Mackenzie didn't see any exit signs, didn't pass any mile markers. There was no single thing that let her know she was headed this way, but nevertheless, there she was. Driving down the road that was her life, she had gone off of the expressway and into a rut. Damn. Not even an attractive word, and yet symbolic of her feelings in way that hit too close to home. Home. Another word that just didn't measure up to her hopes for the word. Yet here she was, about to leave home for the umpteenth time to get in her car and head back into the rut. She married young, right out of college. She had her first child, a son, when she turned thirty, and her daughter at thirty three. Two years later she started noticing a sameness to the lovemaking with her husband. By the time she turned thirty seven, she became the only one to initiate sex. By forty, even that dwindled to near zero.
Shrugging off her gray mood, her thoughts were buoyed by two things: the job and career that she found so much satisfaction with, and her two kids that brought such intense feelings of joy to her very gray life. It was everything else that was responsible for growing melancholy. Fuck it, she thought to herself, I'm going to have a good day anyway. Slipping out of bed so as not to wake her husband, she showered, dressed, and headed to work.
She was not a woman to let a problem fester, nor one to feel sorry for herself. This morning, she occupied her thoughts with trying to pin down what it was that was bugging her most. Once you give a name to the devil, she thought, it's easier to chase him out of the room. She knew that if she could name two or three things that were getting her down, she could address them one at a time. By the time she got onto the northbound freeway, she had Number One: Sex. It's not that it was bad, but that for the last few years, it either wasn't any different or wasn't there at all. An image popped into her head; John Cleese, in "A Fish Called Wanda", getting ready to go to bed with the shrill harpy that was his wife. A shudder passed through her. No way! She'd never let herself get that far into a freakin' rut.
At forty years old, her body's sexual energy was at its peak, and here she was with a twice-a-quarter, fifteen-minutes-and-a-nap sex life. No wonder I'm in a funk, she thought, as she sped up to meet the early-morning rush hour traffic. Now, how to fix this?
Two months after her commuter's epiphany, she hadn't solved her problem, and her frustration was growing. Initially, her plan worked. She pulled all of her seduction tricks out of the bag, and started working on her husband. It was great the first couple of times. She fixed romantic dinners, wore clothes she thought would get a rise out of a cadaver, and rented some steamy movies to watch before bed. Her husband responded well to the seduction, and the missing spark rekindled into a small tongue of flame licking the bigger logs. Unfortunately for Mackenzie, they always wound up in the bedroom, in the missionary position, with her watching him sleep after fifteen minutes. If anything, her unease was far worse now, because her engines were revved up, but she wasn't getting the release she wanted.
One Tuesday, she was eating her lunch at a sidewalk café, the weather being particularly nice, even for South Florida in the winter. The café was busy, the clientele was mix of natives and snowbirds escaping the really gray weather that she was so glad she didn't have to endure. Two women, very well-dressed, sat at the table next to her. Either they didn't think their voices would carry to her, or they didn't care. They looked to be in their middle forties, were slender, pretty, and had that sleek look of security and beauty that is seen so often this time of year.
"Kate, I finally decided to meet the guy I was telling you about."
"You're kidding! Tall and in charge, or the twenty-five year old?"
"Tall and In Charge."
"Mmmm, goody. Now tell me everything."
"Well, we'd been chatting online for a few weeks, and he really seemed to know what I wanted. You know how so many guys want to know if you'll meet them behind the Publix in fifteen minutes, or start off a hot chat session with 'On your knees, bitch.' You know the type."
"Booger-eating morons, every one of them."
"You do know the type. Anyway, this guy was different. He really knew how to push my buttons, so to speak. Anyway, we met for lunch in Wellington last week. He started off by telling me that if this was going to work, it would have to start right away. He said, either you accept all of my decisions right now, or we have a nice lunch and that's the end of it.
"I was a little scared, but I told him I agreed. You're not going to believe what happened next!"
"Believe me, Susan, I'm all ears."
