Dominion

Published 9/11/2012 – Amazon

DOMINION is a short story about sex, whips and bondage.

Gillian Carly is an excellent personal assistant; calm, poised, professional in all things, and incredibly organized. Her new boss is Matthew Robson, the arrogant and driven multi-millionaire CEO of Robson Inc.

Mr. Robson is used to being in control at all times, but Ms. Carly is not like other women. Supremely efficient and always ready with a snappy comeback, she refuses to be cowed by him and pushes back when he tries to intimidate her.

When he goes too far, and pulls her carefully hidden past out into the light, Ms. Carly turns on him and shows him what real power looks like.


“I have an interview with Mr. Robson today. My name is Gillian Carly.”

The polite secretary at the front desk was all professional smiles, right up until I said his name. Then a brief shadow crossed her face, as if she were recalling something unpleasant. I accepted her nod and gesture towards the elevators, with clipped instructions on how to get to my (hopefully) new boss’s office on the thirtieth floor. He was expecting me, of course.

I examined my appearance in the shiny elevator doors as I was whisked upwards. My dark business suit was immaculate. My hair was gathered carefully into a respectable braided bun, although there was no hiding the few grey hairs among the brown while I was too proud to dye it. My height, augmented with two inch heels, and slim, toned profile put me on a level with all but the most overbearing businessmen. I had kept to a minimal level of makeup in order to project an impression of controlled neutrality. I carried nothing but my phone and car keys in an inside pocket, and a folder detailing my working life.

Well, not all of my working life. Just the parts of it that I would admit to in polite company. In any case, I was sure he would have nothing to complain about.

The doors opened with a quiet whirr, and gave me my first view of one of the biggest Fortune 500 companies in the world. It consisted of tastefully designed wood and glass, another smiling secretary behind a long desk, and a giant plaque on the wall that read, ‘Robson Inc.’ So very clean and business-like. So very fake.

Still, this was the life I had chosen, and I would not regret it for a second. I walked confidently across the navy carpet, feeling it squishing under my feet, and once again explained my purpose for being here to a corporate drone. She pointed me down a long corridor to what was clearly the biggest corner office. Of course.

I could feel her eyes on me as I moved away. I recalled the agency’s warning – ‘He’s a difficult man to work for’ – and mulled it over. Many men were difficult to work for, in my experience. This job, of being the personal assistant to a difficult man, paid more than my three most recent ones put together. I was prepared for anything.

I knocked on the office door, waited a few seconds, and opened it. “Mr. Robson? I have an…”

I trailed off. A young, pretty woman with breasts that were clearly artificially enhanced stumbled back from the man sitting behind the mahogany desk, her shirt open to what I would consider an unprofessional degree. Her face was flaming red; his, not so much. He glared at me, and shifted so that I had no clear view of his groin.

I could not be surprised, but I was faintly annoyed. My interview was today, at this very time, and he had decided to indulge in inappropriate behavior. It was simply rude.

“My apologies, Mr. Robson,” I said calmly. “I didn’t mean to interrupt you.”

I had to see what kind of man he was. Could ‘difficult’ be a euphemism for ‘too handsy’? I let my gaze wander around his office in the uncomfortable silence that followed. It was big, airy, and commanded a wide view of the city below, if that were anyone’s idea of fun. Some forgettable abstract art adorned the walls. A drinks cabinet, a few comfortable couches and chairs, and a coffee table completed the scene. Again, nothing but clean and business-like – inoffensive in its blandness to all but me.

“I’ll – I’ll just be going, excuse me,” the beauty said, almost dashing past me in her rush to get out of the embarrassing situation she had found herself in. I closed the door behind her with a decisive click.

“You’re the new PA I ordered?” he said, scowling at me.

I didn’t care for his tone. Tone, and the setting thereof, was important. I had seen his kind before, and my hackles were instantly raised by his demeanor. My first instinct – to retaliate – could not be easily quashed.

“I am the new personal assistant that the agency recommended to your company, Mr. Robson,” I said coldly. “I came here for an interview. I am not your employee yet, although, might I say that I think you are in need of a competent PA, not a plastic play toy?”

That shocked him. I walked to his desk and placed the folder in front of him, then settled myself primly in a chair. “My resume. You may read it at your leisure.”

Mr. Robson’s glanced at the folder and then back at me. He was perhaps a few years older, but still passably handsome and in possession of far more grey hair than I. The rich, of course, swiftly gain an air of attraction as their wealth increases, and by all accounts that qualified him to be a male model at this point. The rest of him was hard – hard eyes, hard expression, hard edge to his movements. He was the kind of businessman who lived and breathed in a world where millions of dollars were all at once chump change and a fortune worth fighting for.

“You think insulting me is going to get you a job?” he snapped.

I raised one eyebrow, completely unimpressed. “Whether you hire me or not is your decision, but you will judge my skills and experience before my ability to point out the obvious.”

