by Red Tash

My fantastic friend and fellow writer, Red Tash, currently has the ebook version of her novel "Troll or Derby" available for your reading pleasure! If you like fae, trolls, or roller derby, you'll love this.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Just Friends: Chapter 2

Previous Chapters: One |  

Chapter Two: Ben

Ben sat down on the unmade bed, alone. Gwen had left a few minutes ago, but he could still smell the soft vanilla of her body on his sheets. With one hand, he smoothed the rumpled pillowcase she’d used. He missed her already.
He groaned. What’s wrong with me? Sure, Gwen was a great person, and he’d been attracted to her from the first day Janice had introduced them, but her close association with that woman made him wary. Female ‘friends’ had never lasted long in their little group. His cousin, Melissa, was an exception, but she was just a carbon copy of Janice, a wannabe dominant with enough bite that none of the guys bothered to see anything beyond her dangerously sharp wit.
Gwen, on the other hand, had known Janice before college. They had been best friends in high school. If Melissa could be turned to the dark side--shy coed to devious, callous manipulator--in four years after meeting Janice her freshman year in college, what was Gwen really like? He’d never seen aggression from her, except for the occasional board game battle, so did that mean Janice just protected her, a platonic dominance? Or was she hiding her bitchiness?
He sighed and rubbed his temples. It would be easier if he let himself believe she was just another of Janice’s puppets. Then the little spark he’d felt last night would mean nothing, because there wasn’t a chance it would be reciprocated.
Ben smiled, shaking his head. He leaned back and fell across the mattress. Last night had been interesting. But he would never have known Gwen knew about the scene, if Janice hadn’t brought it up at their last game night.


The doorbell rang, and Ben had excused himself from the other guys’ living room theatrics. He peered through the peephole. The ladies had arrived. He grinned as Janice, in her impatience, rang the bell again.
Ben considered leaving them outside just a little longer. Now, if he could somehow manage to let the other two women in and leave Janice out there by herself, it would make his night. Not a viable possibility, he knew, but damn, it was a nice fantasy.
Opening the door, he looked at them, and in his best Lurch impersonation, he said, “You rang?”
Janice rolled her eyes. “Let us in already, Ben. It’s cold as hell out here!” She pushed on the door, and he gave her an exaggerated bow as she entered. Well-coifed and fashionably dressed, the blonde walked into the house.
She patted him on the head. “Always a pleasure to serve, Ben?”
He ignored her baiting and turned his attention to the petite brunette following on Janice’s heel. “Melissa, always a pleasure,” he said, giving his cousin a bear hug.
“You realize it’s the middle of winter in Maryland?” she whined when he let her go. She walked to the coat rack behind him.
“Mini me,” he said through a fake smile. She frowned, confused for the second it took her to process what he’d said. A deep blush rose on her cheeks, but he ignored her before she could protest and closed the door behind the third woman.
“Hello, Gwen.”
She smiled, a soft, shy curve of her mouth. He wondered what she would do if he traced her lips with the tip of his tongue. He killed the thought as soon as he had it. She wasn’t Mel or Janice. Ah, wishful thinking.
“Hi, Ben, thanks for inviting me to your house.”
She was so unlike the other two -- polite, shy, reserved--that he felt the need to be different around her. He couldn’t quite put his finger on it, but she made him feel like he was in high school again and she was the popular cheerleader he wanted to ask to the prom.
Gwen peeled off her parka to reveal an earthy brown blouse with wide cuffs and a low-cut neckline. The color was flattering, bringing out the soft brown of her eyes, the paler strands in her long, dark brown hair. She was a hippie goddess, naturally beautiful, compared to the overdone women she’d arrived with. He smiled as he took her coat.
“Thanks for coming,” he said. “The guys are in there.” He motioned to the entryway at the end of the foyer.
After hanging up their coats, he followed them into the living room. “So what’re we going to play tonight, boy and girls?” he asked. “I think I own most of the board games known to man,” he gestured to the pile on the sideboard in the adjacent dining room,”so, it’s pretty much anything goes."
“Really? Can we play in the basement then?” Rob whispered as he walked toward the sideboard.
Ben smacked him in the arm and nodded towards Gwen. “Watch your mouth.”
