Such Sweet Sorrow
Chapter 17: The Munch - January
Phil Lane & Freddie Clegg © 2010
BDSM Sex Story: Chapter 17: The Munch - January - A new story from Phil Lane & Freddie Clegg. Jenny returns to Inward Bound, where she learned so much of her submissive drives in "Thesis" (also available here at Storiesonline) but what does all this mean for Joe, her husband? Should he try to learn more of her desires?
14 Months And 447 Days After Jenny's Disappearance
It's about three months after my adventure with Ylena; over a year now since Jenny disappeared. I can't believe it's so long. The anniversary was painful and of course the press were around again asking questions. After the initial 'forensic' part of their investigation, the Police contacted the media with the story and there was a wave of interest. Jenny's parents were seen as tragic figures: a close family loosing a much loved child. And me? I felt I was treated with much more suspicion. The husband: was he instrumental in his wife's disappearance? Did he drive her away? Did she run away from him? I began to feel more like a liability that an asset to the media campaign and so we agreed that Jenny's parents would take centre stage and keep up the pressure on the media, trying to find their daughter whilst I should stay in the background. I suppose The Press want to tell a good story as well as report the news and the idea of a brutal – or boring – husband disposing of his wife or merely driving her away is an easier story to tell - an easier tale to believe - than the truth: a much loved wife and daughter who, without reason, disappears into thin air with out warning, never to be seen again.
I've tried to convince myself that something happened to Jenny but the longer it goes without any word the more I'm convinced that she left me. It seems a terrible thing to say; as though I've given up on finding her. That's not true of course but I suppose if I'm honest I've felt that was what happened all along. It was my fault that now she's gone.
I'm checking my emails. There are two significant emails for me in my inbox.
The first comes from Missing People to update me about hits on the "Find Jenny" website they helped us to set up. There have been plenty of hits but no news. I stare at the email for several minutes – and then go to the site, to visit her once more. There she is, looking out at me from the screen, smiling, silent. I heave a sigh and stare back. It seems cruel to go too soon – as if she would know, in some odd way. I used to visit every day and speak regularly to the contacts at the Charity. I used to think it would all come right, if I could just be patient for a little while. After all, if I had almost found her, through my own efforts, surely the police would soon actually find her? Then weeks quickly became months and now more than a whole year has passed. The charity has been very supportive and at least they help Jenny's parents and me to do things, so we are not just waiting, passively, for "developments" (as the police say) to take place. But there never are any developments and I am left to search for her in the places she seemed to be at home and always, she is never there...
Which brings me to the second 'significant' email.
Corinne has proved as good as her word: an invitation to a munch has arrived. There's an email from her in my in-box this morning, with a contact address and a copy of the note she's sent introducing me. "Someone I know that is just starting to get into the scene, very much exploring how it might be for him, " the note says, which sounds like a pretty good summary, to me.
I email the contact. I'm not really sure how much detail to go into so I just say I'd like to come along and what are the arrangements for the next meeting?
The reply is a bit surprising. It's not that different to some of the invitations I get to events connected with my work, but I suppose I should stop being puzzled by how "normal" BDSM is to the people who are part of it. I'm also surprised by the venue. It's a pub not far from Warwick, beside a canal. I know it. I've been there a few times and it never struck me as being "that sort of place". What sort of place? Is it really any different from any other bunch of enthusiasts meeting one another in a pub? Before, I would have said definitely "yes". Now, I'm not so sure.
The email comes with some notes which make up a set of terms and conditions. The whole thing is obviously highly organised and, as I read, I can see that each of the regulations makes a lot of sense. "The Munch is a casual get-together in a public but kink-friendly setting," the email says. "The dress code is for casual everyday clothes – no kinky or fetish wear, please, it just upsets the other customers and makes life difficult for everyone. No toys allowed either and no selling or photography. Kinky conversation is more than welcome but remember folk are there for interaction not to listen to monologues. Fetish fascists are definitely not welcome. Please don't indulge in 'scene' behaviour or play. It isn't a Play Party or a Fetish Night – but you could go on to the PER party later. Please be polite and discreet with the vanilla serving staff. Do NOT try to "convert" them, they are VANILLA and at work, so please pause the kinky talk when they are serving. Most of all though, enjoy the company and have fun."
At the bottom of the note the organiser has added. "Corinne didn't say if you were bringing anyone or not. It's probably easier if you do but if not, don't worry."
