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Den of Iniquity Ch. 03

I don't usually wake up before the alarm. But on Thursday morning I did. I rolled over in the half light and realised the alarm was going to go off in five minutes. I sat up on the side of the bed and defused the detonator. I took a moment to stretch. I felt pretty good until I stood up. After steadying myself, I put on my robe and grabbed a fresh towel to take to the bathroom.

While washing myself, my thoughts drifted back to the amazing night I'd had. I closed my eyes in the shower, with the hot water cascading over me, and saw Josephine first flogged, then topless, and then asking if she pleased me. It made my skin tingle. Then my thoughts skittered between amazement at the basic truth and beauty I'd witnessed, and wild fantasies of domination. Fragments of fantasies. Images. Images of Josephine, kneeling in front of me, topless and proud. Sticking her fingers deep in her cunt and licking them clean.

"Please fuck me Sir, please... please, I'm so hot... I'll do anything..."

I slid my soapy fingers around my thickening cock and stroked up and down. I was trying not to get carried away, but the images were so strong. I couldn't remember the last time such vivid images entered my mind. But somehow I did remember I wanted to get an early start, and jerking off in the shower would only put me behind the eight ball, time wise.

So, reluctantly, I rinsed off and climbed out. Fifteen minutes later I was shaved and deodorised, and slapping my face with aftershave. My thoughts returned to Josephine, and I wondered at how she accepted the flogging she received. 'Volunteered' was how Chantelle described it. Did she really volunteer? Like, put her hand up, and said "pick me, pick me!" What was the pain like? Josephine didn't seem to mind it. But, did she really like it? Was it the feeling of the flogger hitting her skin that she liked? Or was it being bound, and submitting to a flogging, before an audience?

Chantelle certainly wasn't 'laying into her'. It was amazing. Completely controlled. Chantelle swung the flogger with accuracy and precision, controlling the tempo and the 'weight' of each stroke. The memory of Josephine's face, and of her arching her pussy toward the flogger just before it struck her, were burnt into my memory forever. I smacked my forehead, realising I was staring into the mirror. I ran a comb through my hair.

I looked in the closet and put on my suit from last night. I wasn't going to wear the brown one. Not to a lunch "date". It was getting a bit thin in patches. Well, it wasn't really a date. It was just myself and a couple of new friends, Chantelle and Claudio, chatting and having a meal. Hopefully they wouldn't notice the suit. God, I had so many questions.

I was standing at the kitchen bench, throwing back my coffee as I usually do. I was staring out the double doors at the skyline beyond. On a whim, I put down my coffee, took off my jacket and rummaged under the sink. A few minutes later, the plastic setting on the balcony was no longer dust covered.

"Dammit, I'm gonna spend some money today," I thought as I sipped coffee and sat watching the city awaken.

It wasn't like I couldn't afford it. I was thankful I'd planned for my tuition, and for the reduction in salary I'd suffer while at school and in a lowly position. I planned to make millions when I became a lawyer, but I was a couple of years away from that. So in the meantime, I sat on the chipped (but clean), plastic furniture, on my dusty balcony, drinking crappy coffee, and nibbling at cold, crappy toast.

What the hell was I waiting for? I didn't need to live like this, and I sure as hell didn't WANT to live like this. I got up, went inside, closed the double doors, and emptied my cup down the sink with disgust.

"Okay," I decided, "let's just start with a new suit."

Twenty minutes later I was stepping out of the elevator at my place of employment, armed with some decent coffee from the cafe across the road, and a plan to be out of there as soon as I could. People waved with surprise seeing me in so early. I was at my desk sorting the invitations by 7:30 A.M. I wanted to be out of there by 9:30 A.M. if I could.

I gathered up the invitations and made my way around the two storeys of Gardner and Hammerstein, dropping them on desks and having short conversations with those also in early. By the time I was done and returned to my tiny office, I had three e-mails. All were "well done" and "can't wait" type e-mails. I was pleased with the reactions, and sat back finishing my coffee.

My e-mail beeped with a message from Sylvia Harper.

[e-mail]

From: Sylvia Harper To: Roger Moore

"Is this some kind of joke? Come to my office now please."

