Mike didn’t go to Brink very often. For one thing, the cover charge was high to keep out tourists. For another, the last thing he needed was to somehow get caught exercising these sorts of proclivities, given the—at best—tentative state of his career. But with Jessica and then Harvey’s disappointment ringing sharp in his ears, even Rachel’s stunted forgiveness wasn’t really enough to allow him to feel comfortable in his own skin. He needed something more for that.
He was given a room card to stick outside the door. On it he wrote: “Dom. Thirty or up. M or F. Spanking, paddling, whipping, caning, temperature play, gagging, blindfolding, bondage fine. No humiliation, verbal abuse, asphyxiation, role play. Other kinks negotiable. Eager to please sub looking for appreciation. Safeword: Spectre.”
He fixed the card in the placard next to the door and went inside. He undressed, folding his clothes and setting them to the side. He was not by nature all that fastidious, but he liked to make a good impression when he did this.
He waited on the floor, hands behind his back, head down. There was a viewing slot that could slide back on each of the doors. His slid back and forth a few times. Ten minutes after the last peek, when Mike was starting to think the night might be a loss, the door opened, and a pair of stilettos walked through. Mike wanted to lick them. He stayed where he was.
The stilettos walked their way over to him, and the woman wearing them somehow managed to crouch gracefully in front of him. She brought her fingers to his chin and tipped his face up so that they were looking at each other, her face just slightly above his.
“Mist—“ Mike started, and then stopped. “Oh, um.”
Jessica smiled, sharp eyes enigmatic underneath lids painted in gold. Mike wanted to kiss at the corners of them. Alternately, he wanted to die. She said, “Say your safeword.”
Feeling the flush spread from the pit of his stomach through to his toes and up to the roots of his hair, Mike mumbled, “Spectre.”
Jessica caressed his right cheek once. “You’re beautiful like this.”
Mike could barely breathe for the way the praise felt, for how badly he wanted to just take it in.
She cupped his face in her hands. “Say it again, and I’ll leave this room, and neither of us will ever mention this to each other or anyone else. Stay silent, and what we do here will be between us and only us.”
Mike knew he should open his mouth, just say the damn word, go home and make himself sleep and try again some other night at some other club. He didn’t make a sound.
Jessica nodded. “Good. I’m glad.”
She rose and said, “Listen carefully to my instructions. Look at my face unless I say otherwise.”
Mike was terrified to do just that. It made all this real, meant that he was here, with Jessica, doing this. He looked up, and met her gaze. There was approval in it, and Mike started to sink into the subspace he so desperately needed at that moment.
“I want you to stand up. But as you do it, I want you to service me with your mouth, every inch of me, from my toes to my lips. The timing of each part is at your discretion. I will tell you if I want you to move on, or go back.”
When she paused long enough, Mike dared a, “Yes, mistress.”
A banked pleasure flared on her features for a moment. She said, “You may begin.”
He cleaned the stilettos, and then, having been given permission, removed them and worked with the same dedication on her feet. Unhooking her garters—also upon being allowed—he lost himself in the backs of her knees, smooth and just a bit softer than the skin of her calves. After a while—Mike couldn’t have even guessed at how long—she tugged at his hair a bit. He moved up, allowing himself a soft bite to the inside of her right thigh. She laughed, low and husky.
When he reached her clit through her silken panties, he asked, “May I, mistress?”
She was quiet for a moment. Then she said, “If you can take the edge off, that might merit a reward.”
Mike couldn’t stop himself from grinning, nor from trying. He slipped the panties down and she stepped out of them. After that, though, she didn’t make it easy on him. This wasn’t Mike’s first rodeo. Small guys who had an unfortunate tendency to spout odd facts had to have something to make up for their social failings with people they wanted to impress. And Mike was a quick learner, not just in the classroom or office or courtroom. It took a while, long enough that his jaw was aching and there was nothing on his mind but succeeding in his task.
When she had settled she murmured, “Mm, yes, I suppose that was worthy of a reward,” and bent down far enough to kiss him, sweetly and thoroughly.
Mike was entirely sure she could see his worship when she rose back up again. He didn’t care. He was long beyond that. She said, “You may continue.”
Mike was more than happy to do so.
