Melissa Brandon was sure that Jonathan would be livid when he got back. She had tried to do what he told her, but she hadn't tried hard enough. He'd told her to pay up her Visa Gold. She'd almost paid it up by the time the December statement had arrived. And then, knowing that the next check would be the last one, she'd neglected to mail in the payment until nearly the deadline. Caught in the Christmas mail rush, that payment hadn't got there. She still owed $7.32 on the card as of the January statement.
The money didn't matter. Disobeying his orders mattered, mattered seriously. The first few days after the statement, she figured that it wouldn't matter too much; she would show Jonathan the check which had cleared since. As his absence lengthened, though, her picture of the scene darkened. And, as his absence lengthened, she missed him more and more. She felt totally abandoned. Finally, she called a number she'd promised herself never to call again.
As usual, she got a recording. "Master, this is slut 273. I beg for an appointment. I will call back later."
When she called back and identified herself, the phone was picked up. "You've been gone a long time, slut 273," a voice she didn't recognize said. "Come Friday at 7 pm. Bring $2,000."
The $2,000 nearly cleaned out her account. Paying off the Visa Gold on Jonathan's orders had drawn the account lower than usual. She checked her watch by the radio on Friday. It was correct, as usual. She took a cab to Master's place. At 6:58 on her watch, she rang the bell. The door opened and she went in. There were the same two tables, and the same dog collar on one. The whip on the same table, though, was longer and looked more vicious than the riding crop she was used to. She spread out the money on the table which held the whip and her clothes on the other. She put the dog collar on, took the whip in her teeth, and got down on her hands and knees in front of the door. This time the wait seemed interminable.
Finally, the new voice said, "You may enter."
When he'd taken the whip from her mouth, she said "Master." He just looked at her. Finally, he gestured for her to rise. She walked to the post and he tied her with her belly to the post. Her hands were over her head and her legs were to each side.
"Count," He said as always. The first stroke of that whip, though, was high on her back. She screamed. It hurt worse than the crop ever had until the last blow. "Count," He said and lashed her across the same place. "I won't lower the place where the lash strikes until I hear your count."
She screamed again before managing to choke out "One." She had to repeat "fifteen" because her sobs muffled it, but she was still counting at twenty. She was still counting at twenty nine, and the lash was hitting her behind the knee. Then Master stepped back and did something else with the whip. It gave a much louder crack against her calf, and the blow sent fire through her. She screamed and then sobbed "thirty."
He stopped and walked over to stand just behind her. "Have you been a good girl?" he asked in a very low voice.
"No Master. I found someone else to control me, and now I don't know where he is."
"You found someone else? You're my little slut! Is that why you've been gone so long?"
"Yes, Master. And I didn't even obey all his orders."
"That's why you strayed. You went to someone whose orders you can ignore." It wasn't like that; she hadn't wanted to ignore Jonathan's orders. But Master hadn't asked a question, and he rubbed his thumb over her cuts before stepping back.
This time the blows came from her right side, crossing the earlier cuts. They started low on her leg and moved higher. It was lucky Master didn't order her to count because she was either screaming or sobbing too loud to do so. The blows were fire on her back, even worse on the inside of her thighs. When Master finally stepped back, she was hanging from the ropes. She knew what was coming but didn't have the energy to brace for it.
The whip cracked right on her vulva. She screamed and collapsed. Master untied her hands and lowered her to the floor. The rough carpet was abrasive to her cuts, but she took forever to summon the will to roll over and untie her ankles. When she'd got up and staggered out the door, she was faced with dressing.
She stuffed her bra and pantyhose into her purse rather than have them against her welts. When she was dressed, the voice said, "I've called a cab." She staggered out and got in the cab. She barely had the presence of mind to tell the cabby to take her to the train station.
She paid him, and got out. Before she could walk into the station and out another door, a car door opened beside her. "Get in the car." Jonathan's voice!
She had no will to resist anything right then. She got in the car and managed to close the door on the second try. "Seat belt," said Jonathan. That hurt, but she had no energy to argue.
"Where were you?" she asked.
"That's my question. But I know where you were."
She sat silent beside him as he drove to his neighborhood. They had to walk three blocks to his apartment. At least the chill air numbed the pain of her welts. He unlocked the door and gestured her inside. There he took her coat and gestured her towards the bedroom. He still hadn't said anything.