“And you think you can tell me what to do?”

I leaned forward. “Mr. Robson, the entire job, should I choose to accept it, is telling you what to do. As the head of this company, you need someone who can arrange your professional life. In my experience, such skills do not come packaged with fake breasts straight out of college. You are not a stupid man, so yes, you will judge my various talents first.”

I was getting very curt with him. Old habits were hard to break. It was all about the tone, and the level of control exerted; being a PA required a certain level of command, and I had learned that long before I ever wore a business suit.

He sat back, and rubbed his chin. He seemed to be judging me. I noted the width of his shoulders, and the thickness of his arms. He probably worked out, and I approved of that.

“You think you have my number… Gillian, is it?” he said, after another glance at the folder.

“Ms. Carly,” I corrected him. “And yes, I do. I would not be a good personal assistant otherwise.”

Some of the hardness faded. “I wasn’t going to take her on as a PA. She wasn’t qualified.”

I leaned back, and clasped my hands in my lap. This was familiar territory, in a way. Just business. “If you intend to have a liason here, in your office, then I will require a warning signal of some kind. I would also ask for advance notice if possible, so that I may vet the woman involved for possible… issues… later.”

“You sound like you’ve done this before.”

You have no idea, I thought. You can’t shock me, you silly man. This would be easy if all I had to be concerned with was the occasional sexual encounter between my boss and a random employee. It was tame, and appropriate for a man like him even if he were married. It was expected. Such a shame, though, that he wasted his time on air-headed young girls who would never truly satisfy him.

I decided that I would take it, if he made the offer to hire me, if only so that I could observe him further.

“I am simply being practical,” I said. “Any activities here are my domain. What you do outside of normal business hours and off company property is, of course, outside the scope of my job. Now, do you have any questions regarding my previous employment?”

He opened the folder properly and flicked through it without interest. I watched him, and made a mental note to ask the agency for more details about Mr. Matthew Robson. All I knew was that he had not been able to keep a PA for longer than a month or two at the outside, and he was a ‘difficult man’.

“No, I don’t,” he said, looking back up at me. “Do you want the job?”

“Yes.”

“It’s yours. You can start tomorrow.”

“Excellent.” I stood up. “I will have the agency cancel my other interviews. You may keep the folder for your records, of course. I will require an email account, access to the company intranet, business cards, a office two minutes away from this one at the most, a laptop, a smartphone, and a tablet of some kind. What time will you arrive in the morning?”

He didn’t seem at all fazed by my demands, and this pleased me. We would work well together if he could make sure that needed things got done. I had worked for too many men, even very rich men, who spent time on frivolities rather than business.

“Leave a list with Jennifer outside,” he said. “It’ll be ready. I usually get into the office at eight am sharp.” He stood as well, and held out his hand. “Glad to have you on the team, Ms. Carly.”

His mouth delivered pleasantries, but the hardness returned to his eyes. As I shook his hand, I suspected that I would be tested over the next few days. His grip was warm, and a little too tight, as if he was still inclined to try to intimidate me. I responded with my own strength and steady gaze.

A dominatrix, even an ex-dominatrix, is not easily intimidated.

As I left the office, I couldn’t help taking in his tapered form as he walked over to the drinks cabinet. It was nice to work for a man who was easy on the eye as well.

*****

I arrived at seven am, just as the first of my co-workers were yawning their way across the lobby of the building with coffee in hand. I had had my coffee half an hour before. Today I carried an understated handbag with the bare essentials. My own cellphone remained at home, of course, but I had decided to bring one personal item for my desk – a plain, solid, steel bracelet that was shined to perfection.

No one greeted me as I stepped into the elevator. I was still a stranger to them, and I intended to remain so. My interest in socializing with them was precisely nil; I had long since trained myself not to mix business and personal matters, and my person was very much off limits to giggling clerks and the young braggarts in tailored suits who flirted with them. Besides, as Mr. Robson’s assistant, I expected that I would have to cultivate a certain aura to match the effect he seemed to have on his employees.

They said friendliness and common feeling was a better strategy in order to keep an office running well, but somehow I think the consultants who developed that idea never thought someone with my background would ever work in an office.

A few quiet words with Jennifer at the front desk of Robson Inc, and I was on my way to the rather smaller office beside the one I had visited the day before. I found everything I had asked for, as well as a list of login details and a phone number for the company’s priority tech support, sitting on a glass desk with a broad window to the side and shelves behind it. There was more of the same abstract art, and a fake plant in the corner. The wood panelling was a little darker here, and the carpet was a little less squishy. It had only one couch, against the opposite wall, and two smaller chairs.

Everything was ready to be used. First, however, I put the plant and the artwork outside the door, and placed the bracelet on the corner of my new desk where a picture frame might have stood instead. It carried so many memories, good and bad, of the life I had given up. I ran my finger around the smooth edge of it, then turned to the laptop to get to work.

