Jamie faltered when the green door came into view around the corner, looking only slightly sketchy beneath the tattered awning. He’d never been particularly uncomfortable going stag, but then the fact that he was alone was hardly what had him feeling uneasy. He’d never been to a party quite like this. He’d never even been on a blind date before—not that this was what it was. In fact, it was very explicitly not a date, according to what precious little John had told him about Mistress Elizabeth.
He was aware that his dear friend had a bit of a second life in the kink scene, and so after months of strange fantasies and lingering curiosities, he’d finally gotten up the (liquid) courage to ask him about it. He’d been deep in his own Leoch whisky when he made the call, the tips of his ears burning as he stumbled over his words. He’d never really thought of himself as the type, was anything but subservient, but then perhaps that was exactly it. He was dominant almost completely in every aspect of his life. It had never bothered him before, never gotten to him the way it was now, but with the distillery expanding to serve international clients, on top of looking for a new space, he was desperate to be out of the driver’s seat, just for a little while. The fact that satiating that desire in this manner would also put an end to his dry spell didn’t hurt, either.
John, responsible as ever, had answered his questions with a smirk in his voice but refused to reveal whether or not he had any connections in the Edinburgh scene. For that, he insisted, Jamie would have to call back sober and of sound mind. It took him three days, but he did. As it turned out, he got more than he bargained for. John had brought him up to a friend, the mysterious Mistress Elizabeth, who happened to be looking for a sub. She liked newbies, apparently; liked being their first. And she’d be willing to meet him at a play party that weekend, if he was still interested. He was, and more so now that there was a name to the mysterious woman who might do with him as she pleased. John would tell him little else, only that she had a wealth of mahogany curls and that would be enough for him to recognize her. She’d be waiting for him at the bar at nine o’clock sharp. John suggested he not be late.
That suggestion was now the only thing propelling him forward down the alley, toward the green door that held a world he was completely unfamiliar with. He could hear his heartbeat thrumming in his ears as he drew closer, and for a moment he thought he’d better turn around, get back in his car and call it on the night and on this particular interest. But he was a man who kept his appointments, and he had to admit he was quite curious about this Mistress Elizabeth. Dipping his toes in the water couldn’t hurt, could it?
Once inside, having handed his jacket off to coat check and given the attendant behind the podium his legal name—though he’d go by Alexander here, for the sake of anonymity—two bracelets were clasped around his left wrist. John had walked him through registering for the event, so he knew to expect them. White, meaning he was new, and uncertain whether he would play, and green, meaning he was a sub. There were numerous other options, about what kinds of activities one was interested in, or whether he was looking for a relationship, but Jamie didn’t know enough, really, to be sure about any of that, so green and white it was. He wasn’t particularly worried about labeling himself to everyone at the party, anyway; he was there to meet one specific person. With the bracelets snug around his wrist, Jamie took a grounding breath and stepped through the black velvet curtain that separated the lobby from what he discovered was a bar reception area.
It was neither crowded nor deserted, with people grouped here and there around standing tables or at the bar. Something low and jazzy played softly from the speakers, and he was only momentarily stunned by some of the outfits he noticed before he saw her.
John had been right, her curls alone were enough. They were beautiful, tumbling down her back and over her shoulders, shining red in the warm, low light, currently obscuring her face. She sat near the end of the bar in a tight black dress that left precious little to the imagination, and a pair of high, strappy heels.
“Elizabeth?” he ventured when he came up behind her, stopping himself before he could reach out and touch her bare shoulder. He didn’t know what her rules might be, and he certainly didn’t want to start off by breaking them.
She turned her gaze to him, lips pursed and brows raised primly, though her eyes betrayed the slightest smirk.
“It’s Mistress Elizabeth to you,” she retorted in a soft, throaty voice that had his wame flipping.
“Oh, I’m—I’m sorry...Mistress?” Jamie stuttered, his ears burning bright red. He wanted to look away but found he couldn’t. The woman certainly had quite the commanding presence.
