I live in an apartment right above this little factory that turns old clothes into rags for the metal-finishing trade. It's in Bridgetown, a run-down industrial part of the city that most businesses fled long ago, mainly because it sits in the shadow of one of the worst gang-infested housing projects in the city. Or did. The projects are gone now, torn down and replaced with luxury hi-rise condos, but the neighborhood still has the dark, haunted feel of gang turf, with decrepit and abandoned buildings and trash-strewn empty lots, urban wreckage everywhere. The neighborhood's pretty safe now, but the people in the hi-rises live behind heavy security and still drive through it with their car doors locked and their windows rolled up, eyes kept straight ahead.
Because of all that, urban renewal's been slow in coming, and rents are dirt cheap in the buildings still standing, and parking is easy on the deserted streets. The neighborhood's really a kind of hidden gem, and it attracts a certain kind of urban pioneers: outsiders, misfits, artists, drop-outs. Sexual outsiders too. The area's no-man's-land atmosphere seems to attract these little specialty kink bars with heavy front doors and barred windows, catering to a whole spectrum of freaks and deviants -- flaming gays, trannies, D/s and leather people, dopers, swingers. The area's getting a rep as a Mecca for kink tourism and we get a lot of people from the burbs and the better parts of town coming down to slum and show-off in a real life urban dystopia. That means we get a lot of amateurs and wanna-be's, but that's okay. They keep the place relaxed and there's rarely any trouble. It's lawless in the best sense of the word.
I ended up here after my last life crashed and burned, so I generally didn't take advantage of the various entertainments and opportunities at the kink bars. Sex had become kind of stale to me, and the whole idea of relationships just too complicated to deal with. It was a cold-cereal-and-TV existence, and it didn't help that this story happened during the winter, when the cracked sidewalks and potholed streets were already crusted with old snow and black ice. It was hot in my place, though, because the factory downstairs left the boilers running all the time and the steam leaked into my place through the ancient plumbing. So even on nights when the wind howled off the lake and rattled the glass in my windows, I could still sit around in my shorts, my apartment hot as a greenhouse from the leaking steam.
And I spent a lot of time sitting around in my shorts, staring at the lights of downtown and wondering how I'd managed to fuck things up so royally.
But on occasion I needed to get out, and when that happened I'd just walk a few blocks down to one of the bars, buy a beer and sit in a corner and watch people. That's as close as I really wanted to get to them. I liked Sal's 850 Club, an ancient workingman's bar that had somehow become the center for the specialty clubs, a kind of jumping off point. There were all sorts of pervs at Sal's, though the leather-and-Lurex crowd predominated. People drove for miles to get to Sal's, and after a while you recognized the same people week after week. That gave the place an unusually festive air for a BDSM joint. People came in groups to party and schmooze with their friends, so they didn't bother a solo drinker.
So it was at Sal's on a Friday night that I saw this girl sitting at the bar in a pink dress. She must have been there a while because I certainly would have noticed her coming in, but as it was, I didn't pay her any attention till I was well into my beer. She was a beautiful girl, dark and Spanish-looking, and her dress stood out mainly for its plainness. It was a nice dress but looked overly formal and old-fashioned for Sal's, kind of girly and wholesome. It almost looked like a prom dress, the kind they wore when I was in high school, and for a while I wondered whether she might have gotten lost on her way to a homecoming dance and had ducked into Sal's to wait for someone to come pick her up. She wore very un-promlike hi black boots with wicked heels, but maybe her good shoes were in her car. Or maybe she was a hooker who specialized in this homecoming queen look.
It all seemed very odd. She was alone at the bar with her coat draped over the stool, nursing what looked like a coke. People entered and walked by her without a glance, and she didn't seem very interested in them, so there went the hooker theory. She just sat there looking a little bit lost, but politely so. I couldn't figure her out—definitely younger than most of the crowd, with long curly black hair, and from what I could tell, a fantastic body. What really fascinated me was her look of wholesomeness. She almost glowed, like a rose in a briar patch. She intrigued me.
She had to be lost. She had to be someone whose car had broken down or had otherwise become stranded here and was huddling in Sal's awaiting rescue. It didn't seem like a good position for a girl like her to be in.
After a time, when it was just the two of us at the bar, I leaned toward her. "Excuse me? I don't mean to pry, but are you waiting for someone?"
Her look was polite and guileless and the innocence of her eyes surprised me. I was wearing a plain old sweater and jeans and must have looked pretty non-threatening compared to the rest of the crowd, and I'm older too, which sometimes has its advantages. She decided to trust me.
"Yes. Sort of. But he's awfully late, and I'm getting kind of worried. Maybe I should call a cab..."
"Oh? Is he a regular? Maybe he's someone I know. I'm here a lot 'cause I live just down the street. Does he live around here?"