I had an hour to prepare Mr. Robson’s first day.

*****

“I’ll need five copies of the contract, and all the reports from last quarter in case they ask for them,” Mr. Robson said, pacing back and forth across the room. “No – seven copies. If they sign, I’ll need to meet with Jason immediately to work out the marketing campaign…”

I took notes on my tablet from my comfortable seat on the largest couch. He might be happy to walk around while giving orders, but I had told him that I did my job just as well sitting down. I suspected it still agitated him.

I had learned much about Mr. Robson. He was twice divorced, now unmarried, and showed the cynicism typical of a man who had given up on the female half of the species. He was driven to succeed, so much so that the money was less a means to an end and more a shorthand way for him to judge his own self worth. He worked out every day for the same reason. He had no real hobbies, although he played golf for the sake of appearances.

He had not had another liason in the office since the day I caught him with the beauty. Perhaps he had done more outside the office, but I could not even guess at that. I found it strange that I even wondered. The hardness in his eyes and face had not lessened since then either, and I found myself wanting to know just how deep it went and what lay behind it. I wanted to know what had broken up his two marriages.

Old habits die hard. I had cracked the shell of men like him, shattered them and ripped their flaws out by the root, and built them back up into better people. It was difficult not to analyze him in the same way, and spend my idle moments plotting out what I would do to him if I had not decided to leave that life behind. It was difficult not to desire him.

“Did you get that, Ms. Carly?”

I looked up sharply from my tablet. “You have asked me that every day for six months, Mr. Robson. Yes, I got it. Will that be all?”

He gritted his teeth. “Do you always have to have a smart answer for me?” he said resentfully, but in spite of his best effort, I saw the barest hint of a smile.

“You could have hired a robot if you wanted to avoid all smart answers,” I said without any malice. I was sure he enjoyed our frequent verbal sparring, and in truth, I did too. “I doubt you would find a robot with my experience, of course, but anything is possible.”

“Ah yes, your experience. Actually, there is one other thing – I wanted to ask about an item in your resume.”

He walked around to his desk, and retrieved a page of handwritten notes. I watched him warily. “Do you know a Mr. Jake Connors?”

I stiffened. Jake knew. He was a friend, a fellow dom, who had shared many beers with me and given me a start as his secretary when I wanted a job that didn’t involve whips and leather. He ran a small business in the suburbs. “I worked for him once,” I said.

“He had many flattering things to say about you.” Mr. Robson scanned down the page. “Do you also know Miss Angeline Fredrickson?”

My body froze over. Jake had talked. Angie only knew me as Giana Winter, and she lived three states away now. If he mentioned that name to her, I knew what he’d hear: a glowing testimonial for the mistress who had trained her, who seemed to have a sixth sense about people, and who had simply vanished one day into thin air.

His face told me that he had already asked. He knew my past. Jake would not have said a word without being threatened in some way. I had thought I had sufficient protection from the wrong kind of inquiry, but the rich always moved in mysterious ways. I would berate myself later for forgetting that. The question remained: what would Mr. Robson do with this information?

“Ms. Carly?”

I rose from the couch, and approached him carefully. He had that glint in his eye that I had seen before, when he was about to close a business deal on a cornered opponent with nowhere to turn. Did he expect me to explain, to apologise? I would never offer excuses for what I was, nor what I had been. There was always a way out, even if the cost was great.

I placed the tablet on his desk. “You may consider this my notice, Mr. Robson. I will have a copy in writing for you within the hour.”

It was gratifying to watch his expression dissolve into astonishment. Then I turned to leave, my mind already planning another meeting with the agency. There would be no questions asked as to why it didn’t work out in this case.

I heard his chair scrape across the floor. “Wait a minute, what’s wrong? You can’t leave!” he said. “Wait, Gillian!”

I stopped at the door. I was not often emotional and rarely angry, but now the rage boiled up from the bedrock of my soul and cut through my careful self-control. The side of me that gloried in dominion, in finding leverage where there was none, broke free. I fixed him with a vicious glare; he had come around his desk and probably meant to follow me. I strode up to him, utterly defiant.

“You dare make demands of me?” I hissed, my voice dripping with contempt. “You dare breach my privacy? Do not play games with me, Mr. Robson. I know that you know. You will never have the chance to use my past against me.” I leaned forward; he took a step back. I hadn’t lost my touch. “And you will only ever refer to me as Ms. Carly, you pathetic worm.”

I left him speechless. I became someone else, when I cut loose, and he had never seen that before. In my own office, I typed up a letter of resignation in a matter of moments, one that made it clear I would not be returning to work in the morning. I emailed it to him. Let him send it to HR himself.

I picked up my steel bracelet. The weight of it in my hand was soothing. It replaced the anger with a certain resignation. I turned it over and over, feeling the contours of the cold metal, and remembering everything it signified to me. Yes, I had left that life, but it was not fair to say that it haunted me still. It would always be a part of me, and I would never regret it. I would certainly never let it be held over my head, not even by a man who fascinated me.