“Better. That’s a punishable offense, you know, not calling me by my proper title.”
He could tell by the tilt of her head and the smirk in her voice that she was teasing him, but still Jamie’s eyes grew wide, mind reeling as he wondered how exactly she might do that. For her part, this Mistress Elizabeth seemed altogether too pleased by his reaction.
“I’ll no’ make the mistake again...Mistress,” he promised, shifting uncomfortably on his feet. Normally by now he would have sat down on the barstool beside her, but neither this night nor this woman struck him as terribly normal. In the back of his mind, he realized he was waiting for permission.
“I take it you’re Alexander?”
When his eyes returned to her, he found her ogling him unashamedly, eyes dragging slowly over his body. A line from a book he’d once read came to mind about undressing someone with your eyes. For the most part, he tried to retain a bit more propriety in his own interactions with women, but as he watched Elizabeth, who was in no rush to finish her exploration, he suspected that was exactly what he was doing.
“I am,” he answered, and extended a hand. The slightest chuckle puffed not from Elizabeth’s full lips but from her nose and she simpered, fixing him with a narrow, questioning gaze.
“So formal,” she teased after a moment, her eyes never leaving his as she offered her own hand. Sensing, he hoped, what she expected, Jamie grasped her small fingers in his own and brushed his lips against the back of her hand for a moment longer than was strictly necessary. The feel of her skin was electrifying, warm and soft to the touch. This wasn’t a date, John had made that much clear to him from the get, but he was already confident that he’d be happy to worship this woman in whatever way she allowed him.
“Very good,” she murmured, more to herself than to him, and gestured to the stool beside her. “Sit.”
Jamie did as he was told, pulling out the chair and settling himself in the plush velvet.
“Oh, come closer,” Elizabeth chided, “I don’t bite too hard.”
There was a flash of white as the teeth in question sunk into the plump skin of her bottom lip, and Jamie felt a clench deep in his belly. She looked adorably pleased with her own turn of phrase, but her expression quickly returned to the slightly smug, slightly pouty look that Jamie had seen before when he closed some of the distance between them.
“You’re very obedient, do you realize that?” she queried, eyes glimmering over the rim of her glass as she took a sip.
Jamie found himself acutely aware of the unusual pride swelling in his chest at even the slightest praise from this woman. Finding her gaze a touch too intimidating, he let his eyes fall to her glass, sitting once again on the slate coaster, and the long, graceful finger tracing its rim over and over. It was mesmerizing, the way her bones and tendons moved beneath the milky skin, the pronounced blue of her veins like a spider’s web.
“Don’t make me take it back. I asked you a question, Alexander,” Elizabeth admonished, somewhere strange between a purr and a warning. The edge in her voice was enough to pull Jamie from his reverie, and he flicked his eyes up to find a stern look that had him feeling more than a little weak. Perhaps commanding didn’t even begin to cover what this woman possessed.
“I didn’t—I was—distracted. I’m sorry, Mistress,” Jamie stuttered, balking under her intense gaze. In any other situation, he would have been terribly embarrassed to come off so flustered, but it almost seemed as if Elizabeth was enjoying making him squirm. Testing his limits, perhaps, making subtle displays of dominance to see how he’d react. He, in turn, already enjoyed pleasing her. Perhaps it would be easier to submit to the mysterious vixen than he had thought.
Elizabeth nodded, looking at him expectantly.
“I—no, I suppose I didn’t realize...that.”
“Well you are,” Elizabeth hummed, leaning in close enough for Jamie to catch a hint of her scent. It was dark and warm, just like the teasing way she smiled at him, jasmine, spice, and bitter almond. It wrapped itself around him, just as intoxicating as her whisky eyes, and he found himself leaning in, too, as if under some sort of spell.
“You took to calling me Mistress rather quickly, too,” she continued, drawing the tip of her pointer finger down the hollow of his throat to hook against the front of his plain black shirt. With only the slightest of tugs, he was within barely an inch of her mouth, eyes drawn helplessly to the smug, open-mouth smile.