"We sat down, and he said he was going to ask me some questions, and that he only wanted me to answer with as close to one word as possible, and that any deviation from the truth would be grounds for punishment later."
"Then, he said I wasn't to talk to the waiter for any reason, and that I should hold my hands in my lap until he said otherwise.
"When the waiter came, he ordered lunch for both of us, and then he fed me my lunch, one bite at a time, while he ate his lunch. It was so sexy, I was dripping by the time the entrees arrived."
Just at that moment, a family of three was seated at the table on the other side of the two women, and they changed the subject. Mackenzie was intrigued, and really wanted to hear the rest of the story, but she had to get back to work.
For the rest of the day, the start of Susan's story kept replaying in her head. That night, after her husband had gone to sleep, she got on the internet and started looking around. She learned that there was a ton of information about sex, power, control and submission. She started reading.
When Mackenzie decided she had read enough, it was time to act. She knew she didn't want to meet any of Kate's "Booger-eating morons", and she had heard plenty of horror stories about girls meeting creeps online. She knew she would have a friend standing by, ready to make a phone call to the police if she didn't check in. That part didn't bother her; she wasn't stupid or timid, and could always handle herself well around men.
She chose an adult dating web site, and set up an account. She chose an innocuous screen name, and would be known as "Lk2tryNew2009". Right away, she was stunned at how crude some of the advertisements were. It looked like she was in the trailer park version of online dating. Grainy photos of obscenely fat women with one enormous breast in their own mouth, rail-thin crackheads on all fours, and penises everywhere. How would she be able to spot someone worth talking to, if all she could see was a picture of a hard-on taken so close that the hair surrounding it looked like sticks? Still, she was determined to stick it out for at least one month. The old college try, she told herself.
She filled out the profile information, not wanting to give too much away, and still wanting to attract someone at least reasonably put together. She gave the narrative part some thought, and settled on some pretty mild language about what she was looking for and what she thought she wanted in a man. Being a fundamentally honest person, she noted that she was involved in a relationship that she didn't want to bail on, but that she needed a little something extra. Next, the she selected her sexual preferences from the laundry list of diversions available. As she started to read the choices, she felt butterflies in her stomach, and felt an urge to fidget in her seat. She was getting wet! Idly, as she checked off "D/S", "Bondage", "Light Kinky Fun", her left hand drifted into her lap, and she began tracing slow, lazy circles through her panties. This was hot!
Mackenzie finished posting the ad, shut down her computer, and went in to take a bath before going to bed for the night. She positioned herself so that the stream of water from the spout brought her to a surprisingly fast and intense orgasm.
The next days were a riot of work, errands, chores, and a dinner party with another couple. It was four days before she had enough time and privacy to check the results of her ad. She was hoping to find at least five responses. When she finally got logged in, her jaw nearly hit the floor. Almost six hundred fifty replies! Jackpot! Her elation was short-lived, however. By the time she sorted through all of the responses, she was convinced that every single male, and a surprising number of females, wanted to insert body parts and objects into her in a way that no woman had ever witnessed in the entirety of human history. Yech. Not one response she received was remotely interesting. Maybe next time, she thought to herself. Alas, she did not see any improvement the next time she checked in. She would have to figure out a way to filter some of this crap, or would simply have to cancel. She started by changing her profile, to try and weed out some of the penis photographers. She also found a way to restrict her incoming email to those that lived in Florida. A start, anyway.
Mackenzie was discouraged, and beginning to think that this idea was a waste of time, when one message caught her eye. "I think you should read this", was the subject. She opened it, and found a photograph of a smiling, good-looking man of about forty five years, with salt-and-pepper hair and a cute twinkle in his eye.
'If you are who I think you are, and if you are looking for what I think you are looking for, please read this carefully, and think about what I have written. I derive my pleasure from being given the gift of power from women. I use that power to do for them what they cannot or will not do for themselves. I use control, dominance, physical strength and will in a way that lets a woman know it is OK to let go of those same things for the duration of our encounter. Anticipation, control, restraint, and discipline are the tools with which I build and then release a tremendous amount of a woman's sexual energy.