I hadn't thought about bringing a companion, but it makes sense: If people think I'm a Dom will they think I'm trying to recruit their subs? if they think I'm sub will they expect me to hit on the Doms? It's like single people turning up at any other social gathering. The world isn't really organised for singles.
Could I invite Cathy Corbin? I'm sure she'd come, if only to help me for Jenny's sake but I'm not sure how I'd explain it to George:
"I'd like to take your wife out on a date to meet a bunch of kinks and perverts." Would that work? Possibly not! In the end I decide to go on my own and manage any misconceptions which arise.
I arrive just after the the start of the event. It's never a good idea to be first but perhaps that may not be the case, for something like this. The curious feeling of being appraised by men and women as I come into the room is a strange and unfamiliar one. I suppose it's something women have to put up with all the time, in the vanilla world, but I've never experienced it before. I'm not sure how, or even if, to introduce myself but decide just to be straightforward: "Hi," I say, "I'm Joe."
I almost add "and I'm interested in BDSM" but then I tell myself, they know that because why else would you be here?
One figure breaks away from the middle of the reassuringly ordinary crowd and comes over to me. It's a big, balding man with a short beard and bare but heavily tattooed arms. He looks like a biker, although he's wearing jeans instead of leathers. "Hullo Joe," he says, "welcome. Glad you could come. I'm Zeph – in other words, firstname.lastname@example.org."
This is the email address of the organiser and he shakes my hand warmly. "Well, thanks for letting me tag along," I respond.
I know it's a foolish stereotype but he looks just like I imagine a dominant man should look. Actually that's not fair. I suppose I have two versions in my mind, this guy and a rather thin, effete man with carefully groomed hair and a thin moustache.
"You won't know anyone, I guess?" Zeph asks.
I look around not expecting to recognise anyone but then I realise that there is at least one couple that I've seen around the university canteen when I've lunched there with Jenny. It's a bit of a surprise. What if someone here knows me? I don't know their names so I say, "No, I'm afraid not," but I'm starting to feel uneasy.
"Well don't worry, they won't bite. Well, not the subs at any rate!" He laughs. A large warm confident laugh. "And don't worry if you do see someone you know. They are here for the same reason you are, don't forget. Look, I have to get a few things sorted. Harriet and Peter have been coming here for a while. They are good fun. Zeph places a large heavy arm across my shoulders and guides me towards them."
The three of us talk for a while. It turns out that Harriet and Peter
have been into the scene " forever". They look like throwbacks to the nineteen sixties. When the rest of their friends were into the hippy scene, turning on and dropping out, they must have been discovering BDSM.
"It felt like we were inventing it," Peter says.
"It was more underground than smoking dope, believe me!" Harriet agrees. "There wasn't the network that exists today, the social groups."
"No internet of course. Just a few magazines..."
" ... That came out when they felt like it and you could only buy in very strange shops. Do you remember scouring 'Forum' for the occasional kinky article or letter?" Peter nods and Harriet continues. "Nobody you could get bondage toys from. We had a pair of police surplus handcuffs and that was our toybox."
"We used to try to get hold of some of the American bondage magazine for ideas..."
"And those paperback books – in yellow bindings."
"And there was 'Atomage'..."
"And watching 'The Avengers'..." Harriet is smiling, remembering. "I'm sorry. This is very rude. We get a bit caught up in the past sometimes. It's just good to see people enjoying things much more openly. I think we're all very lucky. How did you get into this?"
"Well my wife introduced me to it, I guess."
"Is she here?"
"No." The conversation is really not going in the direction I want it to. "We're, well, she's away at the moment."
"That's a shame."
"Yes. I think she'd rather be here. In fact I'm sure of it. Everyone's so friendly."
Peter nods. "Yes, they're a good bunch of people, mainly. There's a couple of folk I wouldn't want to get into a scene with – top or bottom – and some of the more extreme games that some people like aren't our sort of thing but if that's what they like, then fair enough."
"I suppose it's a hang-over from our 'whatever turns you on, man' days," says Harriet. It's true they're obviously a pair of old hippies at heart, kinky ones, but hippies nevertheless. I can imagine them enjoying themselves with a Hendrix CD. She pushes back a wayward strand of greying hair. As she does so, I see a small key tattooed on the back of her hand.
Zeph slides in beside me on the couch. "I see you are getting on famously." I hadn't noticed him come back and actually I've forgotten my reservations and concerns.