“That’s very good, Alexander.”
Caught between the pride of again gaining her approval and the buzzing anticipation of her lips on his, it was a little as if he’d been slapped when she pulled away, slung an arm over the low back of her barstool and leaned back, wearing a terribly self-satisfied grin. Though he did his best to control the look on his face, he couldn’t help but feel a little rejected.
“You’ll earn your kisses from Mistress,” she purred, stroking the back of his hand where it now rested in his lap, “ if you’re a good boy.”
That particular turn of phrase, foreign as it was, sent a pulsing rush of blood between his legs, and he adjusted himself slightly in his seat so as not to embarrass himself—he realized only a millisecond into the action that she likely knew precisely what she had done to him.
Sensing an in, the bartender approached and asked if he could get them anything, to which Jamie replied he’d take a Scotch.
“Oh, are you—?” Elizabeth trailed off, looking the closest to affected he had seen her. “You’re more than welcome to have a drink, but I don’t play after anyone’s been drinking.”
“You don’t—? Oh ,” Jamie replied, considering this for a moment. “No’ even one ?”
“ No , not even one.”
There she was again, stern in the sexiest possible way, with a slight arch to one brow that had his jeans growing inexplicably tighter.
With a keen eye for reading his customers, the bartender had retreated almost as soon as he’d appeared, leaving Jamie with a glass of water on a coaster before him.
Leaning in once more, and dropping her lips beside Jamie’s ear, Elizabeth hummed, “Do you want to play tonight, Alexander?”
His stomach dropped at the mere suggestion, the barely there touch of her lips against his ear as she spoke. She pulled back just enough to fix him with a questioning gaze that could have almost been mistaken for innocent, in another situation. Clearing his throat, Jamie adjusted himself in his seat once more, ultimately reaching for his glass of water to break the tension simmering between them. There was a gravity about Elizabeth that made him want to close the distance between them and taste her full lips, fall to his knees and prove his devotion, do absolutely anything she said. He reminded himself that that was her job here, that she was practiced in evoking that exact response in men, but he couldn’t help the glow of being the singular focus of her attention.
After a healthy sip, he dared to meet her eyes again, glittering and golden and tantalizingly dangerous.
“I’d—ah—I’d like tae know more about exactly what…. playing involves, I suppose.”
“You really are new,” Elizabeth murmured.
“I—yes. I’ve never...been to a party like this before,” he admitted, little sheepishly. It had been quite some time since he’d felt out of his depth like this, and it was as uncomfortable as it was thrilling. “John suggested that ye like—ah—”
“I do,” she interjected. She looked genuinely excited by this, not as though she were playing at any sort of game. “Very much.”
One pale, graceful hand came to rest on his leg, centimeters away from brushing his half-hard cock, and Jamie shivered. Her eyes, which had been set intently on his, dropped very purposely down to his lap for a beat, before flicking back up, slightly darker than before.
“You do too, I think,” she added, with a look as old as Eve. “Playing is whatever you need it to be. Spanking, whipping, restraints, denial, humiliation—whatever it is you might like. You set the boundaries, and we won’t ever do anything you are uncomfortable with. I take this seriously. But make no mistake, Alexander, you are here to serve me .”
She gave that particular statement a moment to settle, her thumb brushing slowly back and forth over the fabric of his jeans. Jamie swallowed hard, but found himself unable to break their gaze. When had she gotten to close?
“You like that idea, don’t you?”
“Aye,” Jamie answered before he could stop himself. If she had power like this over him now, he could only imagine what she’d do to him if he decided to go through with it—though that hardly felt like a choice anymore. Glancing down at her small hand where it still rested teasingly on his thigh, he couldn’t help but imagine what it might look like wrapped around his cock, her lips teasing his ear as she whispered praises about what a good boy he was. The discomfort of being in a world not his own was almost completely obliterated by how very badly he wanted Mistress Elizabeth to teach him all about it.
