Negotiation: He leans back against the pillows. I perch opposite, bolt upright. It feels like lying every time I don’t call him sir.
He thinks I’m scared my limits might be violated. It takes three tries to explain that I’m scared of begging him to forget them all.
Scening: He gives me choices. I overestimate my courage. Ten seconds in, and I’ve scared myself into emotional shutdown.
He interrogates me so patiently that it takes me 24 hours to realise how baffling my lack of reaction must have been.
His voice is in my ear, his breath is on my neck. How can he invade my mind more when I can’t see him?
He swishes a cane. I think, “That’s not going to work.” Then it cracks my flank and I’m wrong.
I apologise too much. He says, “From now on, I don’t want you to say sorry.” Argh. “I want you to say pardon instead.” What?
I fail and fail and fail. I’m devastated every time. He’s amused.
I don’t think he knows why I start saying thank you as the cane strokes get harder. It’s not because of zings, it’s the dam breaking.
I don’t scream. I gasp, variously. My throat keeps thinking it’s the Sahara. By the end of two hours he has let me drink two bottles of water.
He delivers a running commentary on the interesting noises I make. The humiliation should kill me. And it does, but oh thank God he’s enjoying me.
He waits for endless minutes while I try to find a position on the bed that works for my cursed body.
The paddle hurts more on my left. So that’s where he hits me more. The bruises are spectacular in the morning.
He has two smiles. One for everyday. The other for laughing or gentling me like a horse. Or hurting me.
I expand my repertoire of trembles. Quivers. Palsies. Whole-body shakes.
He interrupts the endless waves of agony with an order to look at him. I’m so terrified of what I might have done to deserve That Tone that I feel zero pain from the next volley of paddle strokes.
He chuckles when I safeword, keening and shaking. I melt.
More. And then – too much. Too much, too much. In exactly one breath I’ve gone silent, still and blank. The blow lands, my hands clench, and I blink at him, unpanicked. Safewords are suddenly very far away. My vanilla self copes with pain by not caring.
I’ve probably safeworded or shut down a dozen times. He brings me back seamlessly every time. It doesn’t seem to occur to him to be annoyed. I still tear up from pathetic gratitude.
He orders me to kiss his feet. I fold to the floor so fast, he probably thinks I have a foot fetish. Thank you, thank you for letting me touch you. For letting me thank you.
Aftercare: He strokes my face with two fingertips and tells me I’ve done well. What did I do? All I hear is meaningless condescension. My heart squishes with canine happiness.
I ask, “What would you like me to do differently next time?” He blinks.
I could hug him forever.
That night, I wake up after two hours. I can’t go back to sleep. I just keep reliving it. Searing pain, panic and protection. Oh God, I want more.