If I have struck a chord with you, and you want to explore your feelings and limits with me, then there is a possibility that I will agree to meet with you. First, I must know many things about you. Spend some time writing your response to me, and tell me about yourself. Spare no detail, but what you tell me must be intensely personal. Second, anything you tell me from this moment on must be the absolute, unvarnished truth. I am always truthful, and I ask the same from you. It is the only way we will begin to build enough trust for you to truly submit to me. I look forward to your response."
Mackenzie was intrigued. A week later, she sat down, and began to tell a complete stranger all about her most intimate and personal sexual feelings.
Thirty miles away and four days after Mackenzie began to type her response, a man sat in a darkened room, lonely in a house full of people, reading. As he read, a smile began to spread on his face. It had been many years since he had met someone who could give herself so completely over to him. Kimberly was the last, and like the others, she had grown up a little more after the man had awakened the ability to freely give and receive power, and had returned to her own life, richer and stronger. Maybe Mackenzie could be another. Time would tell.
Two Mondays ago, Mackenzie unexpectedly received some flowers at work. The office clerk brought them into her classroom, with an inquisitive look borne from spending too much time watching late-night soap operas. Her students erupted into a ripple of giggles and smirks. Mackenzie restored order with a look that warned off any further silliness and looked at the flowers. A single orchid, beautiful and perfect, nestled in a bouquet of roses. The card read, "This is you, solitary and beautiful, surrounded by beauty and love." There was no signature. Puzzled, she went to put the flowers on the credenza behind her desk, and noticed an envelope tucked into the roses. She opened the envelope. Inside was a hotel reservation, printed from an online travel agency. On the paper, in a neat hand, was written, "You are ready." It was signed with a single letter G. Her heart thumped in her chest. He was actually going to meet with her!
Four weeks later, the seconds groaned by, and it seemed to Mackenzie that the clock was perversely refusing to move forward, in an effort to prevent her workday from finishing. Today was the day she was going to meet the man she had been corresponding with. Today was going to be the end of the emails. The end of the phone calls. The end of the anticipation. It was Thursday. Tuesday, another package arrived at her work, containing a black cocktail dress and instructions to meet him at the nicest seafood restaurant in Juno Beach at six o'clock Thursday.
Finally, her day ground to an end. She changed into the little black dress in the faculty bathroom and headed south. She had no idea what to expect; she only knew that if any more adrenalin pumped into her stomach, she might explode. She found the restaurant, parked, and went inside. She had only the picture that he had included with his first email, and she wasn't confident that she would recognize him. There was no one waiting for her at the hostess' stand, so she went to the bar and ordered a martini. God, her nerves were jumping!
After a couple of sips, she sensed someone standing behind her. She turned to look, and the man from the picture was there, with a warm smile on his face.
"You must be Mackenzie. I'm pleased to finally meet you." He extended his hand. It was warm. Strong, with the sense that there had been some hard work in his past. Mackenzie smiled back, as he motioned her back to her seat.
He ordered a single malt scotch, rocks. When his drink arrived, he took a sip, pausing as if to let the smoky warmth of the scotch seep into him. He looked at Mackenzie and said,
"I'm sure you have a lot of questions for me, but they'll have to keep until I get a couple of ground rules on the table. First and foremost, did you set up your safety net like I asked you to? Please keep your answers short and on point."
"Yes, I did."
"Good. Place your first phone call now, please."
Mackenzie took her phone out of her purse and dialed. After a moment, she looked at the man and began talking to her friend.
"Carol, it's Mackenzie."
"Yes, everything is OK. We're about to go into dinner. We're at the restaurant in Juno. Yep, two hours. I'll call you around eight. Bye."
As she put her phone away, the man said,
"Thank you. Now, onto the other rules, and then we can relax and enjoy our dinner.