“Good,” she replied, dragging her nails lightly down his thigh before retreating to sit back in her own chair in a manner that was almost businesslike. “I’m not interested in any sort of domme/sub lifestyle outside of sexual play, nor is this a relationship that would extend outside of that sexual play. If you do choose to continue with this, your life outside our time together is yours. Either of us can terminate the relationship at any time, regardless of reason. You’re free to date who you want, do what you want, spend what you want—so if you’re looking for something more involved than that, unfortunately you’ll have to look elsewhere.”
“Unfortunately?” Jamie asked with a boyish quirk of his lips.
“I—yes, unfortunately,” Elizabeth stumbled over her words momentarily, appearing somewhat caught. “I could have a good lot of fun with you, Alexander. But it's entirely up to you. As I said, this is about you .”
“So, I’m....allowed to do what I want, in my own life...what is it I’m not allowed to do, then? If , say, you were to be my domme.”
Elizabeth lit up a little at that, but made a quick attempt to school her features that was only half effective.
“Disobey me, neglect calling me by my title, arrive late when we’re to meet…” she trailed off, and Jamie could see her gauging his reactions.
“And if I do any of that?” Jamie asked slowly, teasingly, leaning helplessly closer.
“You’ll be punished,” Elizabeth answered, again with those wide eyes that played at innocence. “For instance: were you aware you were three minutes late this evening?”
Not expecting that, Jamie sputtered a little, feeling heat crawling up his neck.
“No, I wasna.”
“And what do you say?” she queried, her voice low and teasing though her face was stern.
“I’m sorry, Mistress. I didna mean to waste your time, truly. I was—I was nervous, ken...coming in.”
“Good boy,” Elizabeth commended him, her tongue peeking out to swipe across her lower lip in a manner that Jamie was certain wasn’t by accident.
“You want to be good for me, don’t you?” she purred, reaching out to stroke his jaw with one finger.
“Aye, Mistress, I do,” Jamie choked out, holding himself tight so as not to lean too needily into her touch.
“You needn’t be nervous,” she continued, her thumb skimming lightly across his bottom lip before pulling it down, just slightly. Jamie fought the urge to suck the digit into his mouth, taste her sweet, pale skin, swirl his tongue around and watch her eyes flutter shut. “I promise I’ll be as gentle as you need me to be. I like to teach. And I have a feeling you’ll be a very good student, Alexander.”
“I—yes, I think...I’d like that,” Jamie shuddered, watching with an acute sense of loss as her hand retreated once more.
“What would you like?” Elizabeth asked, goading him with a playful glint in her eyes.
“For you...to teach me.”
Elizabeth appeared to consider that for a moment, then took her sweet time sipping at her water.
“Ask nicely,” she said finally, pursing her lips into a smirk.
Jamie swallowed hard, but his voice was steady, if a little shy, as he replied, “Mistress, will you please teach me?”
With a pleased look, she hummed her assent.
“I’d like to take you into the party, is that alright with you?”
She nodded toward the deep green velvet curtain at the other end of the room, her finger working the same lazy circle around the lip of her glass that had Jamie mesmerized earlier.
“This is a larger one, so it will be relatively busy. There will be music, as I’m sure you can hear, and public exhibitions, as well as private rooms, some of which have separate viewing chambers with one-way mirrors and the like. Bloodplay and watersports and the like aren’t allowed publicly at this particular event, so you won’t see anything like that. I think you’ll find you like what you will see, though.”
“And if I’m uncomfortable…?”
“We can move on to a different area of the party, different exhibitions, or you can take a moment out here, or leave, and that’s absolutely fine. I do hope you’ll at least try, though. You’ve made it this far, haven’t you?”
“Aye, aye. I think—I’d like to try.”
