Midlife Correction Ch. 01bydr_mabeuse©
(Author's Note: This is a multi-part story of a BDSM affair.)
Julia stood on the snowy sidewalk for a long time looking at the whip in the shop window, wondering whether she had the courage to go in. This was silly. It was just a whip, a gag, a joke for her friend Lynn, and this was just a shop that sold leather goods along with its jewelry, not some sort of sleazy sex boutique, so what was she afraid of? It was a handsome whip too—dark brown and black leather, sleek and tightly braided, lying on a velvet pillow like a coiled snake. No one was around, the shop was empty. Why was she so nervous? Even her hands inside her gloves were sweating.
The store was small and discreet and featured jewelry in one window and what was basically bondage gear in the other. She'd noticed the place quite by accident about three weeks ago walking from work to the dentist's on a minor emergency. In one window were watches and rings and necklaces and bracelets, and in the other she was shocked to see leather collars and handcuffs and this whip, gleaming with a wicked warmth.
She'd been teasing Lynn about being the Dragon Lady ever since her friend had splurged on a pair of gorgeous black boots, and wouldn't it be funny to buy her a whip for her birthday to complete her ensemble? That's what she'd been thinking. But now as she stood in front of the store, the joke didn't quite seem so humorous.
It was unfamiliar feeling, because not much scared Julia. She'd raised a family, divorced a husband and put herself through night school while working and caring for the girls, challenges that made this trivial by comparison, so what was she worried about? Lynn would get a kick out of it. Why did she feel this sense of nervous excitement?
Maybe it was the dreams she'd been having lately, the sexual fantasies of being forced into sex herself. That wasn't like Julia. She'd stopped thinking of men sexually years ago, had reconciled herself to living a life as a single mother, but now these lewd thoughts were coming back to her with a vengeance, thoughts she hadn't had since she was a teenager. She dreamed of being abducted and tied up and forced to do degrading things, pushed to her knees while men loomed over her, tied to a bed as they lined up to take turns with her, and yes, in some of them a whip figured prominently. Maybe that's why it had seemed like a good idea and why now, faced with the real thing, she was having such a hard time going through with it.
You're being silly, she told herself. You've already talked to the sales girl on the phone. And she was perfectly lovely, even if she didn't know the price of the whip. Go on in, you idiot. You're acting like a teenager.
She stopped and, despite the snow, put on her sunglasses. She was being foolish. Wherever these fantasies were coming from, they were her business only. No one else knew about them. Her friends and Lynn would have a good laugh over the whip. She pushed the door open and walked into the shop.
It looked just like a jewelry store, dim and tastefully lit, and smelled like leather and polish. There was no one inside and Julia was relieved. To her right were cases of rings and bracelets, watches and pens, a typical jeweler's display, and to her left, items of black leather and chrome. They caught her eye and she quickly made herself look away, staring instead at the jewelry case.
A man walked out from the back, a distinguished looking man with a salt and pepper beard in a handsome black suit. Julia'd come straight from work and was wearing slacks and a jacket. She was glad she'd dressed that day.
"Can I help you, ma'am?" he asked. His voice was rich and velvety.
"Oh." Julia looked at him. She wasn't prepared to ask a good-looking man in a suit about a whip. "I called earlier and talked to a young lady. Is she here?"
"Inga? She's taking late lunch. But I can help you. I'm the owner. My name's Miles."
He smiled and held out his hand and Julia had no choice but to take it. It was warm, larger than hers. She wondered if Inga was really at lunch or perhaps trussed up in the back. She cursed herself for the heat she felt in her face.
"Are you shopping on the left or the right?" he asked.
He smiled again. "Are you shopping on the left side of the shop or on the right? Leather goods or jewelry?"
His smile was disarming, as was his forthrightness.
"Oh, well... I was... Well, quite honestly, I wanted to know the price of that whip in the window. I wanted to give it to a friend of mine as a joke. A birthday present."
"Mmm. That whip is no joke if it's the one I think it is. Show me."
He stepped out from behind the counter and Julia led him to the window. Miles glanced at it and said, "Yes. That's Italian leather, an eight-foot bullwhip. Entirely handmade in Cremona, Italy by the Lenda shop. Top of the line. That's twelve hundred and fifty dollars."