[end of message]

Oh jeez. What now? Sylvia was the one who had put the organising of the party on me, and now she wants to see me about it? I looked at the message again. It was pretty cryptic actually. "... some kind of joke?" What did that mean? And, "please"? Sylvia rarely said 'please'. I started thinking the message seemed almost a little desperate. Not Sylvia's usual tone at all. Before I thought about what I was doing, I typed a quick reply and hit send.

[e-mail]

From: Roger Moore To: Sylvia Harper

"I'm a little busy at the moment. Could you come here?"

[end of message]

Almost immediately I got a response.

[e-mail]

From: Sylvia Harper To: Roger Moore

"I'll be there in 15 minutes."

[end of message]

I don't know what possessed me to do it, but I shot off a quick reply.

[e-mail]

From: Roger Moore To: Sylvia Harper

"Now please."

[end of message]

I don't know why I was expecting another reply, but as the seconds dragged by, I started getting worried. I was in the midst of writing an apologetic e-mail when a tap on the glass beside my door nearly made me jump out of my skin.

"Looking at porn again Roger?"

It was Mike, my boss. He was grinning and obviously joking. I laughed as he sat down opposite me.

"This is gonna be great Roger. How did you get lumped with this?"

"Oh it's a long story Mike. Sylvia asked me to get it organised."

"Sylvia? Really?"

A short pause followed and I was wondering what was going on. I ventured a comment.

"I can't believe I'm trying to put together a huge party. I've never done anything like this before, but it is fun."

"Need the rest of the week off? I don't mind really... I mean you've earned it, all that work you did on the VideoMax account and all."

"Thanks Mike. I could really do with a long weekend." Phew! That was easy!

"I'm really looking forward to this party Roger. I just got off the phone with the little lady and she's excited too. We're gonna make a weekend of it!"

"Good for you Mike!" I grinned.

"And these invitations, 'edgy' Roger... very 'edgy'." 'Edgy' was Mike's word of the month.

"I'm glad you like them Mike."

We were interrupted by another tapping on the glass beside my door.

"Hello? Um, excuse me, I didn't mean to interrupt." It was Sylvia.

"Good morning Sylvia. You know my boss, Mike Constanti."

"Yes, hello Mr. Constanti, nice to see you again."

"Yes, you too Sylvia. What brings you down here?"

When I first looked up and saw her, Sylvia looked like the bitch I knew, all attitude and stance. But something happened in the moments that followed. I was watching her closely. She started shifting her weight nervously from one foot to the other. She was also playing with the wedding ring on her left hand. What was going on?

"I um, I just wanted to talk to Roger about the party on Saturday night... if that's okay..."

"Sure sure... no problem, I gotta get my ass in gear anyway." Mike winked at me. "See you Saturday Roger. This is gonna be a blast!"

"I sure hope so Mike... I'll check in and make sure you don't need me tomorrow morning."

"It's not necessary Roger, you do what you gotta do to make this party a success, okay?" Mike got up to leave and walked toward the door. I saw him brush past Sylvia and whisper something in her ear. I didn't catch it though. Sylvia and I watched Mike walk down the corridor, rereading the invitation in his hand, and shaking his head.

When we turned back to each other, Sylvia looked like she was blushing. She took a step closer to me and leaned on the edge of my desk. I could see the swell of her breasts, and her frilly bra under the white blouse, beneath her navy blue suit.

"What do you think you're doing?" She whispered as I jerked my eyes back up to hers. "You want to risk the reputation of the whole firm?"

"Reputation? What are you talking about?"

"You don't want me as an enemy Roger. Remember that."

"Sylvia, for once I can honestly say I have no idea what you are talking about."

"You better not be holding out on me Roger."

"What has this got to do with the party?"

Sylvia straightened up and crossed her arms, examining me with a wrinkled brow. Apparently satisfied, she answered, "nothing," and with a wave of her hand she was gone.

What a bizarre encounter. I had no idea what had gotten into her. Later on, I would find out.

I stayed a few more minutes and answered a couple of e-mails. Then one really shocked me. It was from Mr. Hammerstein, one of the partners. It was the first personal e-mail I'd ever received from him.

[e-mail]

From: Emmanuel Hammerstein To: Roger Moore

"Wonderful idea Roger. Congratulations from Gardner and myself. We were just discussing it and are very much looking forward to Saturday night. Gardner asks if Sylvia Harper is coming."