“Good,” Elizabeth murmured, sliding off her stool and directing him to get her bag before Jamie could even offer her a hand. He hadn’t noticed that she had one, but his eyes fell to the black leather sitting on the floor beside her stool and he bent to pick it up. He could have been mistaken, but he could have sworn he heard a soft noise of lust-tinged appreciation from behind him that he found greatly pleasing. The bag had some heft to it, and as he turned to follow behind Elizabeth, he couldn’t help but wonder with great interest and a little apprehension what in the hell it held.
Despite Elizabeth’s explanations, Jamie still had no real idea what to expect as she held the curtain aside for him, watching through her lashes as he stepped cautiously inside. There was an industrial quality to the space, a large, open room with high ceilings and rather loud music and darkened lighting. A decidedly different energy than the lobby, certainly, but he was no less interested. Elizabeth had ushered him out of the way of the curtain, but she didn’t pressure him any further into the party, simply stood beside him as he took it all in.
“What in the hell is that?” he asked, drawing closer so she could hear him over the music. There it was again, the smell of her, that made him want to nose her curls aside and bury his face in the crook of her neck. He gestured to a large x-shaped something of dark, polished wood near the middle of the room, on which a blonde woman was currently cuffed at the wrists and ankles as another woman drew back a wooden paddle and let it swing against the reddened skin of her arse in no particular rhythm. She wasn’t entirely bare, there was a scrap of lace covering her center, and judging the state of it, she was thoroughly enjoying herself.
“St. Andrew’s Cross,” Elizabeth replied matter-of-factly, releasing a huff of a laugh as Jamie’s eyes bulged.
“Christ, that’s what they call it? But that’s...”
“Accurate given the shape, no?”
Jamie shook his head, a kind of disbelieving chuckle leaving his lips.
“Aye, I suppose it is that.”
“Would you like to watch?” Elizabeth asked, pressing up to her tiptoes to ghost her lips over his ear as she whispered the question.
Jamie groaned, intensely aware of her body against his as she leaned into him. She lingered for a moment, then lowered herself slowly back down, firm breasts dragging down his arm. Jamie couldn’t help but let his eyes wander over her frame when she pulled away, surprised to notice for the first time just how small she was. Even in the towering heels she was inches shorter than him, and he had to tilt his chin down to look at her. He could see her nipples standing hard through the black fabric of her dress, and pondered what she might be wearing beneath to allow them to be so unobscured.
Looking around, he saw plenty of leather and latex, outfits unlike he’d ever imagined, and people milling about in lingerie as if it were completely normal. None of this felt even a touch normal, but when Elizabeth repeated her question, a hint of warning in her voice, Jamie answered in the affirmative, and followed her through the crowd without a second thought.
They joined a half-moon of people gathered around the exhibit, and Jamie watched with an entirely puzzling mixture of intrigue and shame until a hand on his back pulled his attention to the woman beside him. He shuddered as she caressed lower, slipping a finger teasingly into the band of his jeans for a moment before letting her hand rest on the small of his back.
“What are you thinking about?” she asked, tilting her head toward him conspiratorially though her eyes remained fixed on the scene before them.
Jamie swallowed, glancing at her for a fleeting moment as he considered his answer. In all reality, he’d been surprised to find that he’d imagined himself in place of the blonde woman, helpless in Elizabeth’s hands to be punished for whatever indiscretion. He’d seen others around the party with riding crops, and wondered what it might feel like, to be hit with that as opposed to the solid wooden paddle, imagined how it might look held in Elizabeth’s delicate hand as she did very un-delicate things to him.
“I was—imagining what it might be like...to be spanked like that. You, spanking me,” he admitted, feeling the unsettling burn of shame in his belly right alongside the thrill inspired by the mere thought of giving himself over to her like that.
“You’re blushing, Alexander,” she hummed, and Jamie looked down just in time to see her tongue poking out between her smirking lips once more. “Are you embarrassed? That you like the idea of being spanked by your Mistress?”
“It’s—new,” he answered, looking nowhere in particular as he focused on her thumb, stroking back and forth over his shirt. Her touch, thus far, had been so soft, but he was powerless against the nagging curiosity in the bag of his mind about how else she might lay her hands on him.