I picked up my purse. There was nothing else I wanted. Everything else belonged to the company. As I switched off my computer, Mr. Robson stormed in and slammed the door behind him.

“You can’t go,” he said darkly.

“I find it amusing that you think you can stop me,” I replied.

“Your contract requires a month’s notice -”

“Really.” I folded my arms. “That’s your tactic? State the terms of my contract? You will have to take me to court, and then I will make it my duty to tell the world that you pried into my very private life.”

He glared at me. “You seem very sure that I know something I don’t.”

“Like I said, Mr. Robson, don’t play games with me.”

He sat on the couch and pointed at the chair. “I just want to talk, okay?”

I stared coldly at him.

He held his head in pure exasperation. “Please?” he asked.

In all the time I had known him, he had never used such niceties. It was enough for me to want to listen at least. I placed my purse on the table, and sat in one of the comfortable chairs in front of my desk.

He sat with his elbows on his knees, hands clasped together as he stared at the floor. “The stuff on your resume would never produce a woman like you,” he said distantly. “I wanted to know if you were hiding something that could threaten the company.”

“Such as?”

“Gambling problems. A history of drugs. Anything that could be used to blackmail you into giving up trade secrets.”

I bristled at the idea that my former life would be considered on a par with drug addiction, but I could appreciate his concern if nothing else. “So you have found exactly that,” I said. “Why didn’t you just fire me?”

“I wanted to know how you’d react.”

He was watching me now, like I was a piece of his abstract art and he was trying to deduce the meaning of it.

“Then you have your answer,” I said. “I quit.This doesn’t change anything.”

“I need you to stay.”

I was tired of his insistance. I reached for my purse and stood. He did likewise.

“Ms. Carly -”

I held up my hand, silencing him. “Mr. Robson, you know something private about me that I went to great trouble to hide because it’s none of your or anyone else’s business. I will not work for you while I have that hanging over my head, not even if you swear to never breathe a word of it to anyone. It’s regrettable, but your intentions mean nothing. Call the agency, and order a new assistant for the morning, because I will not be here.”

Throwing his own words back at him was a pretty cheap move, but I had no patience left. He stood between me and the door with a frown on his face. I stepped close enough to him to smell the cologne he always wore and sense the short breaths that came from his nose. Six months wasn’t long enough, and I’d never again be able to idly watch him and dream… All the things I would do to you, Matthew. I’d break you and you would love me for it.

I placed a hand on his chest, and felt the heartbeat within. I pushed him to one side, and walked out before I could change my mind.

*****

It was easy to leave, but not to forget.

I watched the rain outside my apartment window that night. The lights of the city behind it were distorted and out of focus. The book I had been reading was discarded, for now. The agency were apologetic, but they would call in the morning with some new leads.

What was I doing with my life? Was that to be my fate, every time someone found out and my pride would not let me give an inch? Leaving was a necessity, but I couldn’t help feeling regretful that it were so. I wished that I could go to the office tomorrow and resume my stream of smart answers. In my heart of hearts, I wished other, darker, deviant things that made my dominant nature seethe with frustration and do battle with my common sense.

Perhaps it was best that I left before that desire became a problem. He would not be the first man I grew to lust after, nor the last. He was also not the first man to betray me, but the fact of it hurt a little more than I thought it should. We hadn’t even had a friendship, but I still mourned that I had to give up the time spent close to him.

It would be seven years, next month. Seven years since I decided that my base inclinations had been indulged long enough, and it was time to get out. Who knew the skills of domination and control translated so well into a business environment? The problem was that I just couldn’t stop myself from wanting more. Ordering people around an office was fine, but it could not compare to the feeling of holding and directing another person’s soul.

It was seven long, boring, denial-filled years spent occasionally having meaningless sex with men as soft and weak as newborn kittens, in body and in spirit. How far I have fallen, I thought.

I left the book on the couch, and went to the kitchen to make some green tea. I was getting too introspective about it all.

There was a polite knock at my door. That could only be one of my neighbors. I didn’t care to learn their names, and they knew I preferred to be left alone. They were not bad people, of course, but a thirty-five year old recluse did not socialize with twenty-something professionals who partied every weekend.

My appearance – loose pants, a tank top, no makeup, and my hair down – was not entirely acceptable, but I could not be perfect every minute of the day. I left the kettle boiling and went to answer the door. As I opened it, my greeting died on my lips.

It was Mr. Robson. The overcoat he wore over his suit was soaked. His face wore a hunted expression, and he was still hunched over from the rain. He looked at me like a man who had nowhere else to go.

My first thought was that I could now watch him again. My second thought was voiced immediately.

“How did you get into the building?” I asked.

“Some drunk people left the door propped open. Can I come in, please? I’m dripping all over the floor here.”