When he was standing, she leaned down just enough to whisper in his ear. "I want you to stand still for me. I can tie you if you can't, but I'll be happier if I don’t have to."
Mike took a slow, deep breath. "I can stand, mistress."
"Good," she said, and walked away. Mike fought back a whimper. He was far enough down that he didn't want to be left by himself, not even for a moment. She only went across the room, though, to the toy cabinet, and then returned with a box.
She set the box on the bed, behind him, and stood at his back. She asked, "You remember your safe word, right?"
She repeated herself, "Good," and then Mike was plunged into darkness, as she slipped a blindfold over his eyes. She scraped her nails lightly down his back, and the sensation was infinitely stronger without his surroundings distracting him. He whimpered.
She said, "You make such sweet noises," her voice coming from in front of him once again. Then she pinched the skin just under his collarbone and snapped a clothespin, or something of that ilk onto the gathered skin.
He could hear the smile in her voice when she said, "Yes, just like that."
There was another clothespin, and another, and one right on his nipple, and then another, until Mike lost himself to the sensation of the burning pinch, carefully timed to give him just enough space in between each to feel the full extent of the pain. She did the other side of his chest and the insides of his thighs, down to his knees.
When he could barely hear anything for the buzzing in his mind, she kissed him lightly on the lips and said, “I want you to stay standing for me.”
The repeat command made no sense, she’d already told him that, and she knew about his memory, but Mike didn’t care, he was floating too hard to care. “Yes, mistress.”
She laughed slightly and said, “Take a breath. In. Out.”
He followed directions. She made him do it again. And then a third, “In,” and just when his breath had bottomed out in his lungs, his entire body turned to fire as all the pins came off in a neat line. Mike screamed and screamed but stayed on his feet, stayed standing. And then, when his screams died out, he could hear her voice again, telling him to breathe. He listened and the pain transformed itself, like before, only stronger, carrying him further.
“Good,” she whispered against one ear. “You’ve done so well.”
Mike had to work not to melt into the floor.
She guided him to the bed and put him on his stomach, making him breathe through the new pain of pressure against the recently zippered skin. She lifted his hips, sliding a pillow beneath them. Mike bit his tongue in the attempt not to beg, but when she ran her hand down the back of one leg, he lost all willpower. “Please, mistress, please.”
“Please, what, Michael?”
Nobody called Mike that, nobody since his parents, he’d never let anyone. Even Gram stayed clear of that, except a few times when she’d been angry. His safeword was on his lips when he realized that he…liked it. Jessica made it soft, even the consonants, and it sounded like an adult’s name, not a child’s. “Please fuck me, please, mistress.”
Her hand was on his other leg then, and she asked, again, “Remember your safeword?”
Mike swallowed, uncertain at the timing of the question, but also too ready to really pick things apart. “Yes, yes.”
“Mm,” she said and Mike understood, just a little when she pressed in, plenty of lube but no prep and—
“Fuck, fuck, please.” Mike tried raising his hips, pushing himself up into the intensity rather than away. It stung and stretched, but nothing too bad, nothing that could overcome the heat and perfection of being filled this way.
She slapped his hip lightly, a warning. “Stay where I put you.”
Mike sobbed, once, but he obeyed, trusted her to take care of him, to make it better than he could if he fought. She hissed, “Yes,” and then bore down, all the way, until she was pressed to his back, skin to skin and she was heavy and warm and safe.
Mike babbled, begged when she drew out, and she came back, as if she were listening, as if his needs mattered. This time, she bit at the tender part of his ear, sucking hard and sweet before she let go and said, “If you can come without touching yourself, you’re allowed.”
Then she pulled out and shifted so that every inch of her cock pressed along his prostate. Mike keened. She said, “But know this—I won’t stop until I’ve come, too.”
Mike’s vision went a little white, even behind the blindfold as she picked up the pace, not varying her angle, just short quick, then long slow slides against the exact right spot. Mike held on as long he could, knowing she’d already come, knowing how intense it would be afterward, when he was sensitive and drained and overwhelmed.
Jessica moaned, “Oh, you’re doing so well,” and Mike didn’t have a prayer of holding on.