[end of message]

[e-mail]

From: Roger Moore To: Emmanuel Hammerstein

"Yes Sir, as far as I know."

[end of message]

Now I was confounded. What the hell was going on? Oh well, I figured, if I'm supposed to know, someone will tell me. I opened and quickly replied to a couple more incoming e-mails. Most people wanted to know if they should eat first. My standard answer, which drew a few laughs, was "only if you have a strong stomach".

I tidied up my desk and was out of the building by 9:15A.M. I was standing on the steps out front when Annie, Sylvia's secretary, almost bumped into me, balancing three coffees on a cardboard tray.

"Oh hello Roger, I didn't see you there."

"On a mission I see Annie."

"Yes, it's my job." She rolled her eyes. "Where are you off to then?"

Was that a flirty smile? She was distracting me.

"Um... just getting things organised for Saturday night, lots to do, you know..."

"Yes I imagine... god, Sylvia has been in such a bad mood since she read your invitation this morning Roger... do you know what that's all about?"

Hmmm... what to do... what to say...

"Well, I don't know Annie... perhaps you could tell me."

"Um... er..." She really seemed taken aback. "I don't know... it's um... it's like she's off balance or something..."

"Oh really... I wonder what that's all about?"

"M... Maybe you should ask her..."

"I just might do that Annie. Thanks for the advice."

"Oh... Roger don't... um... don't tell her I told you to ask her... I um... I might... um... ohhh." She almost dropped the coffees she was carrying.

"Annie relax, it's all right... what's going on?"

"I can't talk right now, I have to... you know..." She nodded at the building.

"Yes, I understand Annie." She was moving away and had taken a couple of the many steps that led to the revolving doors entering our building. She turned as if struck by a thought. Then a strange thing occurred to me. Though she stood above me, I felt like I was looking down on her.

"Um," she hesitated, "I better go."

She'd changed her mind.

"Okay Annie, nice to see you."

"You too Roger."

I nodded at her and she tip-toed on her high heels up the steps and into the arriving crowd.

"She has a good ass, that girl," I thought to myself. Then I started to wonder if she was a submissive. What was happening to me?

I turned around and looked up and down the street, re-assessing where I was. "Hmmmm..." Uptown or downtown? I was going to be eating downtown... "Okay, downtown it is..." I thought to myself, and turned to my right and set off.

I'd only walked down a couple of blocks before, 'Fabrico DeAngelo', caught my eye. The stooped, grey, kindly old Italian man in there was very helpful.

"You wait, I get a measurement."

So I did wait, and did get measured up. An hour later I was standing looking in the mirror at myself thinking, "fuck, I don't look half bad in a decent suit."

The navy blue jacket was a perfect fit and the matching pants felt like they were made for me. Which struck me as funny, because of course they were. I could hardly wipe the smile from my face.

"So, you meet a beautiful lady?"

"Ah well kind of, I'm going to lunch with a couple of new friends."

"You make a good impression, you not gonna worry okay?"

"No I won't worry," I picked up the business card next to the register. It said, 'Angelo Terrazzo'. Now THAT would be a coincidence... "You don't know Claudio Terrazzo do you?"

"Claudio is my son!"

"Well isn't that interesting, I'm having lunch with him today."

"Santa Maria! My son is gay??!!!"

"Nooo, no Sir, he is just a friend!"

"Ahhh... goodness, you make me nervous... sorry Sir."

"Honestly, it's not necessary Angelo," I replied.

"Well, you must not pay Sir, this suit, my gift to you okay?"

"Oh no, I couldn't, I mean..."

"Friend of Claudio, friend of family... you not a pay, I insist!"

I held out my hand to this kind gentleman, and when he offered his, I grasped it firmly, and held it.

"On one condition... I pay full price for my next suit."

Laughing heartily, Angelo Terrazzo shook my hand once more.

"Deal!"

I smiled and released my grip. "I tell you what Angelo, if I can have you fashion a grey suit for me, I'll be by in the next couple of days to pick it up."

"Ah you trick me Sir. You always getting two suits!"

"Actually, no Angelo, I planned to buy one suit, but the quality of your suits is excellent, and the price is right in my range, now!"