"Yes. That's a serious piece of equipment. We don't sell many of them."
Julia was going to ask him who they sold them to when she caught herself.
"We have more inexpensive items if you'd like. What were you looking to spend?"
Julia was caught off guard. She'd steeled herself to buy the whip in the window and wasn't ready for this change in tactics. She had a vision of him bringing out whip after whip, maybe demonstrating them on Inga when she got back from her late lunch. She felt suddenly self-conscious and embarrassed to be in this jewelry-slash-sex shop.
"No, no. That's all right...." She turned to leave when Miles suddenly produced a small whip and placed it on a velvet pad on the counter.
"Now this," he said. "Is what we call a flogger. This is a miniature model, very easy to use, and I think your girlfriend might get a kick out of it. This is only twenty-five dollars, but because you're so embarrassed, I'll give it to you for twenty."
Julia blushed. "It's that obvious?"
"Pretty much, yes."
She smiled. "I've never been in a place like this before. It's a bit more than I expected."
"We are rather unique," Miles said. "But I'm used to dealing with embarrassed customers. I could give you a paper bag to wear over your head if you'd like."
Julia laughed. "No, that's all right."
"Then maybe you'd like to take your sunglasses off."
"Oh. Oh, yes. I guess I'd might as well."
She took her glasses off and found his brown eyes sparkling at her even more disarming. Something about him reminded her of Pan, the forest spirit, though he was bigger, more imposing. She blushed again, but this time it was allowable, and he didn't dwell on it.
"If you think the flogger is a bit much, you could always get your friend a crop."
He reached behind him and put a long thin switch on the counter. It had a handle on one end and a small square of leather on the other.
"A riding crop," he said. "It might be easier to explain to her how you came to buy a riding crop than it would a flogger, if you see what I mean. They sell these in any harness and tack store. Floggers are only available in specialty shops."
"Yes, I see. And how much is the crop?"
"Same price. Nineteen ninety-five."
Julia looked down in the display case. There were cuffs with buckles and chains and silver rings on them, and they were exquisite. There were collars with studs and rhinestones.
"People really buy these things?" she asked.
"Yes. They most certainly do. And not just for birthday jokes. Would you like to see one?"
"Oh no. Really. I was just curious."
But Miles had already reached into the case and taken out a black leather collar with three silver rings on it. It was on a champagne-colored necklace stand, and he pushed it toward her.
"It buckles here in the front," he said. "And a lock goes through this hasp to make sure the collar stays on."
It was a simple leather collar, perhaps an inch thick, highly polished, with three silver rings and set with silver studs. It was an object of such simple eloquence, though, that it struck Julia deeply. It was a symbol of ownership, a slave collar. The inside, she noticed, was lined with black satin.
Julia felt that strange feeling again, a tightness in her stomach and breasts, a looseness between her legs.
Who would wear something like this? she thought. What kind of man would make a woman wear something like this?
A lock goes through this hasp¼
"There are fancier ones," he said. "But I think the simpler ones are nicer. More elegant. This is the highest quality."
She didn't know what to say. Instead her eyes fell on his hands, strong and clean, capable. She'd always been attracted to a man's hands, and he had beautifully masculine hands.
"I'll take the crop," she said, pulling her eyes away. "I think you're right about the flogger."
"Fine. I'll wrap it up for you."
He took a buff-colored business card from a tray and wrote his name on the front of it: Miles Bernard.
"Take our card," he said.
"Oh. thank you, but I don't think..."
"Take it. A lot of our customers come back when they think they won't."
"Well, I'd be surprised."
He smiled. "Maybe you'll want to buy something else for your friend."
* * * * *
The girls weren't home. Beth had cheerleader practice and Mallory would be at her friend Cindy's house doing homework, and this was Julia's own private time, the hour or so she had before she had to pick them up and get dinner on the table—her time to do a little shopping, or read her e-mail, or talk to a friend or to Ryan, her ex, or grab a quick nap, but now she ran home with her parcel and took it into her bedroom where she laid it on her bed while she changed her clothes.