"You have told me a tremendous amount of information about yourself over the last month, and I feel like I have gotten to know you from the inside out. Thank you. It took a great deal of courage to open up to me like that. I have given you precious little about myself in return. It will, unfortunately, probably stay that way for some time. I am going to extend question privileges to you over the course of dinner, with some caveats. First, you may not ask questions about what's in store for you tonight. Second, if I say that I won't answer a question, there is no appeal. You will go to your grave as a grandmother, never knowing the answer."
As he spoke, Mackenzie watched him, trying to get the sense of him. He was about six feet tall, with powerful-looking arms and shoulders. No stranger to hard work, for sure. He had the kind of square build that often leads to a drooping belly. While not exactly slim and trim, he carried his size well. He had neatly cut medium-dark hair, shot through with salt-and-pepper. It gave him a distinguished look that suddenly made her feel like she was fifteen again, colt-legged and giggly. What she noticed the most, and damn near fell into, was his eyes. His green eyes had a direct, steady gaze that she found captivating. Crow's feet were beginning to show at the corners, making him look like he was always smiling.
He was dressed in a pair of casual slacks, with a tropical shirt. A pair of sunglasses rested on the top of his head. He was wearing leather boat shoes, with no socks. The only jewelry she could see was a wristwatch and the small silver chain of a necklace. Very Tommy Bahama, she thought to herself. Still, it was a pleasant look, and overall, she found him attractive.
Their drinks finished, they moved to a quiet table in a nearly empty section of the restaurant.
"OK. Now it's your turn. I'm sure you have a lot of questions for me, and I'm pretty sure you're wrapped pretty tight right now. Rather than relaxing with another martini, let's just have a pleasant conversation. You'll be surprised at how relaxing it can be."
A torrent of questions burst into her mind. She chose the first one, and started to let fly.
"What's your name? How old are you? Where do you live?"
"Hold on, hold on. One question at a time." The man chuckled, smiling at her again.
"My name is Geoff."......
There was a steady, delicious parade of food. Appetizers, entrees, and dessert. He handled the ordering, and each course segued into the other with delicious harmony. They exchanged tastes of the other's meal, and shared a bottle of wine. They talked, and the conversation flowed as smoothly as the wine. Questions were asked and answered, experiences were shared. There was a gentle probing of philosophies from both sides of the table, and a discovery of commonality. Mackenzie could feel the nervousness and tension slipping away. When the waitress asked if there would be anything else that they needed, he shook his head and simply asked for the check. When the bill was paid, he put his napkin down, leaned across the table, and looked directly into Mackenzie's eyes.
"My dear, it's time to fish or cut bait. Question time is over. You need to place a phone call to your friend, and then make a decision. If you accept me, then you must give yourself over to me completely. If you feel you cannot surrender control, then it will be good-night. When you are done in the ladies' room, you can cast your vote by getting into my car, which will be waiting for you out front for exactly five minutes. If you are not in my car within five minutes, I am going to assume your answer is no, and go home."
With that, he leaned in and kissed her, full on the lips and tenderly. A warm and inviting kiss, to be sure. He stood up and walked out the door without looking back.
Three and a half minutes later, she was in his car as they pulled out of the parking lot.
The ride to hotel was very short, only a couple of miles, but was silent. When the car pulled into the port-côchere in front of the hotel, he turned off the key and looked at Mackenzie. Her heart gave a big thump, and butterflies were busy learning the tango in the pit of her stomach. The man smiled at her, got out and held the door open for her.
"I've already checked us in, and you won't be needing anything beyond a toothbrush, and there's a brand-new one in the room. We can go straight up."
They walked across the lobby to a bank of elevators at the far end. The doors opened to an empty car and they stepped in. He selected the fourth floor and the doors closed. He turned to her and said,
"Put your hands at your sides and turn around slowly."
She did so.
"You are a beautiful woman."
His hand reached out and slid gently down the side of her face, down her neck, and then gently cupped her breast. He lifted it up, as if checking the weight. He turned his hand over, covering it with his palm, and stepped in close to kiss her. Tender, soft kisses. Mackenzie's heart was pounding now, and she went to put her arms around him for an embrace.