"I don't really know where he lives," she said. "His name is Calvin but I don't know his last name. He says people call him Sir Calvin."
"Sir Calvin?" I asked. A lot of people here were Sir Someone or Lord Something or Mistress Whatever. "I don't think I know any Sir Calvins. What's he look like?"
She played with the straw in her drink and shrugged. "He had brown hair, around shoulder length? But he dyed it so he said now he's blond. And a beard, kind of like a goatee, but that's blond too now, with brown streaks. He said I'd recognize him from his brown leathers and his cowboy boots. He wears green cowboy boots, he said. He said everyone knows his boots."
I immediately knew who she was talking about: a loud and burly dom who liked leading his women around on a dog leash and making them kneel at his stool as he held court. The man was an asshole if I was any judge, one of those guys who confuses egomania with sexual dominance.
I didn't see any reason to tell her any of that, though.
"So you're meeting him for the first time?"
"Kind of a blind date?"
She shrugged. "I guess."
She turned those brown eyes on me. "I met him online. He's an online friend."
Down at the far end of the bar a man in vinyl chaps was leaning over and hooting in mock pain as a woman pretended to slap his exposed ass with a paddle. Friends stood around and laughed and offered advice.
I picked up my drink and moved over so I was one seat away from her. "Let me buy you a drink. You've been nursing that one for a long time, and I don't know if you really want to be sitting here alone. I'll keep you company till your guy gets here."
She sighed. "I don't think he's coming. He's like two hours late."
"No. And he won't let me call him. He has a rule."
I nodded. I didn't know exactly what she was looking for down here dressed like that, but I was pretty sure it wasn't anything she was going to get from Sir Calvin and his dog leash.
I called Skip the bartender over and ordered refills. Skip was a flamboyant twink with an attitude, but we got on well enough. He poured me some Irish and made her a rum and coke and put the glasses down in front of us. I paid and slid him a five and signaled with my eyes to keep them coming.
I turned to her and put my hand out. "My name's Aiden."
"Becca." Her lipstick was fresh and shiny, and she had a gorgeous mouth, her lips full and a bit pouty and a beautiful contrast to the innocence of her eyes. All her makeup was perfect and flawless, which was something rare around here.
"Glad to meet you, Becca." I shook her hand, small and soft in mine. "Again, I don't know if this is any of my business, but did this guy tell you what kind of place this was you were going to be meeting him in?"
"He told me it was in a bad neighborhood, and that I should take a cab and not drive myself, but he said it was pretty safe once I got inside. He's supposed to drive me home. "
"Uh huh. But this...?" I nodded toward the spanking scene at the end of the bar, which by now had dissolved into general laughter.
She glanced over. "Oh, that? That doesn't bother me. I thought it would be something like this. That's why I wanted to come. I wanted to see what it was like."
"Ah. Okay." I sat up. "Just wanted to make sure you weren't lost, or someplace you didn't want to be."
Oh no," she said. "That's very sweet but I'm alright. It doesn't bother me at all."
She took a sip of her drink and smiled at me over the rim of her glass, holding my eyes for a moment. "I guess I don't look the type?"
"Oh, I don't know. I mean, who knows? You can never tell. It's not— I mean..." I backpedaled frantically and then gave it up. "No, actually. You don't look like the type. Not from the way you're dressed and all. Your attitude, your look."
Her smile widened and took on a bit of slyness. "Good. 'Cause I'm not, really. I'd never do this kind of thing usually, coming to a bar to meet some guy. And especially not this kind of bar. I don't do those kinds of things."
I smiled. "But what? You're curious?"
She didn't blush, but she came close. "I guess you could call it that. Curious."
She tossed back a strand of hair in a way that was both innocent and provocative, then took a sip of her drink. She looked right into my eyes. "And what about you? You don't seem quite the type either. No leather, no chains, no makeup..."
"No," I smiled. "I was never much of a one for high fashion. It gets expensive. And it's not what's important anyhow."
"But don't you miss out? You still hang around here?"
"I live around here. And yeah, I like to watch. Old habits die hard."
She finished her drink and pushed the glass away, and I ordered her another. She didn't object.
"So tell me: how does it work, then? Do you have a slave?"
She'd taken me by surprise. "A slave? No. No, I don't have a slave. I don't do things like that."
"But you're a Master, right? A dom?"
I smiled. "I don't know what I am anymore, and I don't worry about it. But yeah, I do like having my way with a woman, that kind of control. Or did."
"I'm in a slow period now. A lull. It's kind of complicated." I turned back to my drink. "It's a relationship at heart, like any other. And relationships take work, and have problems, and issues. It's not just a matter of putting on your leathers and chains and giving someone orders."