"Ah thank you kind Sir, let it be known, Angelo's suits are excellent!"

He bowed deeply, and I returned the gesture. Two grown men, bowing to each other in the twenty first century. I was having such a good time!

I thanked Angelo and left with a package containing my old suit under my arm.

"Tell my son to ring his mother!" Angelo said, as I exited his store, and re-entered the mid-morning rush. I waved back, wondering what Claudio would say if I did.

I had an hour to kill and figured I'd walk through the park and enjoy the crisp sunshine. I bought some duck food from a vendor and stood leaning on a railing feeding the tame ducks that swam and snapped for their free meal.

Of course I didn't completely waste my time. I was thinking about what I might ask Claudio and Chantelle. They were clearly good friends to each other. Very good friends. Though something made me doubt it had ever been physical. Their relationship was too playful to have ever been serious. Almost like brother and sister. But it didn't seem protective.

Their relationship seemed intimate. They appeared to know each other very well. They seemed to know what each other was thinking. In addition, they seemed to posses a sixth sense of knowing what was going on. I wished I had that. I wanted that knowledge. I wanted that self-assurance.

I considered what I might ask. For a split second, I thought 'practicing' might make my questions seem 'staged'. Then I thought, "no, they will expect me to know what to ask".

The hour flew by.

So it was, on time and with a huge grin on my face, and a great new suit courtesy of an incredible coincidence, I strode up the steps of Jeremy's to meet my lunch partners.

The maitre 'd met me and ushered me past the packed downstairs part of the restaurant, and upstairs to a balcony. Here it was quiet, and only a waiter, standing solemnly at one side, with a tray under his arm, interrupted an otherwise surreal scene. They both stood when they saw me, and the waiter came rushing over.

We greeted each other in the manner I had come to expect. Chantelle didn't hesitate, and kissed my cheek effusively. Claudio shook my hand and welcomed me back to his "house of pain and suffering" with a grin.

"How are you Roger, it's so good to see you, I can't tell you how much I have been looking forward to lunch today," Chantelle gushed.

"Hello Roger," joined Claudio, shaking my hand vigorously, "sit, sit, and might I say that's a great suit."

"He looks terrific doesn't he?" Chantelle admired, winking at me.

"You've spoken to your father haven't you Claudio!" I winked back at Chantelle.

"Yes, yes, okay... you got me. Hard to keep a secret in this town. Dad called me while you were being fitted, so I guess an ambush has been thwarted."

"Then I guess I don't have to tell you to call your mother!"

We all laughed.

Our waiter returned with a round of drinks. I couldn't remember ordering and looked at the red drink in front of me in surprise.

"Don't tell me you've never had a 'Bloody Mary' Roger," said Chantelle.

"Well actually..."

"I don't believe it... oh well drink up and enjoy, I promise, you'll feel like new!"

"I'm feeling quite good already actually," I took a sip and placed it back on the table. "But to be honest, I am practically bursting with questions."

"Yes, I'm sure you are," said Claudio, "but keep in mind Roger, Chantelle and I enjoy 'the floor', and you might find quite a few questions answered if you 'let us go'."

They nodded at each other. I understood completely and turned to Chantelle as she began to speak.

"You said 'to be honest', didn't you Roger..." I nodded. "And in fact, right there, you have hit the nail on the head. 'To be honest' is no longer an option, but a requirement. Brazenly, delightfully, frighteningly... honest. It is the cornerstone of the successful relationship, is it not?"

"So it is said," I replied, "but it is rarely the case."

"And so we compromise what we want in order to not 'rock the boat', to 'keep the peace' and we wallow in frustration and unfulfillment," said Claudio.

"Sounds a bit dramatic to me."

"You have been married have you not Roger?" Claudio asked.

"Yes that's right, I have been..."

"Without getting too personal, if one thing might have saved your marriage, what would it have been?" Chantelle asked. I had the feeling I was being double-teamed. This wasn't going quite as I had imagined.

"Well, if she had some faith in me, it might have helped."

"Now Roger, let's play a game..." Chantelle suggested. "If I ask you a question, or if you ask me one, let's keep our answers to what we 'know' to be true."

"I'm not following you..."