There was that word again. Please. He had said it twice in one day, now. I made a mental note to complain to the building manager about security. I folded my arms and stared him down.

“You think I would let you invade my privacy a second time, Mr. Robson?” I said in my most cutting tone.

To my eternal surprise, he hung his head in shame.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “Please, Ms. Carly. There are things I want to ask you.”

I considered it. His apology was shocking all on its own, and this could be my only chance to find out what lurked inside his head. Something very powerful had driven him out here. My darker side suggested that this could also be my only chance to have him, and my idle daydreams returned in full force.

I walked away, towards the kitchen. “Shut the door after you,” I said over my shoulder. My teapot would suffice for two people. I carried it and two cups out to my couch, and placed them beside my book on the coffee table.

He gingerly hung his coat up where it could drip onto my doormat. His suit was wet through at the shoulders and cuffs. I did not approve of this, especially when his shoes were going to track water all over my carpet. I pointed at him preemptorially.

“Take off your jacket, your shoes, and your socks, and leave them to dry.” I was tempted to add his pants to the list. I sat down and waited for him to approach me barefoot, then nodded at the arm chair across from the couch. “Sit.”

He did as he was told. I checked the tea, ignoring him for a moment. It was not quite brewed yet. I settled myself comfortably and waited for him to speak. He was agitated, more than I had ever seen him before.

“You’re not afraid of me,” he finally said.

I laughed. “Are you asking or telling me?”

“I -” He stopped, and I could see the muscle working in his jaw as he swallowed. Yes, very agitated. “I’m asking you.”

“I’m not afraid of you,” I said. “You would have to do more than be obnoxious in order to scare me, Mr. Robson.”

“Why? Is it because you were a…”

I rolled my eyes at him. I didn’t take him for a prude. Fine, then, I would spare him nothing – it wasn’t as if I had a job to protect anymore. “Because I was a dominatrix? Yes. I have beaten men too many times to fear them. But you know all that, don’t you, if you’ve spoken to Jake and Angeline?”

He couldn’t meet my eyes, and nodded while staring at the floor. “She said you’re the best.”

There was something in his voice I couldn’t quite identify. The hardness was still there – it was his nature – but something deeper called out to me. Maybe my instincts were dulled after all this time, but it felt like a need. He wanted something from me.

I poured the tea and pushed one cup towards him. “Angie exaggerates my talent. I was good, yes, but there is no ‘best’ in domination. There is only what works and what doesn’t.”

He held the cup, but didn’t drink. I could almost hear him thinking, and I wondered what else Angie had told him.

“Why did you do it?” he asked. “For money?”

He wanted something from me, but he needed to know my motives. I shrugged, and sipped my tea. “Birds fly, fish swim, and I… control. I control myself, and I like to control others. I enjoy it. You might as well ask why I keep breathing. Now, tell me why your marriages failed.”

That brought him up short, and it seemed that he didn’t know how to respond. I had a talent for keeping him off balance. I simply waited, and let my gaze travel over his body appreciatively. No handcuffs, I thought – I was a little old-fashioned – but I could easily imagine him gagged and tied down for my pleasure.

“We grew apart,” he said.

“Both times? I find that hard to believe.”

“Well that’s what happened,” he snapped. “They were demanding and I couldn’t do anything right and we couldn’t get along in the end.”

“Were they afraid of you?”

“…Maybe.”

There was that echo, again, of something behind his tough exterior. I decided that I needed to know more.

“What do you really want, Mr. Robson?” I asked.

He put the cup back on the coffee table. “I want you to stay on as my PA.”

“We’ve had this conversation already, and I’m not interested in having it again.” Besides, that’s not what you really want, I thought. There was something more there.

“I’ll double your salary and sign an agreement that gives you fifty million if I ever divulge your past to anyone, even in a court of law.”

I wanted to chuckle at the absurdity of it. He wanted to give me equal leverage against him. Keeping me around was so important to him that I suspected I could name my price –

Suddenly it made sense. That unnamable desire was for me.

“Do you fear me, Matthew?” I asked.

“No, I-”

“That was a rhetorical question.” I picked up the cups and teapot, and walked to the kitchen.

“Are you implying something?” he called out angrily as I washed the tea leaves down the drain. I permitted myself a quiet chuckle then, just before I returned to stand in front of him.

“You have always tried to keep me on a leash, Mr. Robson,” I said. “You asked me to submit, and I never did. Of course you fear me. I am the only thing in your life that you can’t control.”

He jumped to his feet to protest, but I was ready for him. My hand snaked out and grabbed his tie. I pulled his face close to mine. “I am the only one who can control you, and you want that, don’t you?” I said, my voice soft and deadly. “It terrifies you, but you’d give me the world on a platter just to keep me in your office. You expect me to believe it’s just because I’m good at my job?”

