I stared out into the darkness beyond my computer screen and pushed a recalcitrant blonde curl out of my eyes. The sun had set half an hour ago, and the orange glow of the street lights shone through the window, casting strange shadows into the room.
The road outside the house lay quiet. The rush hour happened even in the quiet English backwater of Lower Ashleigh village, but our neighbours in the cottages across the street had returned from work long ago. I loved living here, so close to the countryside, but sometimes when the night closed in, Ashleigh House felt too large and empty, and I longed for the bustle and bright lights of the city.
I ought to get up and draw the curtains, but I switched on the desk lamp instead, before flicking through my notes. What was the point in shutting out the night when I could feel the darkness restless within me? It was difficult to describe, but it was something essential to my nature. It could be a source of great happiness and wonder. But these unfulfilled days had gone on so long that I wondered if I would ever know that joy again.
I sighed, feeling restless and edgy. If I kept busy, its siren call could be ignored, but recently the velvet voice inside me had become stronger and more persistent. It was insistent and coaxing by turns, waking me up in the small hours with a yearning in my soul.
There’s a hole inside me that only one thing can fill. Dominance, control, discipline, call it what you will. Without it I am like a rudderless craft drifting aimlessly through my life.
The computer bleeped, rousing me from my reverie and banishing the bleak thoughts that floated round in my head. I turned my attention back to the screen. Squinting at the Web page, I jotted down a few notes before moving on to the next site.
My tongue curled up in disgust as a foul taste flooded my mouth. Grabbing a tissue from the box on the desk, I spat into it, cursing my absentmindedness. That would teach me to bite the end of my pen. I stuck out my tongue and squinted at my reflection in the window. The desk lamp beside me cast my image onto the glass, but it wasn’t bright enough for me to see if I had left a telltale mark.
Did it matter if I could see it or not? I had disobeyed a direct order. I grimaced and then shivered with the realisation that I was in trouble. Perhaps I could hide until it had worn off?
I shook my head. The ingrained habit of total honesty made me shudder at the thought of deception. I might as well get it over with. “C’mon, Cassie,” I murmured to myself, “You know that confession is good for the soul.”
I threw the ruined pen in the wastebasket and switched off the computer. Waiting for it to power down made me twitch with nerves, but nonetheless, I was thorough and made sure my desk was as tidy as when I’d begun work. I forced myself out of my room and glanced at my watch. My Master would, no doubt, still be toiling away. I frowned. In my humble opinion, Mike worked too hard; it would do him good to finish early.
So why, just a few moments later, was I still hovering outside the door to his study like a nervous schoolgirl? Are you afraid you’re going to get a caning? Or are you more afraid that you won’t?
The velvet voice whispered in my head, and I felt an answering tug in my loins. Desperate to quell my knowing subconscious, I plucked up my courage and tapped on his door.
“Yes?” The voice that answered sounding preoccupied.
I squared my shoulders. Depending on Mike’s mood this could be unpleasant. He hated to be disturbed if he was deeply involved in his work, as it altered his train of thought. He had been putting in long hours at the studio for the last couple of weeks and getting home late, only to retire to his study to do even more work after dinner.
“Excuse me, Mike, I’m sorry to interrupt you, but I need to report an infraction.”
“One moment.” I watched warily as Mike swivelled his chair round to face me. “Is it important?”
“No, sir, it can wait.” I hovered anxiously in the doorway.
I saw him suppress a grin, and I shivered. It seemed he always knew just what was going through my mind. I knew that he’d be able to read the conflict within me on my face. He’d see the remorse warring with the desire to get the punishment over and done.
“Now what has my perfect slave been up to that makes her come here in fear and trembling? Perhaps she should wait until a more convenient time to make her confession?” Mike raised an eyebrow, and I glimpsed the steel under the tone of velvet amusement.
He allowed a smile to cross his face as I tried not to show just what I thought of that idea. Patience has never been one of my virtues, and I couldn’t bear the idea of stewing over my mistake while I waited on his pleasure.
“I think I’m going to enjoy this.”
His words hiked my heartbeat up a notch. Had he noticed that catch in my breathing?
“Come in and wait there.” He pointed to the spot just to the side of him at his desk. He half swivelled his chair back into place, and I began to relax. Abruptly, he swung back again to face me. He had timed it to perfection, his sudden change of direction making me jump. I saw the glint of satisfaction in his eyes, and I hastily looked away, choosing instead to stare down at the carpet.
“Perhaps you’d better tell me what the infraction is, my little lawbreaker. I’ll decide whether to leave the punishment until later.” He’d have to be blind to miss the quiver that ran through me at those words.
It had been a long time since he’d seen that response from me. How had we allowed ourselves to become so complacent? I thought back over the last few months and the number of times Mike had felt it necessary to correct or torment me, simply for his own pleasure. I was alarmed when I realised how few those times had been.
I licked my lips nervously as I noticed he was scrutinising me from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. I didn’t think anything about my appearance had changed for the worse. My honey gold hair cascaded over my shoulders. It was long enough for Mike to wrap his hand or his cock in, as I remembered with pleasure.
I still had striking green eyes that I knew darkened when aroused. Mike had also once said that my mouth begged to be kissed. I noticed that his inspection continued to my cleavage and rounded breasts. I blushed as his gaze lingered, growing more heated, before progressing past my hips, along my long, jean-clad legs to my bare feet. I even tried to keep my toes perfect, the nails covered in a pretty pink polish.
Oh, yes, I knew that Mike thought I was a very sexy woman, but appearances weren’t enough for him. It was the hint of uncertainty that showed in my eyes -- a reaction that couldn’t be faked, at least not by me -- that really seemed to stir him. Mike had always said that my face was an open book for anyone with half a brain to read. Could he see what I longed for, or had I hidden it too well out of courtesy for his needs?
I found it so hard to ask for what I wanted, a legacy from my childhood as a clergyman’s daughter. As a child I was taught to put others before myself. I had overcome or ignored many strictures from my early life, but demanding fulfilment was still beyond me. So I begged silently as Mike’s prolonged examination of my body continued, and I felt my heartbeat quicken with anticipation.