The Softer Side
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The phone in Elspeth's little study rang only three times before she snatched it up.
"20 minutes," he says. No greeting, no endearments, just a terse statement that she has been waiting for days to hear.
His voice alone is enough to make her wet. There is a quality to it, hard to define, easy to identify, that projects calm strength and the absolute expectation of obedience.
He never says more than those two words to her when he calls. They are an instruction. She knows that he may as well be ringing a bell. Even as she part of mind is saving her work on her computer and recalling the location of her purse she feels her nipples come to attention in anticipation.
"I am Pavlov's bitch," she thinks to herself, "hot to trot at the sound of her master's voice".
Her movements are hurried, not just because she is excited but because she has only 20 minutes to reach the room they use: 2 minutes to Belsize Park Tube, a short ride to Camden Town and then a walk across Camden Lock to a lock-up under the railway arches that was once a garage and is now... she doesn't have a word for what it is. Love nest? No, love doesn't come into it. Torture Chamber? Too grand. In her head it is The Room. Not her room or his room, just The Room. She has screamed in The Room. She has consecrated the floor with her blood. She has spent some of the best moments of her life there.
Checking herself in the hall mirror before she steps out, she is amused to see that there is no outward sign of what she is, or at least what she is when she gets the call. The mirror shows a woman in her forties: good legs, thickening waist, breasts just the right size to fill her cupped hands, long hair that was once black but is now splashed with silver. She looks like someone's wife or someone's mother. She has been both of those things. It is not until she lifts her hair to put it in the ponytail he requires, not until she feels her nipples rub against her blouse, that she glimpses, just for a second, what she now is: someone's slut.
Belsize Park Tube is buried deep. Before they put the new lifts in, back when the doors where just a fretwork of metal that concertinaed open and closed, she would watch the layers of earth passing her by and think of Alice falling in the Rabbit hole. Now the descent is swift and sheathed in well lit steel, yet she still feels she is leaving the real world behind as she falls towards her train.
Even a short journey on the Tube numbs her. So many people in so small a space and all of them trying to pretend that their fellow passengers don't exist. She wonders if he ever travels by Tube. She has never asked him. If he does, she feels sure that there will be a space around him, created by his personal forcefield, his fuck-off-and-die stare.
He is so imperious sometimes that she wants to laugh. But she knows that the laughter is defensive, a way for her to pretend that he can't rip her open with a look and consume her blood soaked heart.
She met him at a book reading. She was one of three authors who had been chosen to boost the opening of "Between the Covers" a new bookshop specialising in Erotic Fiction. She wrote what she thought of as "bodice rippers with balls" and they sold well. She hated reading her work aloud, it felt silly and it made her nervous. Being nervous made her want to pee. There was of course a queue for the women's toilets, but none for the men's. "I'm a modern woman," she thought, "I can use the men's loo. It's not as if it's a urinal. The worst case is that they'll have left the seat up."
A delicious sensation of wickedness tickled at the nape of her neck as she stepped over the threshold. "If this is exciting then I need to get out more," she thought. But it was exciting, being in a forbidden place.
She moved past the sink, opened the door to the stall, pulled down her knickers, and sat. Now of course all ability to pee deserted her. She wanted to leave but she didn't want to have to come back, so she waited for nature to take its course.
Elspeth had the writer's curse of a vivid imagination and it often lead her to strange places. This time she found herself imaging men coming in here and refusing to sit. Choosing to stand and hold their cocks while they pissed. Why did they do that? Why not sit in comfort? And if they had to do it, why was their aim so bad? Maybe they played with themselves. What would that be like? Playing with yourself while peeing? She had never tried. Well why not? When in Rome do as the Roman's do. She closed her eyes and let her fingers play on her clit. There had been so many times, just before orgasm, when she'd be worried that she might pee before he'd finished. Now she was trying to finish so she could pee. The thought made her feel wicked and strong. She was dam well going to do it. She was going to come and pee at the same time in the men's loo of an up-market erotic bookstore and then she was going to sign books all evening and no-one would ever know.
