“So there’s this thing.” Alicia scrunched her shoulders and folded her hands together. She’d been doing that gesture with her hands all dinner long, and she hadn’t been her usual talkative self. She was a pleasingly plump woman with long brown hair. The green dress she wore had a low, square cut that gave him a very nice view of full breasts he wanted to get his hands on.
Craig nodded, trying to look encouraging. He’d noticed Alicia’s nervousness, and it had worn on him. This was their third meeting since connecting on a dating site, and he found Alicia to be charming and witty, and he thought she liked him too. He didn’t have expectations, but he’d made sure his apartment was nice and clean in case she was interested in coming over. But this date was different somehow, and he wasn’t sure if it was going well or badly.
“What thing is that, Alicia?” He liked saying her name.
Alicia’s gaze darted away for a moment, and then she squared her shoulders and faced him. “You know, I like you.”
He smiled, trying to ignore the “but” he heard in his mind. “I like you too.”
“And you’re going to be very disappointed in me.”
“How so?” He figured he knew. She was dating someone else. That was normal enough, he supposed. He didn’t have to like it.
Alicia took a deep breath. Usually Craig would have appreciated the way that moved her chest, but right now, that didn’t seem horribly important. If she is dating someone else, I’m going to keep trying with her, if she’s open to that. I don’t want to share, but I’m not willing to give up.
“I already know from your profile that it isn’t your kind of thing, but I’m very curious. I feel like there’s a part of me that I really need to explore, and yet I’m enjoying exploring what we have too. And I don’t want to feel like I’m being unfaithful to you.”
That was as clear as mud. “What’s not my kind of thing?”
“Well. I found out that there is a newbie night tomorrow at a local BDSM club, and I want to go. Maybe it won’t be as interesting as all that, I don’t know, but I think I need to go and see what it’s all about, because I’ve been curious for a very long time, and this seems like the ideal opportunity.”
BDSM. Bondage, Discipline, Sadism, Masochism. Or was it Dominance and Submission and Mastery? Something like that. Craig stared at Alicia. She seemed like such a nice, normal girl. He’d thought of her as somewhat sheltered. She worked long hours as a systems analyst for a local computing firm and spent most of her free time reading books.
He knew what she meant about his profile. The dating site had a whole series of user-generated questions one could answer, and some of the questions had made him recoil. No, he didn’t want to cause pain. He would not consider cutting a lover, thank you very much.
Maybe I should walk away.
But he didn’t want to. “What got you curious?”
“Some of the books I’ve read. Those romances can get pretty graphic these days, you know.”
His own reading tastes ran more to mysteries. “I’ve heard. Are you interested in sadism or masochism?” If she needed to take a few whacks at him with a whip to get it out of her system, he figured he could endure that. Providing it really did get it out of her system.
“Neither. I don’t think I want pain, as such. But I think I’m a submissive. And I’m curious as to what all those toys feel like, which is why this is attractive. They’re going to have experts demonstrating.”
“So you’re going there to get whipped?”
“I think the word they use is ‘flogged.’ But yes, I’d like to see. Just for a few minutes, maybe, and not too hard.”
He gave her credit for not looking away. A vision flashed through his mind of her bare back exposed, and someone swinging a whip at her, leaving a dark red mark on her. He tried to avoid cringing, but the thought of pain was quickly replaced by something else. I want to protect her. What really goes on in a place like that?
“You’re not going there to have sex, are you?”
She shook her head. “No. Honestly. I think people do, although I’m really not sure. I just want to feel some of the toys and things.”
“Then it’s not really unfaithful, is it?” He wasn’t entirely sure, but he wanted to be gracious. His gut clenched at the thought of her being intimate with anyone else. They hadn’t committed to each other, however, and he was aware of that.
She smiled. “I’m glad you see it that way.” The smile disappeared. “But what if I like it?”
What if, indeed. Why would she like it? That stuff had never made sense to him, and she was a sensible girl. He had to have faith. Still, that image of someone hurting her played on his mind. “Take me with you.”
She stared at him.
“Take me with you,” he repeated.
“But it’s not your thing,” she said. “I know that. I should have resolved these things one way or the other before I started dating you, but I didn’t, and now…”
“I don’t think I could whip anyone. Especially you. But I’d rather go with you than have you go alone.” He had a feeling she wouldn’t respond well to him telling her that he felt a need to keep her safe. “Or do you already have a date?”
“I don’t already have a date. My friend Susie was going to go with me, but she got a hot dancing date instead, so I was going to go by myself. Honestly, I almost cancelled. I would love, love, love to have you with me. But…”
“I don’t want you holding me back. This is something I need, or I’ll forever wonder about it. And I want to find out before our relationship goes much further, because if I decide later on that I need some kink, it’s going to be very painful for both of us.”
That made sense, although he didn’t want it to. “I’ll be a supportive partner,” he promised. “If anybody tries to do something to you that you don’t want, though, he’ll have to answer to me.” At six-three and built, Craig felt comfortable he could hold his own against almost anyone. Hours in the gym had seen to that. Exercise was an excellent way to work off the stress of climbing his way up the company ladder. He barely had time for relationships and usually settled for quick hookups. Alicia was an exception, and he’d been starting to think in terms of making his relationship with her last, even though he knew it was premature.