"Might your ex-wife have been afraid? Or frustrated? Or at the end of her tether? Practically anything really?"

"Well yes, in a sense, I suppose so..."

"So you don't know."

"No... not really..."

"What Chantelle is saying is that without an open and honest relationship, without secrets, the seeds of discontentment are sown early," explained Claudio.

"I can see that."

"It stands to reason Roger," continued Chantelle, "without honest communication, all kinds of barriers to success are erected."

"But isn't that a little utopian? I mean one can always just lie, and the other would be none the wiser."

"Only if honesty is disrespected can one lie Roger," said Chantelle.

"If one disrespects honesty, one disrespects the lifestyle," added Claudio.

"Which results in what?" I asked.

"Exclusion," said Chantelle.

I sipped my drink. "People who 'fake it' are the lowest of the low then."

Claudio looked at Chantelle and winked. "I think he's getting it."

"Well it makes sense," I ventured, "Honesty begets honesty. The dishonest ones are shunned."

"Indeed... and how do we maintain the required standards Roger?"

"Through discipline."

"Correct, well done."

"But, who maintains the honesty of the punishers? It seems like a dangerous system."

"Well here's the thing. We can loosely divide ourselves into two groups. The dominants and the submissives. And basically we keep an eye on each other."

"So the submissive can reject the dominant."

"Of course! What submissive worth his or her salt would submit to anyone?" asked Chantelle, "only a gutter slut, that's who."

I nodded. Okay, it was all getting a bit clearer. "So the dominant has to prove his or her worth to the submissive before they are accepted..."

"Exactly."

"How would I prove myself, for example?" I blushed.

"Thinking ahead already Roger, I knew I liked you," smiled Claudio.

"Well I was just wondering, I mean I hardly have the first clue what to do."

Chantelle interjected, "It's the quality of the person that attracts the submissive Roger, not necessarily the level of experience. It's my belief that dominants are born, OR made. Either way, they are still dominants. To learn the 'crafts' of the lifestyle takes time, and a quality submissive is unlikely to just jump into your arms overnight. Then again..." Chantelle seemed lost in thought.

"The point is, it is useless to put oneself up as a dominant with experience, when one has none," continued Claudio, "one would be found out within minutes. And nothing good comes of that."

"So it comes back to honesty."

"And a desire to learn, and practice," nodded Chantelle.

"Practice?"

"Yes practice... what turns you on Roger? The whip? Cane? Flogger? Tying a girl up in knots? Treating someone like a baby? A fuck-toy? Berating someone? Spanking them?"

"Um."

"It takes practice. One needs the tools of the trade before one can consider oneself a craftsman."

"I can understand that too."

"So you will need to practice whatever it is you want to do. Organise some of your life around the pursuit of your own gratification."

"I can't believe I've been thinking about the same thing... well kind of..."

"A dominant is a 'doer' Roger. Good dominants make things happen," said Chantelle, "Claudio and I have been in the lifestyle a long time now. We are also successful people. We have successful friends. And one needn't measure success by wealth, but more by the happiness of the person in their given pursuit, and the happiness they experience in their relationships."

"I see." I really did. "So let's say a submissive person comes up and says 'I've been bad, will you punish me?' What would I do?"

"You would seriously question the submissive's credentials," replied Claudio. "A submissive requiring discipline should speak with their dominant about it, confess their sins and be done with their punishment. One coming to you out of the blue is probably a thrill seeker rather than a true submissive. Not to say 'one night stands' don't happen, but they are just as likely to end in failure as a vanilla one night stand."

"Okay, so in a sense a dominant/submissive relationship is much like a vanilla one, normal day to day problems etc., dealt with on an ad hoc basis," they were both nodding, "with basic rules of honesty and integrity working on both sides."

"You got it brother!" smiled Claudio.

Chantelle smiled too, and toasted me, looking into my eyes. She put down her glass and leaned forward on the table, resting her chin on the back of her interlaced fingers.

"So Roger... why would a dominant punish a submissive?"

"Hmmm? Exam time?" I smiled.

"Something like that... play along with me."

"Okay, well, I guess for any number of reasons..."

"Including?"

"Well, dishonesty for a start," I said.

"That's the biggie," encouraged Claudio.