I could see the hardness in his eyes beginning to crack. I could almost see the man behind it, and I knew he was lost as well as afraid. How many times had I seen the same thing, before they offered up their lives to me? How long had it been since I’d had that pleasure, and power? It was like a drug, Jake had said once. You might stop taking it, but you would never, ever stop craving it. I wanted to be worshipped again.

“I need you to stay,” he croaked. “Please, Ms. Carly.”

It was a tacit admission that I was right. It wasn’t asking politely, not anymore. He was close to begging. He had no more cards to play; knowing my past was all he had, and that had already cost him the only contact he had with me. I could have him, if I wanted him. My blood surged in my veins.

“I deal in a different currency than dollars,” I said. “If you really need me, then I’ll require something more… and I think you want it too, Mr. Robson. You want things you’d never admit to.”

I let go of his tie, and trailed my fingertips down his chest. Toned, and passably handsome, but I wanted his mind more than his body. He shivered very slightly at my touch. I had to let him make the choice to go farther than this, to let me take all of him.

“You think you have my number, Ms. Carly?” he asked, and he sounded a little too hoarse.

“If I’m wrong, you can take your clothes and your coat and leave. If I’m right…” I stepped back, and pointed at my bedroom. “Decide. Now.”

I watched his inner battle. This was a gamble, but one I was sure to win. A man who was prepared to offer me fifty million wouldn’t walk away.

He closed his eyes and took several deep breaths. When he started to move, it was as if he were sleep-walking. He went to my bedroom door, opened it, and entered without switching on the light.

The feeling of triumph was sweet indeed. I checked the door to make sure it was locked, and followed him.

The light in my bedroom was always muted. When I flicked the switch, I saw him staring at my four poster bed. I couldn’t imagine what he thought of my taste in decor – the rest of my apartment was light, modern and tasteful, but my bedroom had to reflect my inner self, and it demanded dark wood, velvet furnishings, and rich reds and cream colors everywhere.

I shut the door, and he jumped. I pointed at the bed. “Sit,” I said, “and wait.”

I went to my dresser, and opened the top drawer. There was a long, thin bundle of blue wool at the back, and I drew it out reverentially and placed it on top. My fingers seemed to tingle as I ran them over the soft material; every goddess needed her scepter, and this was mine. But first…

“Strip,” I said, not looking to see if he complied. I pulled the tank top over my head and let it slip to the ground, followed by my pants. No bra, only my plain black panties – but as soon as I laid a hand on the soft bundle again, I felt the old familiar thread of invulnerability.

“I have seen so many men,” I said conversationally, “men that came to me searching for something. Sometimes they wanted validation, or release. Sometimes they asked for me to take the pain inside their heads away. Many didn’t know what they wanted, until I gave it to them.”

I lifted the bundle and turned to him. He was sitting on the bed, his clothes lying beside him. He was not hard yet. I had his full attention, and I enjoyed the way his eyes ran over my body. I pulled some of the pashmina wool scarf aside and drew out my black riding crop, swishing it through the air and reveling in the sound it made.

I had worn leather and metal in my time, but it was all for show. The real power was in the voice, in the eyes, in every movement. Here was a man, and my darker side already knew how to pull his every string, and when I was done with him… if I was ever done with him… he would kiss my feet and beg for my love.

The crop was another memento of my past life. It was symbol of what I had been and still was, in a way, as well as being an instrument. I moved in front of him, and lifted his chin with the tip of it. He was scared, and I wanted to drink his fear like fine wine.

“It’s not easy, is it?” My voice was soft, almost comforting, as I stroked his cheek. “Dealing with the pressure of being in command, every day. They told you that you needed to be hard, to be successful, and you found out that the price was never, ever being allowed a moment of softness. It becomes automatic, even when you’re with a wife or one of those silly little secretaries, doesn’t it? They wanted to be taken care of. They expect you to lead, even when you already carry the weight of the whole world on your shoulders.”

His lips parted, but no sound came out. He looked up at me with something like shock in his eyes, and a deep kind of yearning; he couldn’t articulate it, but I knew what he needed, and why he had come out to my apartment in the rain.

Let me forget what I have to be. Help me to let go.

Time for me to exert control.

I stepped back, and pointed at the ground in front of me. “On your knees,” I growled. He complied instantly. I grabbed a handful of his hair, and pulled his head back. “I am Mistress. I am your goddess. I will stop if you beg me, if you pray to me.”

The riding crop twirled in my hand. I shoved him down on all fours, and he had barely caught himself before I delivered the first stinging slap to his back.

He jumped, but did not cry out. Good. He was strong.

“So many years at work, and for what?”

Whack!

“They told you every day that it’s all about the money. One more merger, a few more hundred million – maybe then, your life will mean something.”

Whack!

I leaned down, grabbed his chin and lifted his face up to mine. “You spent yourself every day, always being the one where the buck stops, and all you got was more empty – fucking – money.”