It was one of those times when her clit was completely ready and the orgasm rolled across her just as the pee started to flow. She came quietly, sucking on her lip, making that small mewing sound that her husband had hated. "I feel like I'm strangling a kitten," he'd said. Not that he had made her come that often. She leant back against the wall, letting her fingers stroke her doubly wet sex and enjoying the post-orgasm languor. She knew that her face was flushed. She smiled at what a slut she'd been. She was still smiling when she opened the door to the stall and saw him standing there.
She knew at once who he was: Adam Stone, one of the other authors giving a reading. He wrote bondage books with just enough intellectual muscle to win reviews in the Sunday Times. His last effort, "A woman in flames" had been made into a Channel 4 film. Elspeth envied his writing style and the content made her wriggle but she had wondered about what kind of man it took to think such dark thoughts and persuade others that it was art.
When she'd seen Adam's name on the list of speakers, Elspeth had been excited. She had imagined talking with him over a glass of chardonnay, trading insights into the nature of erotica. She hadn't expected to come face to face with him in the men's toilet, with her face flushed and her fingers smelling of piss and cunt juice.
She wanted to say, "How long have you been standing there?" or to apologise for using the men's loos. She wanted to know if he'd heard her come. How would he comment on that, "Do you come here often?" She listed all of these wants in a flash and discarded them. With a calm that amazed her, she held out her hand and said, "Hello Adam, I'm Elspeth Cairns."
She was pleased with herself until Adam lifted her hand to his lips and sniffed. He knew. He'd been standing there listening. She couldn't move, Adam's eyes had pinned her to the spot. He sucked two of her fingers into his mouth. Her cunt spasmed and she stumbled forward against him.
Adam caught her with his free arm, holding her against him. At that moment she wanted nothing more than to fuck him, right there in the men's loo. She wanted him to lift her up on to the sink and spread her legs and fuck her till it hurt. She wanted...
"You have a reading to give in 5 minutes," Adam's voice cut across her wants.
"You can leave here in 3 but you have to come first."
His words sounded normal, sane, almost ordinary. Of course she had to come first. Part of her mind was shouting "Elspeth Cairns! What do you think you are doing?", the rest of her was flowing into Adams arms.
He pressed her back against the stall. Her wet fingers were now against his face. Her eyes were closed. He didn't kiss her. Only his hands were touching her.
"Open your legs Elspeth. Wider. Lean against me. Good. I'm going to lift your leg. Don't wobble. Balance. Good."
He was talking to her quietly as if coaching her in some act of gymnastics and she was going with it. It didn't seem to her as if there was a choice. Her face was against his chest. His left hand had lifted her leg beneath the knee. His right hand pushed its way between her legs, his fingers homing in on her sex.
"Such wetness Elspeth. Such ripe wetness."
She felt pleased at that, smiled at his words. The smile turned into a grimace as two fingers entered her, warm, hard, insistent.
"Fuck my fingers Elspeth. Rock against them. Good. Very Good. Two minutes left. Fuck harder Elspeth. Good. You can do it."
It was insane. But it was good. So very very good. And the most insane thing of all was not that she was fucking the fingers of a man she'd just met, not even that she was trying so hard to come, the most insane thing was that she wanted to come because she wanted to please him. Because she wanted him to continue to tell her that she had done well.
"One minute Elpseth."
She reached for his fly, wanting to feel him. Wanting perhaps to slide him into her.
His voice was suddenly cold. She felt as if she had been slapped.
"Come on my fingers Elspeth. Do it now."
The Elspeth she knew, the Elspeth she had been for the past 40 years, should have slapped the man and told him to fuck off. The Elspeth that had risen up inside her in Adam's grasp swallowed her anger and bore down upon his fingers.