Rob rolled his eyes. “I don’t think she’s as innocent as someone would like you to believe.” Before he could reply, his best friend wrapped an arm around Gwen’s shoulders and led her into the other room.
They started with Trivial Pursuit. Ben sat at the head of the table with Gavin, Melissa and Paul to his left and Janice and Gwen to his right. Rob squeezed in between the two women with a wink at Ben.
Halfway through a game of Trivial Pursuit, Gwen’s cell phone went off. “Excuse me,” she said as she got up from the table. Ben watched her disappear into the foyer. She didn’t sound happy, arguing with the caller.
“If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times, she’s too good for you,” Janice said, sliding dice into his hand.
Ben blinked. “What?”
Janice shook her head and smiled. “Roll the dice, sweetie. Maybe you’ll get lucky.”
He frowned. “You’re a bitch, Janice.” She smirked, but any response was cut off when Gwen came back into the room. She walked over and whispered something in the blonde’s ear.
“I’m sorry, everyone, but I need to go. Family in town a day early.” Gwen gave a small, strained smile. Janice pulled her back down, whispered, and then kissed her on the cheek.
Goodbyes were exchanged, and Ben walked Gwen to the door to show her out.
“You have a very nice home,” she said, as he helped her into the coat.
“Tha-" Ben’s reply was cut off as she stood up on her tiptoes and planted a soft kiss on his cheek. He looked at her, confused, but she blushed and wiped his cheek with her fingers.
“Lipstick,” she whispered before dropping her eyes. “Thanks again for inviting me.”
“Yeah,” he said, his voice soft and breathy. He opened the door, and she walked out. Still contemplating the kiss, Ben made his way back into the dining room.
A curious look passed over Janice’s face as he entered, and he decided to keep the kiss to himself. She stood up, a question on her lips, but he moved around the table.
The others were too busy packing up Trivial Pursuit to notice the exchange.
“What’re we playing now?” he asked, retaking his place at the head of the table.
“Monopoly.” Gavin pushed up his wire-rimmed glasses and handed him a wad of the pastel money.
As he reached across the table, Rob came into the room with Ben’s college roommate, Thomas, each man carrying four open beers. “Move your ass, woman.” He nudged Janice with one hip. “Ladies and gents, refreshments.” He set the four bottles on the table before passing them out to Ben, Melissa, and Gavin.
“Hey, sweet cheeks.” Thomas winked and slid a beer to Paul, another of their bar-hopping, college buddies. He lifted another one to his lips, taking a deep drink. “This one’s for you,” he said as he offered it to Janice.
She grabbed a different one. “No, thanks. You probably spit in it, asshole.”
“How else do you think I’m ever going to swap bodily fluids with you, your Highness?” 
Janice rolled her eyes. Ben laughed with the rest of them. It always amazed him how quickly the group changed when Gwen wasn’t around.


Before she’d first been introduced to them a couple of months earlier, her arrival had been prefaced by a little lecture from Janice.
“She’s not like us,” she’d said. “No play, no raunchy sex talk!” 
“Where’s the fun in that?” Rob had asked.
She’d just glared at him. “She’s my best friend, shithead, and she’s new to the area. If I could pick out normal people for her to hang out with, I would, but we’ll just have to do. Just don’t scare her, okay?” 
In the beginning, it had been a little tough, but Ben admitted she added something to the group, even if, for most of them, it was only the fun of seeing how close to the edge of indecency they could coast without her noticing. Eventually, even Rob didn’t mind the ‘clean’ nights.
“Are we playing tonight?” Melissa asked as she looked up from her carefully arranged stacks of money.” Or are we just going to act like stupid teenagers?” 
Paul’s hand shot up in the air.” We get to vote?” 
Ben threw a balled-up napkin at him.” Dude, you are a teenager trapped in a thirty-year-old’s body.” 
“I’m the shoe,” Melissa said, ignoring the men, and she placed the shiny piece into the starting corner.
An hour and two cases of Heineken later, all the property had been bought up, and hotels were popping up everywhere. Ben leaned back in his chair, his money spent and his piece removed due to his bankrupted state, and watched as Rob’s wheelbarrow made its way around the jail. “Just visitin’, man,” he said, nodding his mover towards Thomas’s top hat  and landed on St. James Place.