She smiled. “I don’t think I have to worry about anyone, then. Although Susie says it’s very safe and that there are monitors who patrol the place, making sure there are no ‘consent violations.’ Just don’t let yourself get gagged, she told me. As if. Although I suppose lots of people have wished I would shut up in the past.”
Alicia had stopped playing with her hands, and the words were flowing again. Craig guessed that Alicia did 70 percent of the talking on their dates, but he didn’t mind. His job was essentially social, almost political at times, and he spent most of the day talking to people. Alicia, on the other hand, spent most of her day staring at a screen. He figured it was a good break for both of them. “I like hearing your voice. And I like hearing about what you’re interested in. BDSM, huh? I can’t say I know much about it.” But I’ll read up tomorrow, so I have some idea what to expect.
Alicia grinned. “Well, we’ll both know more after tomorrow night. Nothing like diving in!”
As long as you don’t get hurt.
Alicia’s spontaneity was one of the things Craig liked about her. He thought it would be good for him to be around someone who went out and did things without so much planning, and Alicia was that kind of person. Their second date had been planned as a walk through a park, but they had ended up joining a pickup softball game, and Craig had a blast. There was no way he would have ended up jumping in without Alicia. But her impulsiveness was part of the reason he felt protective of her too.
The waiter brought the check, and Craig reached for it. Alicia put her hand on his, which was on top of the checkbook. “My turn, remember?”
Craig frowned, not moving his hand. “I can get it. It’s fine.” As far as he was concerned, chivalry was not dead, and it wasn’t like he didn’t make enough.
“We both have jobs, we both make money, we can both pay checks,” Alicia insisted. “I told you on our first date we’d have to take turns.”
Submissive, my ass.
“This is our third date. Odd numbers are mine.”
Alicia didn’t budge. “Our second one was entirely free. This is the second date that there’s something to pay for.”
They locked gazes for a long moment. Finally, Craig said, “Movie after, on me?”
“Okay,” said Alicia, and smiled. “A movie sounds good.”
Craig withdrew his hand and let Alicia pay.
The movie wasn’t that good, but it was tense, and Craig enjoyed the way Alicia snuggled up to him. He suspected that she was acting more bothered than she was. When he moved his hand down so that it caressed the side of her breast, she smiled at him. He was tempted to go further, but the theater was crowded enough that he resisted, even when she reached down to squeeze his thigh.
After the movie, he walked her to her car, still thinking about what she’d said at dinner as they walked across the asphalt parking lot. He didn’t understand why such a sweet girl would be interested in whips and chains and all that. Hopefully, one night at a club would change her mind, but it didn’t make her any less desirable to him. He took her hand. She held on until they arrived at her car, a four-door compact in steel gray.
She unlocked and opened the door and turned to face him. He kissed her, drinking in the sweetness of her lips as she tilted her head up. Her soft, lush body felt good pressed against his.
“Perhaps you’d like to come to my place for a cup of coffee?” he asked, wanting more of her, preferably in private.
“I’d love that,” she said. “But…”
“But I think that a cup of coffee would turn out to be more, and as much as I’d love that too, I think we should hold off. See how tomorrow goes. I could very easily lose my heart to you, Craig, and I need to find this out about myself first.” She shrugged, giving him a kind of awkward smile. “I’m sorry.”
He nodded, liking the whole BDSM thing less and less. Just when I finally find a girl worth more than a one-night stand. Although the easily losing her heart part sounded promising.
“You’re worth waiting for, Alicia.” He smiled and let her go. “But if I keep holding you like this, I’m going to be very frustrated.” Was that oversharing? I meant it as a compliment.
“Oh, me too. I’m going to have a play when I get home.” Alicia smirked at him. “But I’m not in danger of bonding with my vibrator. I mean, well, I already have, but you know…” She blushed. “I’m going to go now.” She started to slip into the driver’s seat.
“One thing, first.” To hell with frustration.
He grabbed her shoulders and kissed her hard. For a moment, she tensed; then her body relaxed in his hands, and her lips yielded to his tongue. Their tongues danced until they were both breathless.
He let her go and helped her into the car. “Have fun,” he said. “Think of me. I’ll be thinking of you when I use my hand.”
Her mouth gaped open. He made sure her leg was tucked in and closed her door before turning away. He heard her start the engine as he headed toward his own car. He knew he wouldn’t just be thinking about her; he’d be thinking about her with a vibrator. What kind was it? Did it look like a cock, or was it a smooth shaft, or perhaps one of those ergonomic ones that weren’t phallic at all that he’d seen in shop windows? Did she use it only on the outside, or in as well? It wasn’t any of his business, and he wasn’t going to ask her, but he was curious, and imagining it was doing nothing to quell the arousal that had started when her body was tight against him.
He hopped into his sleek, black Porsche and settled himself behind the wheel. Thoughts of Alicia masturbating were not going to make him a good driver. He took some breaths, cleared his mind, and turned over the engine.
Sindra van Yssel