Mike was never sure how he ended up on top, only that her words, “You do the work, now,” were amused and demanding, implacable. It was harsh, overwhelming, riding her in the aftermath of his orgasm, still high from the endorphins, trapped in the darkness of the blindfold. He wished he could take it off, could see her, but he knew the noises she made wouldn’t be as heady if he could.
When he was entirely sure he couldn’t handle it anymore, when his legs were shaking nearly too hard to hold him up, and everything had become a chorus of too much, too much, he begged, simple and sweet and, “Please, please, Mistress.”
She said, “Mm,” and took mercy on him.
Afterward, when Mike had collapsed on his side on the bed, his body one long, perfect ache, thrumming into time to measured breaths, and his mind preciously hazy, quiet, she murmured, “Close your eyes.”
He felt her take off the blindfold, but he kept his eyes closed. She would tell him when he could open them. Even if she didn’t, he wasn’t interested. When he opened his eyes it would be the two of them, Mike and Jessica, junior associate and Name Partner. Mike wanted to matter for just a little longer, to be enjoyed, treasured, for just a few more seconds.
She kissed his eyelids. “C’mon, open up.”
Resigning himself to the fact that his time was up, Mike did as told. She was laying across from him, expression careful. She asked, “How are you?”
Not really knowing how to talk about it, he just said, “Thank you, mistress.”
She stroked a thumb over the line of his neck and even though he knew he shouldn’t, Mike arched up into it, just a bit. She said, “I’ve never seen you here before.”
Mike shook his head. “I don’t usua—“ He closed his eyes again. “I needed it. Tonight. You know. You saw how I wa-- How I am. This can’t be a surprise.”
She tapped his chin. “Open up. Look at me when we’re talking.”
Mike opened his eyes, but didn’t say anything. She asked, “You think needing this has anything to do with being too soft?”
Mike worked his jaw, but he couldn’t find words to talk about how he could do anything to please Harvey, to please her, but not something that would make his grandma look at him like she didn’t know him. Hurting Rachel just to win would have done that. He could have never told Gram, never and had her see the same grandson she loved. Finally he said, “I’m controlled by my need for people to think well of me.” His voice was wry, his best attempt at indicating that he knew he was stating the obvious.
“Yes,” she said, but there wasn’t any of the condemnation that had been in her tone earlier that day.
All the same, Mike felt small, felt the clean burn of the past couple of hours fading away. She continued, “Mike, what we do, it’s hard. And sometimes you’re going to be the person people hate. Sometimes, you’re going to be the person who has saved everything for someone. There’s no way to get around that, not at the level we play at.”
“Maybe I’m not meant to play.” The words hurt, far more than anything Jessica had done to him that evening.
“Why’d you do it?” she asked.
“Let it go?”
“Because she mattered. And the game didn’t.”
“The game was your career.”
“No,” Mike disagreed. “You were disappointed, but you didn’t fire me. I can-- Trust me, I’ve been a fuck up my whole life. I can handle disappointment.”
She ran her fingers down the bruises from the zipper. Mike gasped. She smiled, a slow spread of knowledge over her lips. “With a little help, hm?”
Realizing he was probably taking his life into his hands, Mike said, “You knew. You knew it was me in this room and you came in anyway.”
“I suspected. I’m good at reading others.”
“Why’d you do it?” he parroted back.
“Because a heart may not be what I’m looking for in an employee, but it is something I value in another human being.”
Mike wasn’t sure how to respond to that. “Oh.”
“And because when I thought about it a little more, I decided it took a fair amount of steel in your manparts to make what was the right decision for yourself. It merited…further consideration.”
Mike blinked. “Manparts?”
She raised an eyebrow. “Still need a demonstration of how to find them? I thought I’d been a little more successful than that.”
He couldn’t help laughing. “Yes. Ma’am.”
“Michael,” she said, and this time he was glad she had chosen that name, something that nobody at the office called him.
“So long as there’s nothing more important to attend to, this is a weekly stress reliever for me.” She paused. “Do with that information as you will.”
Sometimes, Mike desperately wished he could monitor what came out of his mouth before the damage was done. Now was a good example of that: “Really?”
She rolled in closer to him, her lips brushing his forehead. “Really. You were perfect.”
Mike had been called a lot of things in his life, but never once perfect. He was glad he would remember the way she had said it, the exact cadence of her voice. He offered up, “You were better.”
Her laughter was warm on his skin.