I hit him again, hard, and got a sharp gasp. I trailed the crop down the middle of his back to his buttocks. “Was it worth it, being tough all the time?” I asked softly. “Was it worth it, when your wives walked away from you?” Another strike, this time on his hip, and now he cried out. My darker side exalted in the sound of pain. I wanted to rip my nails down his back, tear chunks out of his chest, and make visceral, bloody love to him. I held back the urge.

“I wonder how long you’ve wanted it to stop,” I said. “How many times have you thought about leaving? But that’s not an option, is it?”

Whack!

“You don’t know how to let go. You’ve played the game so long you don’t know any other way to live.”

Whack!

I leaned into it, put more strength behind each stroke, and aimed at the most abused part of his shoulders. He cried out every time.

“Is this how tough you are?” I snarled. Whack! “Is this what you threw away your life for?” Whack! “Is it worth it?” WHACK!

“Beg me to stop, Matthew!”

WHACK!

“BEG FOR IT TO STOP!”

WHACK!

“BEG ME!”

STOP!” He screamed and clutched at my leg. I could feel his whole body shaking, his quick breaths on my skin. “Stop, make it stop!” he cried pitifully. “Please, please…”

I had him.

I dropped to my knees beside him and pulled him into my arms. His choked sobs were muffled by my breasts, and he clung to me like a frightened child. The crop was discarded in favor of the wool scarf as I rocked him gently and made shushing noises in his ear, and I used it to wipe his forehead.

This was real power. It filled me, completed me in a way that nothing else could, to be able to break through the walls inside a man’s head and find his true self. Not all the money in the world could buy another person’s soul, but all I needed were the right words and he would offer it up to me for nothing. The intensity of that knowledge made me ache for the pleasure of taking his body as well.

There would be time enough for more reflection later. He needed comfort now.

“On the bed,” I said, far more gently than I had been a few moments before. “Shhh, it’ll be alright, come with me.”

He staggered to his feet and collapsed onto it, and, with a few tugs and quiet words, I maneuvered him around until he was sprawled out on it on his back. The red marks on his skin would be sore, but they would fade eventually. He was worn down, vulnerable, shattered from the experience of being whipped. All he could do was lie there and try to catch his breath. I hooked the scarf onto the middle of the headboard, and loosely tied his wrists up.

My panties joined the rest of my clothes on the floor, and I straddled his legs. He smelled sweaty, like a man should. The hardness had faded along with his pride, and he moaned when he felt the weight of my body on his. I spread myself on top of him and touched his cheek and lips.

“I’ll take it all away,” I whispered. I could be kind just as easily as I could be cruel. Maybe he had spent years being beaten down under the pressure of always having to be strong, calculating and self-assured. Maybe I had given him a measure of relief, and he had looked into my background because he needed more than a PA could give; the act of a desperate man, suffering without really understanding why. I could forgive him for the intrusion, in time. All that mattered now, however, was that I had him, and I would make him better.

I started with soft kisses and touches, moving my body against his. I came back to his mouth again and again, giving him a little more every time, working out the tension with my fingers and lips. I traced the scar of an appendectomy with my tongue, and wondered how long he had carried it. I found that his grey hair did not extend below his waist, and he was uncircumcised. By his size and length, I would certainly be satisfied – but my satisfaction would be my own responsibility.

He moaned again, and his hands twisted impotently in the fabric. The sweet throb between my legs took on a more urgent tempo. I returned to his mouth; I wanted to bite him, to hear him begging for me once more with blood streaking his lips, but that would not happen tonight. “Just relax,” I said soothingly. “I’ll take care of everything, Matthew. I always do.”

Condoms, condoms… ah yes, I still had some in my bedside table. I rolled off him, fished one out and kept it within easy reach. He needed more attention to be fully ready, even though I was long since wet enough. I ran my hands all over his groin, keeping the pressure light at first as I explored the most sensitive part of his skin, then building it up slowly until he was writhing and whimpering for me.

The sounds were too much. I had to have him quickly, or I might lose my self-control entirely. With the condom rolled onto him, I sat across him again and worked his cock into me. Feeling his heat sliding into mine was the sweetest, most desperate relief I had known in seven years of wanting; it eased the terrible, frustrated ache of being a goddess without a congregation.

There was no sound from him, only the unconscious rise and fall of his hips under me. He had no words for this. It was slow and beautiful, the way his body tensed and relaxed in surges as I moved above him. It was pleasure I had been denied too long and missed too much. It was power unlike any other, to enfold another person inside me and direct their every thought, every sensation.

A breathless chuckle escaped my lips. He was so hard now, in a very different way, and so helpless. I knew I was close, and I needed him to be as well. I leaned in and kissed his neck.

“Pray to me,” I whispered. “Give me everything, Matthew, and I’ll make you live again.”

I clenched around him and drove him a little harder. He began to gasp for breath, his hands straining again against the scarf, every movement becoming urgent and wanting. Just a little more, just a little higher… I wanted to attack, to scratch my name into his chest and mark him as mine, but I needed to resist. I planted my hands on either side of his torso and gripped the sheets, holding on a little bit longer.