She took off her sweater and jacket and blouse, then got some wrapping paper and tape and scissors and sat down and unwrapped the crop. It was long and thin and very black and shiny. Black and shiny as sin. The handle was tightly braided leather with a loop to go around the wrist and she slipped her hand through it. It felt divine, wicked and sensual.
Experimentally, she slapped the whip down into her opposite hand and it landed in her open palm with a satisfying smack! The little square of leather on the tip produced the noise and made her hand sting most deliciously. She felt her nipples tighten.
This is terrible, to play with Lynn's present before I give it to her, but still¼ It's not like she's really going to use it. It's just a joke¼
She hit her hand again and now she felt a surprising sexual thrill grip her body, There was a sudden anticipatory tension, a clenching in her stomach, the kind of thing she used to feel when Ryan was poised above her ready to enter her.
What would it feel like to be whipped with something like this? Whipped on her ass probably. Maybe her hands would be tied behind her and she'd be helpless to protect herself. She'd be laid over a man's knee. Or on her knees herself, his cock in front of her...
Throwing a guilty look into the mirror, Julia stood and unbuttoned her jeans and pushed them down. She leaned on her dresser, bent slightly and reached behind her like a jockey spurring on a horse, drew the crop back and tentatively whipped her own ass.
The crop was springier than she'd thought and the blow harder than she'd intended. It made her gasp and open her eyes. The sound had a satisfying finality and a hot spike of pain shot through her ass and left a glowing spot of heat that seemed to sink into her sex and radiate from the center of her being.
She peeled down the back of her panties to look for a mark but there was only a diffuse redness on her buttock she found curiously arousing. To think of someone bruising her skin out of desire¼
No, I really don't like this, she thought quickly. This isn't for me. But I wonder if I should keep the crop and give Lynn something else. This might be in poor taste. Really poor taste. Maybe a funny book would be better¼
She pulled up her jeans and arranged her clothes, then put the whip back in the box. She thought of putting it under the bed, but had second thoughts. The back of her closet would be better. That was where she stored her Christmas presents and the girls knew that was off limits.
Of course, that's where she put things she didn't want to be found, and if this were just a gift for Lynn Jeffries, why would she be hiding it in the back of her closet?
Julie hesitated, then pushed the box well back into the rear of her closet and closed the closet door. She gathered up the wrapping paper and tape and put them back in the stairway going down to the basement, then she got her coat and went out to pick up the girls.
* * * * *
Julia Lynch was forty-something that winter, divorced 7 years, and she thought her life, such as it was, was as good as could be expected. She had her two daughters and she didn't miss men anymore or even think about them much, so she was at a loss to explain the odd daydreams she'd been having concerning ropes and bondage, men kidnapping her and tying her up to do lewd and deliciously horrible things to her. She'd had these kinds of daydreams as a girl when she was about Mallory's age but she'd outgrown them and her marriage to Ryan had been as straight as they come, but now they were back, more insistent and compelling than ever, and they disturbed and upset her. Was she going through a second childhood with her daughter Mallory? What kind of mother and working woman could she be if she daydreamed of such lewd and perverse things?
Because Julia really wasn't the type for these kinds of submissive fantasies. She wasn't the type to dream of being tied up and ordered about. She was a paralegal in a powerful law firm, the right hand woman to a sharp and aggressive patent attorney, capable of standing up to opposing lawyers or angry clients and of doing it with tact but with resolve. She was a resourceful woman with considerable force of personality when she needed it, and she had a way of getting people to do her bidding. She was not what anyone would think of as submissive. She made a good living by gatekeeping the people who had access to Danny Addison and she intended to keep her job and keep her power.
She swung her SUV into the high school cul de sac and Beth came trotting out of the building, cut through the piles of snow, and jumped in the passenger seat.
Beth was Ryan's daughter, all sunshine and good news, blonde and brightness, and Julia would never have to worry about her. Straight A's, cheerleader, girl's track, as straight as they came, her eyes already set on a career in law when she went to college. Beth had taken over Ryan's role in the family and Julia depended on her more than she liked.
It was Mallory she worried about. Mallory was her child, Julia the way she'd been at that age, dark and moody, unsure of everyone and everybody. Mallory was the one who'd taken the divorce the hardest. She'd seemed to blame Julia for it in a way Julia could never put her finger on or get her to talk about, and the tension had stayed between them, a part of Mallory that Julia had broken and didn't know how to fix.