“You owe me $950, sir,” Janice smirked, reading the property card, “for your one night stay at my hotel.”
“Best little whorehouse in Monopoly-land,” Thomas chuckled.
“Hey, does that mean I can get spanked by my own personal hottie?” Rob asked as he counted out the money.
Ben laughed. “Sure, if you feel like crying again, momma’s boy.” 
Rob gave the money to Janice. “Dude, don’t even start that shit again. At least I don’t have to tie down my dates to get them to stay.” 
“I’m not the one who brings women home drunk and says, ‘Wanna try something freaky tonight?’”  Ben turned his attention to the others. “Then my brilliant roommate shows them my dungeon, and he wonders why they run screaming.”
The room filled with howling laughter. Everyone present knew about Ben’s dungeon. Most of them were into the scene, and he’d offered tours of the ever-evolving playroom on other nights Gwen hadn’t shown up. He imagined her disgust, the revulsion she would feel at this hidden part of their lives, and he found he wanted her to accept it. He didn’t want her to be like Janice, but the thought that she might be vanilla -- conventional -- saddened him.
“What the hell were you thinking? You don’t bring just anyone into a dungeon!”  Melissa squealed, her protest melting into shrill giggles.
“You’d know all about that, wouldn’t you?” Janice purred. “Has anyone ever spanked that tight little ass of yours, Mel?” 
Ben frowned. They’d all had too much to drink, and while it made the others jovial, Janice tended towards a biting lack of tact. He usually let Mel defend herself against the bitch, but Ben didn’t want a catfight tonight.
Melissa didn’t play. She was a sensory voyeur to the scene. She liked to hear about it, even add her own bullshit, but when it came down to actual play, she always backed out.
Janice considered it cowardice, but Mel didn’t care. Usually. He needed to nip this in the bud, or it was going to get ugly quick.
“Someone’s spanked Mel? You mean, other than you?” Thomas hiccupped with a raise of his almost-empty beer bottle.” Come on, haven’t you spanked everyone in the state at some point or another since college?”
Janice flushed and opened her mouth to speak, but Thomas looked past her to Mel.
“Let me spank you, hon. I’ll be real nice and gentle. We can use my ‘flogger’.” He smiled, a drunk, goofy grin as he leaned his chair back to give her a clear view of him manhandling his crotch. The chair tipped and spilled Thomas and his beer all over the floor.
“Alcohol abuse!”  Paul, Rob, and Gavin yelled in unison. Thomas’s hand shot up, his now emptier beer bottle held high as foam ran down his forearm.
“Thomas, you couldn’t dom if you life depended on it,” Ben said as his friends helped the poor guy up. “If someone handed you a paddle, you’d start beatin’ yourself off.” 
“Dude,” Rob groaned, his hand moving to his crotch. “That’s just wrong. Smack ass all you want, but no hitting Lil Rob!” 
“’Lil Rob’? That’s original,” Melissa scoffed, and Ben smiled when she shot Thomas a grateful look. He wondered if she ever regretted introducing Janice to their little group.
“Hey, I’m a good sub,” he pouted, using his bottle to accentuate his point. “But I’m not as good as Paul.” He pointed at the younger guy. “Now, I know you're into the freakier shit, like candle wax and dildos sprouting horse hair."
Paul shrugged it off. “I know what I like.” 
“You know who makes a great sub?” Thomas said as he walked into the kitchen. “Anyone else want another one?” He peeked his head around the side of the fridge.
Ben raised his hand along with Mel and Rob. Thomas’s head disappeared, and when he came back into the dining room with more beer, he said, “Jen Taylor.” 
Gavin groaned. “She’s a bad sub. Never says no to anything.” 
“I thought that’s what all you doms wanted.” Janice tossed her empty bottle at Ben. He caught it and her venomous glare.
He dropped the discarded bottle into the recycling bin beside his chair. “Yeah, Janice, and all hetero dommes want to breastfeed men who look cute in diapers.” 
“Hey, don’t knock adult babies,” Rob protested, flicking the small metal lid off his beer at Ben. “Nothing more snuggly than a good Huggies.” 
Thomas howled, almost falling back on the floor. “Have you seen your ass? You need Depends!