“You don’t need to be embarrassed, darling,” Elizabeth cooed, slipping her hand into the back pocket of his jeans and nuzzling her cheek against his bicep in a gesture of startling warmth and intimacy. “You don’t need to be in control all of the time, you know. And as I think you’re beginning to discover, it can be quite nice to be powerless for a while.”
She pressed her lips to his shoulder over the thin fabric of his shirt and Jamie went weak in the knees, blooming under her attentions.
“Let’s go see some other exhibits, shall we?” Elizabeth suggested a moment later, removing her hand after a squeeze that left him breathless. She began to walk away but, sensing that Jamie hadn’t followed, turned back and came to stand before him. Looking up at him through a thick fringe of lashes, she hooked two fingers into the band of his pants and tugged, walking backwards and pulling him away from the gathering of fellow partygoers.
It was clear in her tone that this was not a request. Who was he to disobey? With her fingers brushing the springy, russet hairs of his groin, he was completely under her power, and though his mind was still caught up in nervous energy, his body was more than happy to make a decision.
She released him once they were out of the crowd, but Jamie caught her by the hand as she made to pull away. The raise of her brows, as well as the pointed way her eyes swept from his, to their hands, and back, suggested that he had misstepped.
“Did I give you permission to touch, Alexander?” she asked, pulling her hand slowly from his grasp and crossing her arms over her chest.
“No, Mistress. I’m sorry,” Jamie answered quickly, arms hanging lamely at his sides as he looked at her with uncertain eyes. When a moment passed and she didn’t say anything, didn’t move, he suddenly feared she’d tell him to turn around and get out; the thought of the night ending there was greatly disappointing.
“Tis only, it’s...easier, I suppose, when we—when you touch me. But I should no’ have—I’m sorry.”
“You’re a sweet thing, aren’t you?” Elizabeth murmured, cocking her head to one side as she searched his face. When Jamie said nothing, she slowly extended her hand, but he knew better than to take it outright.
“Would you like Mistress to hold your hand?”
“Please,” Jamie answered, and when she reached down toward his hand he met her halfway. He followed her through the crowds, only dimly aware of what was going on around him—his whole world had melted down in an instant to that singular point of contact. Her hand was slightly cool in his, velvet soft and as grounding as he’d hoped it would be.
They meandered the main room for a while longer, stopping here and there to watch, her hand never leaving his. It became evident quickly that Mistress Elizabeth did, indeed, like to teach. She was patient and gracious with his questions, even when he thought he might sound a wee bit doaty, explaining with a none too subtle hint of seduction all the things he saw. It was working. Whatever this woman wanted to do with him, to him, Jamie was hungry for it, so by the time she led him to a secluded staircase off in one corner and asked if he might like to see one of the roleplays put on by the club, the only answer he could give was yes.
“Oh, good,” Elizabeth hummed, leaning up to press her lips ever so lightly to the corner of his.
“You’re being a very good boy for Mistress tonight,” she whispered, breath hot against his skin as he muscled down the rising urge to claim her lips. Her hand slipped from his, but only so she could walk her fingers up his arm. He groaned when she pulled away, but thankfully it was just so she could fix him with a wide eyed gaze as she took him by the jaw, her fingers digging possessively into his skin.
“You want a kiss, don’t you?” she teased, and flicked out her tongue to slide over his bottom lip. Jamie shuddered, and tightened his hold on her bag so as not to drop it like a numpty.
“Answer me,” she warned, tightening her hold on his jaw.
“Yes, Mistress!” he breathed, despite the fact that the lower half of his jaw was almost fully immobilized.
With nothing but a smug smirk, she released her hold on him and turned, making her way up the first couple of stairs. When she twisted around to look at him once more she was a head taller, and Jamie looked up at her as if he were looking at Aphrodite herself. She had him, hook, line and sinker, and she knew it, too.
“Follow me, and perhaps I’ll give you one.”