"Hey, Mal," Julia said as Mallory came running out of Cindy's house. She was relieved to see Mallory was in a good mood today. She never knew what kind of spirits she'd be in after an afternoon at Cindy's. Girls of fifteen could be so cruel.
"Guess what, Mom," Mallory said, climbing into the car. "Mr. Cameron said I had a good chance of winning first chair viola at the auditions next month. He says my playing's improved like a thousand per cent!"
"Oh honey! That's great!"
"Way to go, Mal," Beth said.
Beth's regard for her little sister was one of Julia's joys. It meant that, even if Mallory might not tell her everything, at least Beth knew what was going on in her life, and Beth would always tell her if Mallory was having any trouble in school or with boys. Together, they were still a close family, and that was paramount to Julia.
"So mom, did you get Mrs. Jeffries that thing?" Mallory scooted forward in her seat.
"Put your belt on, honey," Julia said, looking at her in the rear-view. "Er...no, I didn't. I thought it over and decided maybe it really wasn't so funny after all. Maybe she'd take it the wrong way."
It wasn't really lying, she decided. She hadn't actually bought the big whip she'd been thinking of, and there was no point in telling the girls what she'd purchased in its stead, because she hadn't decided whether she was going to give it to Lynn or not. She made it a point not to lie to the girls.
"Mom! How lame!" Mallory said. "She would have loved it! It's funny, like catwoman and everything. Mrs. Jeffries would have totally understood and Skip would have thought you were the coolest thing ever!"
Skip was Skip Heider, their gay neighbor and unofficial member of the family. Skip taught physics at the local community college and was the girls' homework savior, as well as their baby sitter and and surrogate dad. He had a wicked sense of humor.
. "Besides," Mal continued. "I really wanted to see what a real whip looked like."
It had been Mallory who'd first suggested the idea of a whip after she'd seen Mrs. Jeffries' new boots. Julia had pretended to be scandalized but when Lynn had laughed, she had too, laughed and blushed. They were terribly sexy boots, just the kind a dominatrix would wear, and Lynn, with her black hair pulled back into a severe bun, had looked just the part.
"What do you want to see a whip for?" Beth asked her. "You're just weird, Mal."
"I want to see if it's like in Indiana Jones, where you can crack it and rip someone's blouse off. Whips are cool. Sexy. Besides, I want to shock Skip."
Beth laughed but Julia pressed her lips together. It was eerie how much Mallory was like she'd been at Mal's age, even down to the same fantasies. Mal wasn't as shy as she'd been, that's all. She thought back to where she'd hidden the crop in the back of her closet and wondered if it was safe.
"Never mind that," she said. "As soon as we get home I want you guys to empty the dishwasher and set the table. We have to finish dinner early because I have a conference call at eight."
Mallory started to object but Julia cut her off. "Don't even start, Mal, because it's okay. You can watch TV in the den. I'll take the call in my bedroom so you won't interfere. Just keep it down."
It was an important call—a new client for the firm and her boss wanted Julia to get the details of Ross Brandt's complaint against Popular Products. Inc., to see if he had a case. Popular Products was supposedly ripping off his men's vitamin formula and violating his copyright and even possibly guilty of product libel. Julia was entrusted to do the preliminary report and evaluate the client before Danny Addison committed his valuable time to the case.
She stopped at the market where she got a pound of sliced turkey and some gravy. That, with some instant mashed potatoes, would be dinner. She would finish last night's salad, and Skip taught tonight so he wouldn't be coming for dinner, which he often did, wandering over from across the street. The girls picked up some fruit and yogurt and some cereal they liked and they got catfood and litter and some stuff for the house, then stopped by the office supply store for folders for Mal's science project, and by the time they got home it was pushing seven.
It was always like this, never enough hours in the day—meals eaten standing up, no time to talk, TV's on as soon as they entered the house—but by all working together, they were done with dinner and had the dishes cleared away in time and Julia was waiting at the phone with her yellow legal pad at eight o'clock on the dot when it rang. Ross Brandt and his attorney calling from California were on the other end.