A bonus story – a prologue to Trust Me to Know You
Feeling part of a community was important to Gemma. To meet in a neutral location and exchange news over a drink. In such conventional places, certainly a less formal atmosphere than clubs or special events, her friends could chat about mundane, ordinary things with a mix humorous banter and polite chitchats. Most of the time Gemma enjoyed these gatherings; they were timetabled into her diary and she generally looked forward to them.
The café-bar was made up of dimly lit corners, secluded nooks and crannies and the open floor space weaved towards the back of the building. The clinking of spoons on saucers, wine glasses, cake knives on plates and chairs scraping on the floor, were a constant background noise. Their group was smaller than usual that evening and there was much laughter as Gemma’s friends, Grant and Ethan, spoke at length about a recent holiday. How the couple had attended a fetish party where skinny Ethan had been swathed in bondage tape for Grant’s birthday.
“We nicknamed him Tut, ‘cos he looked mummified, spaced out too,” chortled Grant smiling appreciatively at his boyfriend.
As they sat in the café, Gemma did not feel the slightest bit sociable. Sitting quietly, to one side, she listened but did not contribute. A newbie arrived and was introduced to the longstanding Munch attendees. Gossip was exchanged as well as practical advice. Instead of feeling comfortable with the conversations, Gemma felt distant and out of touch. She was drifting in her personal life. Too busy with work, with evening classes and her vanilla friends, and she had let slip a little of her other life. She was rudderless and without that special somebody. It was a dry spell; they happened but this one seemed especially hard to bear. Her usual partners had moved on, changed direction and she was not party to their lives any longer.
She headed towards the serving counter to buy another drink. A stronger coffee or maybe a creamy hot chocolate. He reached the counter before her and he leant on it, waiting for his Americano. She immediately noticed his build and his dark brown hair, which was fashioned into buzz cut hairstyle. With broad shoulders and bulging biceps, Gemma could not help staring at him; they were features she liked in men. The faded jeans fitted him perfectly, especially around his butt, and there was a leather belt holding them tight about his waist. The metallic buckle had a skull incorporated into it. The tattoos on his arms did nothing for her, but at least they did not cover the whole length of his arms and they showed representations of knives and other emblems she did not recognise.
He turned to look down at her and she smiled back up at him. They said hello, Gemma nervously and he with confidence. It was then she saw the thin white scar along his forearm. Jagged and crude, it would have been a substantial wound.
“That look’s nasty,” she commented, pointing at the scar.
“Yes,” he said with shrug. “Occupational hazard.”
“Occupational?” she quizzed further.
“I was a soldier,” he said handing over his note to the barista.
“Oh,” said Gemma was now unsure how to proceed. It explained the tattoos; they did look militaristic. He was not frowning at her, so she took it as a sign he did not mind her questions.
“You with that bunch?” he cocked his head to the huddle of her friends.
“Yes. You?” she asked.
“Nah,” he said. There was a moment’s hesitation. “I do play though, from time to time.”
“Why not join us?”
“I’d rather stay clear. I was going to… but….” He hesitated again. “Not today.”
Gemma did not question his excuse. His face had screwed up as if something had disgusted him. She was confused, he said he played, but he did not want to join them. He had come with the intention and changed his mind. If she had taken her curiosity further, she might have found out more. Later, after weeks of spiralling emotions, she would wonder at her lack of curiosity, why she left things unsaid. Foolishly, she was immediately taken by his charm and he invited her to join him at separate table. It was how it began, their relationship, the first of many encounters.
They chatted amiably, although rather impersonally. Each time they met, she fluttered her eyes and he complimented her on her looks. It was an easy journey to the bedroom. He did not ask her to do anything different or kinky. Their love-making was classic and ardent in nature. She was thrilled with his sexual prowess and found him attentive to her needs. Perhaps, she had underestimated the vanilla side of her desires; romance could be fun.
Looking in her bathroom mirror, Gemma decided her hair needed cutting. The brunette locks were slightly wavy and hovering by her shoulder blades. Touching up the make-up around her eyes, she smiled at her image. Her confidence was growing again, back to levels she remembered from her more hedonistic days. Puckering her lips together, she applied a veneer of lipstick gloss. She considered herself fortunate in that her skin rarely blemished; it remained smooth and freckle free. So much of her life had been spent caged within the city and its tall buildings, sunlight did not shine on her very often. She boogied to the music blaring out of her iPod dock in the bedroom. The tiny bathroom gave her barely the room to move two or more footsteps in any direction.
She was meeting him again. Another frisky between the sheets encounter and she envisaged it would be the same as previous ones. He had told her he played, that he was a dominant, but so far he had kept that side of him subdued. She waited to see if he wanted to explore her submissive side. Listening to her talk about her training, her previous doms and how they taught how to tolerate the pain of a whip, restrained her with bondage or tormented her skin with wax or ice, his eyes had widened and a small smile had spread on his face. She was tempting him, she knew it, with her descriptions of kinky scenes. All she had to do was wait.
One day, as they lay naked in bed, he started to whisper things in Gemma’s ears. She quivered at his suggestions, at his wishes; they were the kind in which she liked to dabble. Each time she went to visit him the dynamics shifted, manoeuvred into the roles she had come to accept as normal for her. The play, the scenes, crept into their relationship. She discover his crude playroom, where he liked to tie her up and spank her bottom hard with various implements. It was a fantastic discovery she thought at first. He called her slave or Little One and she called him Master. Perhaps he was the one, the man she had been seeking. She had grown tired of looking and flitting about. The relationship had promise and he was so terribly good in bed, even without the other aspects, she found him appealing.
Something happened though. Not suddenly, but there was a week when she noticed he was than less charming, more demanding. He pushed her a little harder and he began to contact her between their trysts. He wanted to know what she was doing, where she was going and with whom.
Fine, she thought, a little bit of control outside of the bedroom was all right and she judged his interest to be a good sign. He wanted more of her. Then he hit the accelerator, shifted gears and suddenly things were changing too fast.
The texts, the emails and voicemail began to pile up. Each showed his progression and she was starting to drown.
– Little One, come round tonight. Can’t wait.
– No excuses Little One, don’t disappoint me
– It’s time you told me where you live, don’t you think?
– I know I pushed you hard last night, but you deserved it. Bratty girl.
– I’m sorry I hit you. It wasn’t necessary, not like that.
– Don’t argue with me. DO as you are told.
– I don’t care if you’ve got your period, you’ll come now. I want you.
– Forget last week. It’s OK. Come tonight and I will show you a good time.
Reading his latest text, Gemma went to his house. Something in the back of her head told her not to go, but she could not believe anyone would ever mistreat her or abuse her trust.
Gemma felt like she was falling down a well. A dark, cold bottomless mental pit and she could not see where she was going. She reached out for a rope or something to cling to as she fell. Nothing was in her grasp. There was nobody there to pull her out, to grab her and take her to safety. The blackness was omnipresent as was the fear and panic that accompanied the blanket of nothingness.
What judgement had she exhibited, what precautions? The warning signs had been there, the ridiculous things he said from time to time. His over the top charm, which he used to seduce her back to the bed, had blinded her sensible side. She experienced his anger, his rants and rage.
She had placed her trust in him and he was the wrong man. As she screamed and screamed for mercy, for release, she knew her life was over. Maybe not the living breathing life, but the one she thought she loved and adored. The one she believed was necessary for her survival, for her happiness.