"Hmmmm... for displeasing behaviour?" Chantelle nodded. "Also, I think I remember you saying Chantelle, 'because I can'."

"That's right. There is a power exchange that goes on. The submissive accepts the 'power' of the dominant over him or her, and he or she accepts it fully, so long as he or she continues to believe in the relationship. The dominant accepts the power being given to him or her, and promises to act in a manner that is within the accepted norms of the lifestyle."

"The accepted norms?"

"Yes a little inexact I know Roger, but within the lifestyle the 'accepted norms' are pretty wide. There are those who willingly subject themselves to incredible pain and discomfort for the pleasure of their dominant. And there are those who cannot handle pain and would be punished by other means, such as humiliation or isolation."

"I'm wondering about rules for dominants..."

"There is a general rule in the lifestyle that most would agree with," said Claudio, "and that is, behaviour of dominants should be safe, sane and consensual."

"S. S. C., " chimed in Chantelle, using her fingers like inverted commas.

"S. S. C., " I repeated.

"Yes, but given the particular relationship, where the dominant is acting in the submissive's interests, sometimes it isn't as clear as all that. As long as what is happening is understood by the submissive, through honest communication, the sub can continue to assume that whatever happens, it is S.S.C."

"Is a submissive and a slave the same thing?"

Chantelle smiled at Claudio then looked at me, "You are quite perceptive aren't you Roger." I grinned. "No, the slave is somewhat different to the submissive. Basically the 'C' gets dropped."

I sat back in my chair and took a healthy gulp of my Bloody Mary. "Goodness."

Our waiter approached and whispered in Claudio's ear.

"Phone call dear people, I'll be right back."

I went to stand up and Chantelle placed her hand over mine, stilling me.

"Another drink Roger?"

"All right but that's enough for me after that."

"We'll be eating soon anyway," Chantelle replied before turning to our waiter and ordering two more drinks.

"So Roger, how are we doing?"

"It's fascinating."

Chantelle nodded. "It is to the newcomer, to the old hand, it's just life," she winked.

"I'm so thankful, I hope you don't mind all this."

"Not at all silly boy," she grinned, "I am having a wonderful time."

So was I. For the life of me, I'd never enjoyed myself as much as I was at that moment. It was better than the day my Dad gave me the keys to my own car. I threw back the last of my first Bloody Mary as the waiter returned with fresh drinks and Claudio came back and sat down.

"Mothers!" He grinned.

"Wonderful people," I smiled.

"Yes of course," said Claudio, crossing himself and winking at me. "So what rubbish has Chantelle been filling your head with?"

"Good quality stuff in my estimation," I replied.

Claudio nodded. "Current subject?'

"We were waiting for your return, my dear," said Chantelle.

"Well I'm back, so where are we up to?"

"I think Roger has the floor."

"Oh um ok..." I stuttered, "well... I was wondering why? I mean... why does the submissive submit?"

"Good question. Some call it ying and yang," offered Chantelle, "and some call it a natural fit."

"I think the existence of one group requires the existence of the other," said Claudio.

"You've lost me," I replied.

"Take Chantelle and I... both dominant... and both still searching for the perfect submissive for us..."

"This conversation is private, right Roger?" asked Chantelle.

"Yes of course."

"Well," she continued, "finding 'the one' that is right for you, is as problematical as it is in the vanilla world." She sipped her drink. "In any case, finding 'one's true love' is a rare thing indeed."

"I can see that, without necessarily experiencing it."

"Experiencing things is important Roger, and it's ok to make mistakes, just don't leave marks!"

"Ain't that the truth," they high-fived each other over the table.

"But honestly Roger, err on the side of caution, okay?"

"Yes, of course," I understood implicitly, an 'out of control dominant' would soon become an 'out of control defendant'.

"Again, it's likely that only someone outside the lifestyle would consider litigating against another, or be litigated against. It's not unheard of, but that person would forever be judged by it."

"Tarnished," added Claudio.

"One needs a good sense of who they are," I added, "and self control."

"Absolutely! No one in their right mind would punish while angry. It's an important rule I live by," said Chantelle.

"Me too," said Claudio, nodding.

"Self-control is important on both sides," continued Chantelle. "Everyone has their limits and it's the dominant's role to seek and push the submissive's limits, when it is appropriate, or when it suits them."