“Please…” he mumbled, “Please… oh god, Mistress!”

And then I knew nothing but the dizzy, glorious rush of my orgasm, and it made me rut on top of him like an animal. He bucked underneath me in turn and I felt the pulse and heat of his own climax, while he called out my name over and over and begged me for anything and nothing. Pleasure and fire, sweet and painful; I loved every second of it, and tried to claw back the feeling as it faded.

The high left me shaky, but he was almost unconscious. I slid off him and waited for my limbs to steady themselves, then retrieved a box of tissues from my dresser. With a certain sense of ritual about my movements, I removed the condom and cleaned him up. Only then did I untie his hands and lay them down by his side.

He groaned, of course. I massaged the stiffness from his sore muscles. It took a little more maneuvering and cajoling, but I eventually got him under the sheets. His back and shoulders were red from the riding crop, but the marks would not last more than a day or two. I would see to them in the morning.

I lay beside him, and he immediately turned over and grasped at me. He curled around my body as if he were trying to hide from the world in my embrace. Poor little lost man, I thought. With my arms around him, my hand stroking his hair, and his head resting on my chest, I let him cry again, silently, until he fell asleep.

*****

My usual breakfast was oatmeal. I suppose some people would consider that boring, but it was fast and healthy and I liked the taste. I kept my bacon, eggs and waffles for my days off. This was not such a day, strictly speaking, but the circumstances were unusual enough that I felt the morning merited some extra carbs.

Mr. Robson – Matthew, I could hardly keep calling him by his second name now – was still asleep. It was just after nine am. I was not used to sharing my bed, but he had hardly moved an inch during the night. He slept so soundly that he had not felt me getting up or heard me in the shower. His clothes were left on the bed for him. I had chosen loose, flowing pants today, and a plain sleeveless top; something to compliment the bright, fresh sunshine after the previous night’s rain.

A quick call to the office while I cooked took care of any outstanding issues. Yes, I bent the truth a little, but I would not be questioned. As I measured out some tea, I heard movement and the sound of running water, and I smiled.

He appeared as I placed our breakfast on the coffee table, wearing only his pants and shirt. His wet hair stuck out at odd angles. In six months, I had never seen him so unsure of himself.

I pointed at the couch. “Sit,” I said. “You need to eat something.”

He went to the chair, and I quickly caught his arm and redirected him onto the couch. “You sit beside me, Matthew. And take off your shirt, I want to look at your back.”

“It doesn’t hurt,” he said, but shed it anyway. I handed him the waffles and turned him away from me. Such male bravado. I knew exactly how hard I had hit him. Of course it hurt.

I kept a bottle of aloe vera gel for sunburns, but it did just as well for this. As he ate, I spread it over his back. He barely twitched as the cold substance touched his skin, and I was pleased by his trust. When I was done and the waffles were gone, I wiped my hands on a towel and helped him back into his shirt.

We ate the rest of breakfast in silence.

As I poured two cups of tea, he spoke again, sounding more like the CEO I was accustomed to.

“What time is it?” he asked.

I handed him a cup. “Nine-thirty. I’ve already called Jennifer and told her you would be working from home today. Your meetings have been rescheduled. If anything serious happens, she has instructions to contact me first.”

I sipped my tea as he stared at me and frowned. “You shouldn’t have done that,” he said.

“You need time,” I said, looking pointedly at him. “More than that, you need a day of rest after last night. Did you think you could have an experience like that and just go back to your office as if nothing had happened?”

“I didn’t think it would be…” He scrubbed his hand through his hair, trying to comb it out with his fingers. “I don’t know. I wasn’t expecting… all that.”

I wasn’t the only one for whom old habits died hard. He was closing up again, and I would not allow that to happen.

I pulled his chin around to face me, and kissed him softly on the lips. The tough exterior dissolved, and his expression instantly changed from irritation to confusion, and wonder, and need. It didn’t take much to remind him physically of what I had done – what we had done – and how much of his inner self I knew now.

“You were expecting chains, perhaps?” I said playfully. “Leather? Ball gags? I would never have really hurt you, not on your first time. I am better than that.”

“I… I thought I would get what I deserved.”

I shook my head. “Hollywood movies are not a good reference for sex in any form, Matthew. It’s not always about punishment, and it’s never all about pain. Most of the men I saw could have paid someone far less to simply hurt them. They paid me because they needed it to be meaningful, or enjoyable.”

I wasn’t sure if he could really understand the deeper philosophical aspects of domination. It wasn’t a justification, but I hoped it would help him parse his new experience of it.

He leaned in and buried his face in my neck. I laid my arm across his shoulders as gently as possible to avoid jarring his sore skin.

“I think I’ve needed you for a very long time,” he murmured.

I smiled. “I know.”

—————-

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