“No, no,” He waved his hands in the air. “Back to the subject at hand.” He cleared his throat. “A good sub is a woman, or a man,” he gestured at Paul and Rob with his beer bottle, “who can take a shitload of abuse, heal fast, and come back for more.” 
“You’re a bigger asshole than I thought,” said Gavin. “Anyone can take a shitload of pain, but it doesn’t mean they’re having fun. What’s the point of a little BDSM if you are just whaling on someone’s ass?
“No,” he continued,  “a good sub is someone who understands their own boundaries, isn’t afraid to use their safe word, and while willing to test those same boundaries, won’t let some smooth-talking dom convince them to just ‘trust me’.” Gavin made the quoting gesture in the air. “There’s more to being a dom than that, not that you fuckin’ switches would understand that.” 
Thomas flipped him off with both hands. “What’s being a switch have to do with anything? I can top just as well as you guys.” 
Rob snorted.” No, you can’t.” 
“Yeah, I can.” 
Rob put two hands on the table and leaned towards Thomas. “No. You can’t. I wouldn’t trust you anywhere near me if I was tied down.” He shook his head when Thomas opened his mouth. “There’s only one person in this room I’d trust to top me. One. And it isn’t you.” 
“I didn’t know subs could be so smart,” Janice quipped. She licked her lips in obvious pleasure. “And to think all this time I thought you were just another pretty face.” 
Rob frowned, but Ben answered. “It’s not you either, Janice.” A genuine look of surprise crossed her features, and Ben didn’t even bother hiding his grin.
“What?” Rob moved closer to her. “We all know you go through subs faster than socks. You play until you get bored, which is usually, what, two sessions? Then you drop them and move on. You don’t give a shit if they are a good sub or not. As long as you can order them around, spank a little cock, and get laid, you’re a happy domme.” 
Ben leaned forward, eyes intent on Janice. “You wouldn’t know a good sub if he bit you on the ass.” 
The room went silent. Gavin started putting the game away, and the rest watched the three of them with interest.
“And what, Ben,” she seethed, tapping her bottle on the table, “do you consider a good sub?” 
“Something along the lines of what Gavin said. There’s a big trust issue in a good sub/dom relationship, something that requires time and energy. You have to know what they want, how they want it. You need to be aware of the extent of their fears and the fantasies that can make them fly.
“A good dom also knows that their sub will use their safe words without fear of disappointment. But all this takes time to cultivate, and you don’t know the first thing about building a non-scene relationship, much less one in scene.” 
She leaned back in her chair and pushed the bottle across the table. “You don’t know shit about me and the way I dom, Ben.”
He raised a brow. Their relationship was common knowledge in the group. It was a bold-faced lie, and she knew it. But she cut him off before he could argue.
“I can train a sub better than any of you,” she smirked.
Thomas cleared his throat.” You’re full of shit, Janice.” 
“Am I?” She didn’t take her eyes off Ben.
“I think you are,” Gavin said as he laid down a pile of play money. “Name one person you’ve been with long enough to teach them anything about play.” 
“Gwen.” 
Ben’s eyes widened. “You said she didn’t play.” 
“No, what I said was she wasn’t like us, like you. She plays. She plays well. And she plays for me.”
Ben sat back in his chair, his thunder stolen by her announcement. A million thoughts ran through his head: confusion at her loophole, anger that she had kept this from them for months, but underneath all of it, relief. If Gwen really played, then he didn’t have to worry about her reaction to that part of his life anymore.
“Prove it,” Rob said from behind her. He sat his beer down on the table and crossed his arms over his chest.
“You doubt me?” she replied, turning around in her chair.
“Damn straight.” 
“So, what do you want me to do? Show her off? Do a little dog and pony show? Next week you want to watch as I put her through her paces in Ben’s dungeon?” She took a long look around the room. “Or do you all want to have a turn?” 
“If you know so much about our dear, sweet Gwen,” Mel chimed in, her tone dripping with sarcasm, “then what’s her deepest, darkest sub fantasy?” 
Janice hesitated, and it planted a seed of doubt in Ben’s head. Was she bluffing? Or was there a chance she had a soul after all and actually cared about the other woman? Had her hesitation been regret about betraying such an intimate secret? Yeah, right. Not Janice. She had to be gaining something out of it.