"Suits the submissive?"

"Suits the dominant, Roger."

"Let's remember two things. The dominant has the 'dominant' role to play. They choose when, where, and how things will happen. This is a given. The submissive's role is to submit, to the dominant, at the time of the dominants choosing. However, and this is a big 'however', it is by the submissive's behaviour that things happen. The submissive has an incredibly important role in how the interaction between the two proceeds. A 'look', 'attitude', 'smile', 'hesitation', 'reluctance', 'denial', 'refusal', 'desire', or even 'eagerness', will affect, as it should, the response of the dominant."

"So the submissive has a certain measure of control," I agreed.

Chantelle smiled. "The submissive decides, by her submission, to whom she or he submits, and how, when and where."

"Not too different to vanilla relationships really," I laughed. I looked at the others and they were nodding at each other.

Claudio smiled broadly at me and put his hand on my arm. "Honestly Roger, it's like a taste of the 'fifties', added to a bit of the feminist 'sixties', shook up in a blender from the "seventies', mixed with the music of the 'eighties', touched up with some of the blatant I-ism of the 'nineties', and now... we throw it all in a hot tub and have a party!"

"Oh Claudio... I'm sure Roger is expecting more than the equivalent to football talk!"

"I like football!"

"Roger, you are not helping!" Chantelle squealed before covering her mouth. The waiter had arrived bringing dishes of the best seafood the establishment possessed, the best wine and, I assumed, the best pasta Claudio's mother had taught him how to make.

Claudio played host, spooning delicacies onto our plates. The conversation lulled as we each tucked into what was before us.

"Oh Roger, you have got to taste the baby octopus."

"I've never had it before."

"Believe me, you'll adore it."

"It's barbecued and then lightly sautéed in onions and the sweet sauce, mmmm... it needs nothing."

We piled garlic prawns, mussels-in-shell, oysters kilpatrick, smoked salmon and miles of various salads onto our plates. It was sumptuous. I didn't notice how much wine I was drinking. Nor did I notice the sun beginning its slow descent into the southwestern sky. Before I knew it, the sky was darkening, and Claudio was ordering a second bottle of port.

"Any plans tonight, Roger?" He asked.

"No, I was just thinking, um, I don't think I'll need to eat this evening... er... I mean, no, I have no plans... jeez, I think I'm getting drunk..."

"Oh c'mon Roger, the night is young!"

Chantelle stood and reached out to me. I took her hand in mine and she pulled me to my feet.

"What are we doing?"

"We're dancing!" Chantelle grinned and took me into her arms. Of course, I stood head and shoulders over her, so she turned her head sideways and pressed her cheek to my chest, and I put my arms around her, and began to sway.

"Chantelle?" I whispered. She looked up at me. "Do public exhibitions ever get out of hand?"

"What do you mean Roger?"

"I mean is anyone really 'punished', up there, on your stage?"

"That's a very good question Roger," she fluttered her eyes and grinned at me, "I don't allow serious punishments up there. True punishment is a private matter, and to further humiliate the submissive by doing it publicly... well, let's just say I find it distasteful."

"So it's all just a bit of fun?"

"In a sense, yes."

I twirled her around on the end of my fingers before bringing her back into my arms.

"Mmmm... and you can dance too..." Chantelle said, her eyes sparkling.

"Why thank you Ma'am," I replied, continuing to sway and gently turn her this way and that. She pressed herself against me and I felt myself beginning to harden.

"Um," I whispered, as she did it again, "what are you doing?"

"Research," she said and winked, placing her hand gently on my cock between us. "You are going to make a fine dominant, Sir," she winked and giggled.

Then she twisted away from me and bowed, to which I replied in kind.

"Thank you for the pleasure of the dance, my fair lady," I said as I rose back to my full height, taking her hand and leading her back to the table.

"The pleasure was all mine, Sir," she replied as she leaned up on tiptoes and kissed my cheek before taking her seat. This time I did indeed guide it under her before retaking my seat between the two of them.

"Well?" Claudio asked.

"He makes the grade," Chantelle replied, tossing her raven hair, with a big grin on her face.

As I blushed, I was hoping they were talking about my dancing...

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