"Well, you never can tell with Beth."
That was Linda talking, who I've known for a long time. She'd suggested I come with her to a little group she'd joined, some women who met regularly, pretty much just to learn new things. We were on our way there and Linda admitted that she didn't know the meeting's topic, which was this Beth's turn to choose.
"What if it's about some book I haven't read?" Linda'd told me sometimes they simply discuss a book.
"Well I'm in the same boat," she said. "Likely as not, she brought someone." She'd told me that often the women got someone to come speak.
We arrived and I was glad Linda had tipped me off on what to wear: there were no jeans, in fact we all were in dresses, as if we were there for an English Tea. I found I knew one of the women, Miriam, whom I'd met through someone at work. We said 'hi' but we didn't really know each other that well. Linda pointed out Beth, who was with a woman Linda figured must be our guest of honor. Linda introduced me to our hostess, Yvonne, who couldn't or wouldn't tell us about Beth's guest. "Beth's being a bit coy," she told us.
Finally the general conversation slowed, we all found seats, and Yvonne turned the floor over to Beth.
"This is Holly," said Beth, "or as she's sometimes known, 'Diva'. Holly's here to tell us about her profession. I'll let Holly explain."
Holly smiled as Beth gestured for her to begin. "Good afternoon, Ladies," she said. "No doubt Beth has piqued your interest in what I'm here to tell you. You see, I'm a dominatrix." Every one of the women stared and you could hear a pin drop for a moment. Then someone giggled which seemed to set off a few nervous laughs. "That's it, I'm a professional dominatrix," she said, "and Beth promised me that you would be fascinated."
I found myself looking at her to see if I thought she fit my notions. She was pretty, kind of young and slender, seemingly a bit innocent if anything. But that disappeared when she started describing her work. Yes, men came to see her. No, she did not have sex with them. Yes, they were sometimes married. Yes, it was possible that one of our husbands visited her but given the size of our community, it was far more likely not to be the case. Yes, she worked alone. Yes, she enjoyed what she did.
As she talked, I found myself wondering. She seemed so normal, so natural, as if it were merely another career choice. She told a little bit about what she did with them. "Do you begin to see them as something less than men?" asked one of the women. "Since they need to pay for this?"
Holly looked thoughtful. "I try very hard not to. I think it's my acceptance of their situation without looking down upon their needs that makes me successful."
"But you wouldn't date any of them."
"No. Well I suppose anything's possible, but believe me it's unlikely. In any case, I tell them it's out of the question."
"Is it all fake whippings?"
"Oh often it's very real." With that, the group was silent as if contemplating the idea. She continued, "believe me, it's all consensual, what I give them. I think it's about time for me to explain a bit more what actually goes on in a session."
What was clear was that she had the crowd. She paused a second, then stood. Then she pulled her dress off, over her head.
She was in what was obviously her dominatrix outfit, sort of a leather bikini. She opened a bag she had and pulling out heels, a leather collar, and leather bracelets, she put them on and posed for us. The effect was certainly stunning. "This is the me that the men see," she said. It was very easy to see that she'd be appealing to them. But so appealing that they'd let her whip them, for real? "This is a punishment cane," she said, holding out a stick for us to inspect, then when one of the women wanted a close look, she passed it around. "Small, light, and easy to inflict an amazing amount of pain," she said.
"And they like it?" asked someone.
"Yes and no. The mind works in mysterious ways, and a man can fear it the same way any of us would, yet crave it. Not that all my clients want that." That seemed to prompt questions as to what else they wanted and she told us about being dominated, more or less simply being ordered about. "Some of them like being really berated, but others actually want gentle orders, almost like your Mom telling you to do something." She paused, looking thoughtful. "In fact, we could have a demonstration, if I have a volunteer."
That struck us totally dumb. She smiled as if to ease the tension. "Just a brief little demonstration, nothing painful," she said, indicating the cane, "or harsh, hmm?" She looked around the room. "You," she said, pointing to a woman.
The woman blushed. "Come on, it's nothing, you can stop it any time just as they can. You are?" She held out her hand to the woman as if to assist her standing up. The woman mumbled and Holly spoke aloud, "Rita, our kind volunteer. Now Rita, stand right here."
Rita, looking sheepish, did so and Holly took a place facing her, separated about enough that they'd barely touch if they reached to each other. "Now, Rita, my sweet," she said, gently. "I want you to get down on your knees."
Rita looked frightened and I realized Holly had chosen the wrong woman. Rita was obviously shy and this was torture. Holly approached her and held out her hands to take Rita's. Her eyes were on Rita's. "You can do it, Rita, it's nothing out of the ordinary. Please do it for me."
Rita looked like a deer staring into headlamps. But she did it. She knelt. "Very good, my little Rita," said Holly. "I'm pleased. Now, stay like that a moment and I'll be very pleased."
While Rita knelt there, embarrassed, Holly made a show of circling her, looking at her from all sides. "Rita is actually a good subject," said Holly. "And very typical of some of my clients."
"Do you have women clients?" came the question, actually from Linda.
"Occasionally," said Holly. "I enjoy them, because it's a change. And I get couples too."