He glanced around the room. Gavin and Thomas caught his eye. He wasn’t the only one who’d noticed her pause.
“She’s a masochist, enjoys pain,” Janice began slowly, as if she was unraveling facts in her head.
“No shit,” Mel sneered. “Every good sub enjoys a little pain, Janice. Tell us something we don’t know.” 
A brief flush rose on Janice’s cheeks. “She wants to be kidnapped. There. You happy now?” 
“Oh, hell yeah,” Thomas piped up. “That would be sweet!”  Paul and Gavin nodded in agreement, but Rob raised a hand.
“That doesn’t prove that Janice did shit. I want proof.” 
Janice shot him an acid look. “What do you propose?” 
“A bet,” Paul said without looking up from the fan of property cards in his hands. He folded them into a neat stack and passed them to Gavin. “Look, we know who the top doms are in this group: Ben and Janice. If she’s really ‘trained’ Gwen well, then he should be able to vouch for it with one session with her.” 
“But I want to kidnap her!”  Thomas moaned from his end of the table.
Paul rolled his eyes. “We will, if her domme can get her consent. Do you think you can manage that, Janice? Without telling her why?” 
Janice nodded. “But she’ll recognize me when we grab her.”
“No,” Paul interrupted. “You aren’t going to be anywhere near her or this house that night. You’ll make plans with her, so that we know she’ll be home, but beyond that, you aren’t allowed to interfere. No coaching your sub, Janice.” 
She opened her mouth and closed it, frustration bright in her eyes. “What are the parameters of the deal? And what do I win?” 
“Ben, you agreeable to this?” Rob asked with a goofy grin.
He laughed. “A chance to play with Gwen and make an ass out of Janice? Hell yeah, I’m in. But I’d like the details laid out first.” 
She pouted, but Paul tapped his bottle against the table. “The parameters. In order for Janice to win, Ben has to, after one night with Gwen in his dungeon, admit that she has been well trained. If she exhibits the points he stated earlier, then Janice wins. If she does not, Ben wins.” 
“I’m not going to be soft on her,” Ben warned the blonde, “but she’ll have the option to back out early on.” 
“Of course,” she said with a smile. “We play by the rules, remember?” 
Ben frowned. He remembered all too well how much attention Janice paid to the rules. “And the prizes?” 
Janice moved closer. “Afraid you might end up beneath me again?” she purred.
Ben shook his head, and in a low growl, he said, “Nothing could make me sub to you again, Janice.” 
“Trophies,” Melissa offered instead.” A collar for the loser, complete with leash for the winner at the next game night after this bet has been decided."
“It’s not fair,” Janice whined. “He gets a night with my sub, and I get a collar?” 
Ben bristled. A collar was like a wedding ring in their circles. Using it as a trophy was serious business. That Janice thought she was getting a raw deal, well, this was one of many reasons why they weren’t dating anymore. “If you can’t stick to the rules, you can forfeit the bet right now.” 
She mumbled something he couldn’t hear and nodded at Paul. “Fine. A collar then.” 
“When do her parents leave?” he asked Janice.
“They’re supposed to fly out on Monday.” 
“Then we do this Friday.” Paul shrugged. “All that’s left now is for our competing doms to shake on it. Guys?” 
“Don’t think you’ll win this easily,” Janice said as she offered him a hand.
He took her hand in his and gave it one firm shake. “You’ve underestimated me before. Sure you want to do it again?” 
Thomas clapped his hands in glee. “A kidnapping!” 
“Yes, Thomas,” they said in unison.


All the subsequent planning had happened so fast, he had been unable to express his misgivings about the whole mess. They had cut the meaning of consent a little too thin for his tastes, but Rob and Thomas had assured him that they were still within scene boundaries. He had insisted that Janice be filled in on the specifics of the kidnapping to present to Gwen and that the actual kidnapping itself be taped for the safety and welfare of all parties involved. There had been no objections to his requests.
Janice had won the bet, Ben realized as he lay there. He wasn’t looking forward to the collar next week, having seen the spiked monstrosity Melissa had picked out--never send a non-player shopping in a BDSM store alone--but the night with Gwen was worth a little humiliation.
He couldn’t help but wonder what Janice was getting out of this and just what he had gotten into.