Maybe he wanted to reward her. Maybe she'd just become slick enough. Whatever the reason, his fingers reached her G spot, that tiny little bundle of nerve endings that controlled the on/off switch to her mind.
She cried when she came. Cried against the front of Adam's jacket.
She was still crying as he gently lowered her foot to the floor and helped her to stand. He tilted her head up towards his. His fingers smelled of her.
"Thank you Elspeth. Now I need a piss and you need to get out front and do your reading. Don't forget to wash your hands."
Then he stepped passed her into the stall and closed the door.
How could he leave her like that? How could he take her like that? How could she let him? Why was she standing here calmly washing her hands and straightening her clothes?
She could hear him pissing. He was standing up of course.
"Elspeth. Elspeth. Are you there?"
It was Sophie, her agent. Elspeth moved quickly out of the loo and was shepherded into the shop to do her reading.
Later her agent said that she'd read with passion, but Elspeth didn't register anything. She was on autopilot. Most of her attention was focused on the bizarre thing she had just done in the loo.
Adam arrived just as Elspeth was describing her heroine's first struggle with the villain who would later become both hero and lover.
"Clarissa felt the knife against her throat and saw the look of triumph in Angelo's eyes.
Surprise rippled across Angelo's face as the tiny blade that Clarissa had concealed in her sleeve slit the fabric of his codpiece. He stepped away from her, bending at the waist, staring in disbelief at the sliced material. Then he laughed. Laughed with his whole body. Laughed with his hands thrown out and his head back.
Before Clarissa could summon her guards, Angelo was gone, back out the window through which he had entered. Clarissa didn't call the guards; she was too busy trying to identify the emotion she now felt. She was surprised to discover that it was disappointment."
Elspeth felt embarrassed. The words were too trite and the emotion was too close to what had just happened. Except that Clarissa had said no for another eight chapters while she had been lead like a docile horse within seconds of meeting Adam.
Suddenly she was angry with him. She couldn't bear the thought of listening to him describe the bleak monologue of a woman struggling between her sense of dignity and propriety and her need to be tied and taken. She left. Left without signing a single book. Sophie had given her hell for that.
The next day a courier delivered a signed first edition of "A woman in flames" to Elspeth at her home. The card inside read, "You have so much potential Elspeth. Come to me and I will help you achieve it." Adam had left the number to his mobile.
She'd thrown the card away. Then retrieved it. Then locked it in her desk draw. Later she told Adam that she should have put it in a lead-lined box. It was a Kryptonite card. It made her weak whenever she came close to it. Two weeks later she called Adam and her journey towards this Tube train began.
At Chalk Farm another wave of bodies flowed into the train, filling it to the point where strangers where standing as close together as lovers. Elspeth raised her hands and grasped the bar above her head, letting herself hang, legs slightly spread, her arms taking her weight, swaying gently with the movement of the train. She liked the way her breasts moved in this stance, it made her feel vulnerable and enticing.
Elspeth closed her eyes and imagined herself in The Room. Adam liked to tie her in this position. Sometimes he would blindfold her, most often he would not. He liked to circle her, eating her with his eyes, testing her readiness, sniffing her need. She had been tied like this the first time he had clamped her nipples. Adam had used bulldog clips, metal jaws powered by fierce springs. She had screamed. The pain was unbearable and irresistible. It went on and on, longer than her screams. Her pain became the centre of her consciousness; there was room for nothing else.
Adam's voice, just behind her left ear, nudged her. "You like the pain don't you Elspeth?"
She had shaken her head. Of course she didn't like pain.
Adam's fingers explored her slit. "Your cunt knows you like pain."
She was slick. Slick. Sick. Slick. Sick. The words pattered against her mind like rain. She liked pain? What kind of sick person liked pain?
"Pain is real Elspeth. Pain leaves no room for doubt. Pain drags you screaming into pleasure."
He had entered her then, pushing deep into her arse in the way she had grown to love. When he was all the way in Adam had released the clamps. Skewered on his cock, like a butterfly in a display case, Elspeth had spent the next fifteen minutes learning just how much she loved pain.
