The collar was hard to miss against her pale skin, sharp
against the soft curve of Belinda’s throat. I imagined I could see
the racing pulse under the studded black leather, unlikely as that was
in dinner candlelight.

I’d never seen her look so beautiful.

It wasn’t a romantic place where the four of us had gathered –
just a student hangout with good burgers and mediocre pizza. Mark and
I had only dessert, the raspberry soda of the Himbeersaft spilling out
onto my fingers as I resisted asking her to lick them clean. We’d
ordered Thai earlier, before coming to meet Belinda and this new man,
this stranger. Not a stranger to her, of course – not quite. They’d
known each other for months over the net, and in some ways Geoffrey
knew her better than I, who’d only known her well for a few months,
or even Mark, who usually shared his bed with her. Though they’d
never met in the flesh before that night, it was clear that Belinda’s
heart was in her throat, and Geoff’s eyes were oddly knowing as he
watched her.

A master has to know his slave.

He made me uneasy. Some feminist instinct prickled my skin
when she waited for his nod, when she lowered her eyes in shame at
some minor disobedience. There was a power in those dark eyes, those
over-large hands. And though a part of me wanted to rescue Belinda,
who clearly didn’t want rescuing, a part of me was perhaps…jealous?

There are times when independence is not desirable.

Mark’s arm was warm around me as we sat facing them in the
wooden booth, dinner over, nobody quite ready to take those first
steps out into the warm night. Belinda perhaps having second thoughts
about the slave role she enacted with this man, myself wondering
whether he’d think himself capable of mastering me, Mark perhaps
wondering if he’d sleep alone that night. I don’t know what Geoff was

Sometimes I wonder if he thought at all.

As we left the restaurant to meet some friends, we slid from
those pairings. Belinda’s breast soft against my face as I held her
back, letting the men walk forward. “Are you all right? Do you know
your safeword?”, questions serving to reassure a very real
anxiety…and assuage an overwhelming curiosity. She laughed, those
huge eyes smiling, and hugged me close. I wish I could remember what
she said that made me kiss her then…not sure whether I wanted to let
her go…not sure what he would do if I didn’t.

The night was very dark, and his eyes disappeared into it.

Later, I turned from laughing in a well-lit room with an old
lover to see Belinda kneeling on the table, legs spread, arms locked
behind her head, sweet breasts outthrust. My breath caught, and Geoff
turned towards me. Smiling, he asked if I’d liked to kiss her. I
answered that *I* didn’t need his permission…and slid across the
polished wooden table to kiss her deeply, caressing a breast and
feeling an inaudible moan in that pale, bound throat before releasing
her. The crowded room seemed oddly still, and a mixture of desire and shame
rose in me as I slid back into Mark’s ready arms. She still knelt
there, softly smiling. That somehow made it almost all right. But
even if she’d been crying, I don’t know if I would have stopped.

There is something infinitely desirable in helplessness.

And in power. He continued to tease me, perhaps unknowingly,
though I doubt it. Geoff seemed oddly aware of his surroundings.
Maybe that’s a necessary quality in a good top. How can you surrender
all thought, all judgement, if you aren’t sure that someone is making
trustworthy decisions for you? Though he concentrated his attention
on Belinda, the one he’d come to see, after all, he spared a little
time to verbally spar with me. Through that evening, the bus ride
home, the next hour or two as we headed slowly, inexorably to bed.

Sometimes you don’t want to make choices.

I don’t know whether it was fear or desire that kept me in
Mark’s arms that night, as he surrendered his room to them, and we
took an almost too-narrow couch. A moment when, lacking a condom, I
mastered embarassment and went to knock on their door. A pause,
shadowed rustlings, then “Come in.” She was beautiful, bent naked
on one knee before him, her silk hair falling down to shield a
flushed face. He was fully dressed, a wide-stranded whip in his hand.

He requested a kiss in payment for the condom.

It was…more than nice. He pulled away before I did, and I
wonder now what would have happened if I’d pushed him on it, running
my hands across that well-muscled chest, pressing my hot body against
his. Would he have taken me then and there? With her kneeling and
watching us, and Mark waiting out in the other room? Or would he have
laughed and pushed me away, sending me back to Mark like a small child
reaching for something too dangerous?

Uncertainty can be an aphrodisiac.

I couldn’t let him make that choice, of course, and quickly
slipped out the door and back down the darkened hallway. And Mark was
waiting, sweet Mark, and the strength in his arms was appealing. We
heard her moans and the slap of the whip down the length of the hall,
despite closed doors. An effort of will not to run back…to rescue
her? to join her?

A muffled scream.

And suddenly I couldn’t wait any longer, and we were tearing
off clothes far more quickly than I had originally planned, sinking
deep into each other and the heat of that first summer night as
Belinda’s pleasure and pain echoed in the long rooms. I couldn’t
remember the last time I’d been so hungry…and who can tell how much
of it was Mark stretched out golden beneath me, and how much the crack
of Geoffrey’s whip leaving long red stripes on Belinda’s pale skin…

Attraction is composed of desire and danger.

M.A. Mohanraj

April 25, 1994