"Women pay you?"
"To be honest," said Holly, "I'll sometimes take a woman for nothing because as I said, it can be a refreshing change. Now Rita, I'd like you to put your hands on top of your head. Now don't dawdle."
Rita, still looking like she might sink through the floor, did it. Holly grinned. "Rita is especially good because she shows her feelings. Some of the men show amazingly little reaction. Now, my sweet Rita, stand up again, but keep your hands in place. That's it, like a good girl." With that, she touched Rita lightly on the shoulder as if to reassure her. Everyone was entranced.
Holly made a half-circle in front of her. "That's it, keep your eyes forward, my dear," she said. "Rita's amazingly good," she told us. "She's completely in the spirit of it. Perhaps we can demonstrate a bit more than I'd planned."
Holly looked at us as if for confirmation. No one said a word. Rita simply stood there. To me, it had become surreal, though somehow we'd slipped into this business so easily. "OK Rita, my sweeting, it's time to take your dress off."
My breath caught. I said nothing, then felt I should have said something right away but everyone was quiet. It occurred to me that probably all of us were ready to stop it but no one wanted to be the one. Rita looked frightened out of her wits. "It's just us girls here, Rita, no big deal. Just a little demonstration of what I do and it's so nice of you to help. Now do as I tell you and take it off." Then she turned to us. "Beth, tell her it's OK."
I looked at Beth. She looked practically hypnotized by the scene, but roused herself at Holly's request. Holly nodded to her. "It's OK, Rita," she said.
"Tell her she can do it," said Holly.
"You can do it," said Beth. "We don't mind."
You could tell Rita was helpless being the center of attention, with all eyes on her. "I want you to do it now," said Holly, sounding a bit firmer.
Still looking scared, Rita fingered the dress, then pulled it off. "Very nice," said Holly as Rita stood there in her underpants and bra. "Now kick off your shoes."
Holly circled her again when she'd done so. Then she stood in front of her again, reaching forward to touch both her shoulders briefly. "Now Rita, my love, look me in the eye," she said.
It looked like Rita struggled, but soon her eyes were locked with Holly's. "OK Rita," said Holly, then she approached Rita and whispered in her ear.
You could see Rita begin to tremble. Her breathing became erratic and I was sure the mood would be broken and could see Rita running for cover any second. "OK, relax, Rita," said Holly, obviously sensing what I'd sensed. "You don't have to if you don't want to, do you understand me?"
"What did you say, Rita?"
"Yes," she said more clearly.
Holly paused, looking at Rita for a moment as if in thought. I realized they were actually dressed somewhat similarly given Holly's abbreviated outfit. But Rita's white was quite a contrast to Holly's leather. "Come with me for a second," said Holly. "I'll just talk to her for a moment," she told us, and taking Rita's hand, she insistently led her out of the room.
They stopped in the next room, around the corner and out of sight, but obviously close enough for us to hear any speaking out loud. None of us said a word. As it happened, I found myself the closest one to the door through which they'd gone. In fact, I found I could lean back and see...
Rita's back was against the wall and Holly was kissing her. It looked like her kiss was light though it was clear she'd positioned Rita where she was. I was in such shock I quickly retreated so as not to get caught. Only seconds later, Holly led Rita back in.
I thought about what I'd just seen and studied Rita. She was clearly aroused. Holly led her to the middle, then softly ran her hand down Rita's shoulder and arm, her own arm around Rita's back. Her hand seemed to flit over Rita who looked completely shaken. Quickly Holly undid her bra.
It sat there, covering her though no longer hooked. Still touching her, Holly circled around in front of her, once again touching each of her shoulders. She bowed her head briefly to help catch Rita's eyes. Then they stared, both of them with their eyes locked. "Take off your bra," said Holly, quietly.
Only a moment passed, and then Rita did it as Holly lifted her hands off Rita's shoulders briefly to allow it to come off. "Now, the underpants," said Holly.
I felt like I had to pinch myself to see if it was a dream. All eyes were on them and the room was totally silent. I think every one of us was holding our breath.
She did it. She slipped them down and stepped out of them, then stood there, totally naked, in Yvonne's living room. "I'm proud of you, Rita," said Holly, touching her lightly again. "Now, come here."
Holly took her hand and led her toward the other side of the room, but in a moment, she used her foot to drag an ottoman to the center of the room. "Now, Rita, my sweet, put your body over the ottoman."
Rita looked down at it and for all the world looked like she was afraid of it. I still couldn't believe we all sat there watching this woman stand naked in front of us. Holly moved to Rita's side. "Now, you must," she said, her hands on Rita's body, guiding her onto the thing. While Rita finally began to comply, Holly's hand casually and briefly touched her rear. "Good girl," said Holly as Rita lay her self fully on the thing, and patted her back.
Then she went to her bag again and pulled out pieces of rope, perhaps a couple of feet each. Of all things, she handed them to me, or at least all but one. Then, one by one, she took the ropes from me, tying Rita's arms and legs to the legs of the ottoman. Finally she took a cloth out of her bag and blindfolded Rita. "Perfect," she said with a smile, briefly looking around at the rest of us. Then she picked up the cane.