The memory of Adam using the opening and closing of the clamps to keep time as he sodomised her bound and bruised flesh always made her gush. Always. Even here on this over crowded train.
Elspeth opened her eyes. A young woman, pressed to within inches of Elspeth's face by the human herd on this cattle transport, was looking at her, wide eyed. Elspeth didn't do women. Well, not often. Sometimes. To please Adam. It was not unpleasant but it wasn't... necessary. Not in the way that pain was necessary. Not in the way that the weight of Adam's foot on her neck was necessary. She knew her nipples were up and she suspected that she smelled of sex. The girl let the movement of the train edge her closer. Maybe...?
The train reached Camden Town; the girl fell briefly against Elspeth and then did not move away. All Elspeth needed to do was to stay on the train...
The doors whooshed open and a mechanical voice chanted "Mind The Gap. Stand Clear Of The Doors Please." over and over, lulling the cattle as they pushed out of the train and along the platform. Elspeth let herself be carried away from the girl and on towards Adam.
She checked her watch as stepped out into the sunlit chaos of Camden High Street. She still had 8 minutes. It was ridiculous of course, rushing just because Adam told her she had only 20 minutes to arrive. What if it took 25? Would that be so bad? Yes it would. If she were late Adam would be gone. Of course, just because she was on time didn't mean he would be there. Sometimes he made her wait. She hated waiting, hated it more than anything else he made her do. One of Adam's skills was that he always knew exactly how long to make her wait for things.
Sometimes she resented the imperious nature of Adam's call, living to his timescales and his priorities. More often she was amazed that she had the power to make him drop out of his world and into The Room.
Elspeth had often tried to imagine what it would feel like to pick up the phone and say,"20 minutes" in just that tone. She knew it was something she could never do and something that was as natural to him as breathing.
She had questions. Did he ever doubt that she would be there? Did he ring her because he wanted to, because he had to, or just because he could? And, the most tormenting question of all, did he call anyone else?
She knew that Adam would answer these questions honestly but she feared the answers and resented the weakness that prompted them. She also knew that all questions stopped in The Room. In The Room Elspeth she knew her place - their place. In The Room she had learnt about pain and about letting go. In The Room she had discovered that some hungers can be fed but never sated. The Room was full of first times: the first time he had hit her; the first time she had begged, on her knees, for him to hit her again; the first time she had known for sure that she would always be his.
There were many things about The Room that she could not predict. She never knew if Adam would fall upon her immediately, or sit and talk, or start the long slow process of provocation and delayed release. The one thing she could be sure of was Adam's attention. Elspeth is both inside and outside herself in The Room, observer and player. Adam is pure focus. All of his attention is on her. She can feel its physical force. He becomes her centre of gravity, the moon that governs the tides of her need.
Elspeth laughs at her own imagery, startling two teens that are walking past her. "Middle-aged women are too old to laugh out loud", their disdainful faces say. She wants to shout: "I am Adam's Slut. I am free to do as I please. In moments I will be somewhere you will never imagine." Instead, she quickens her pace, striding down to the canal path and then on to the railway arches that house The Room.
At the door she pauses, key in hand. Adam has asked her always to pause. "Never step carelessly over this threshold" he said, "always think about what you give up and leave behind, about what will happen to you here and about who you will become, then decide to enter."
At first she had thought this slightly pompous in an amusing sort of way, but over the years the answers to these questions have changed. He has moved the threshold. Many times. As she decides once more to enter, Elspeth feels the heat starts to flow. It is not lust, nor pain, nor embarrassment, this heat. The closest explanation she can give for what she feels is that is her body's anticipation of bliss.
Smiling she steps over the threshold, returning to the place that is now the closest thing she has to home.
Copyright 2002 Mike Kimera . All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.
Copyright © 1996 and on, Erotica Readers Association, Inc.
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