"That's too bad. I'm sorry to hear it. Maybe it's just a matter of inspiration?"
I looked up into those clear brown eyes. "Maybe."
"Did you beat them and make them kneel? Did you call them names and make them do whatever you wanted? Did you make them call you Sir or Master, like Calvin?"
Her face was serious. I shook my head. "Everyone's different. You do what works for you."
"I'm asking because I really want to know."
She drew herself up and looked into her drink. "I know I'm not the type. I've always been the good girl. Never been in trouble, never hung out with the bad crowd. And it's worked. I've got a good job now and I work with some really nice people. I don't get paid a lot, but I have a good future so... That's who I am. I'm kind of stuck with it. I even still live at home with my mom so I can help out. Kind of pathetic, isn't it?"
She shrugged. "And then I come here..."
I nodded. I unwrapped a cigar and put it in my mouth.
She went on: "I mean, I'm not a prude. I dated a lot and the guys were always very nice to me, very respectful. One even proposed. Can you imagine? Of course I said no. I'm not ready for that. I'm not sure I'll ever be... So I don't know why I'm suddenly curious about all this, or why I should be meeting men online and even agreeing to meet them in real life. It's just not who I am. It's almost kind of creepy."
"Yes it is," I said. "The meeting strangers in bars part is."
"Of course, it really depends on who that stranger is," I quickly added, and she laughed.
"You seem like a very nice man. Like someone I can talk to. Because, honestly, that Cal was a little bit of a jerk."
"Sir Calvin? I wouldn't be surprised."
She looked at me and I looked at her, and in an instant all the memories of what it is to want someone came flooding back. I felt a stirring in my chest and in my groin, and I felt desire rise in me like a dinosaur from a swamp, jaws strong and teeth gleaming.
As if sensing this, Becca took the opportunity to spin slowly around on her stool and look\ toward the back of the bar, turning like a model on a turntable, letting me see the complete package. I had to smile but my heart was starting to race.
"Oh wow!" she said. "That's a real jukebox back there, isn't it?
I tore my eyes from her and glanced back at the old Seeburg. "Yeah. Came with the place. Still works too, far as I know."
"Can I play it?"
I pushed a dollar at her. "Hope you like '80's music."
She slid happily off her stool and went to the box. I sucked on the unlit cigar and studied her more closely. The dress might be odd but it fit her amazingly. Just the right amount of cling to show off her ass as she walked; just enough tension in the front to strain a bit against her big tits. It had just the right mix of suggestiveness and naiveté: the kind of dress a good girl would wear.
I hadn't planned on this. I wasn't even sure it was really happening. But there was little doubt that she was showing herself off to me as she leaned against the jukebox. Some guy from the spanking party looked her over, and a biker type in a muscle shirt approached and spoke to her. She gestured toward me in an I'm-with-him kind of way and the guy left.
There was always the chance that it was some kind of pick-up scam, but if so, why pick on me, the shabbiest guy in here? And why the almost home-made dress?
She came back to the bar and slid onto her stool. "I don't know any of those songs. And that guy was creepy."
She nodded at my cigar. "Are you going to light that thing? Or just suck on it?" She smiled.
I took it out of my mouth and looked at it. "Oh! Right. What am I doing? You can't smoke in here anyhow."
"I didn't think so."
"Listen, Becca: it's getting pretty late. If you're going to call a cab, you'd better do it now. A lot of cabbies won't pick up down here this late. They still think it's gangland."
"But don't worry. I'm just a couple blocks from here. I can drive you home."
"Oh," she said. "That's so sweet. But I really don't want to be any trouble."
I stood up and dropped some money on the bar. "No trouble. Come on, Becca. I'm just down the street."
She didn't take long to decide. She stood up and I helped her on with her good-girl coat and waited as she pulled on a gray stocking cap and leather gloves. She even had a knitted scarf she threw around her neck. She looked adorable bundled up like that.
I put on my coat and led her out into the night.
The street was dark and the wind was fiercely cold. The stores around here had been boarded up years ago and the streetlights were dim and neglected so it was hard to see, but I was used to it. When I offered her my arm, she took it and pressed close. If she was reminding me that she had breasts, she needn't have bothered.
"You kind of remind me of my Uncle Mike," she said.
"Is that good?"
"Yeah He's my favorite. He always called me princess."
"Princess," I repeated. "Yeah, I can see that."
We came to an intersection illuminated only by a hanging traffic light, which dutifully turned red as we approached. Automatically we stopped, though there wasn't a car or a soul in sight. Some trash blew down the cross street and the wind gusted cold. I turned my face away from the bitter wind. Becca clung to my arm and shivered against me.
I pulled her back and out of the wind, back into the shelter of a long-shuttered pharmacy doorway and I looked at her face, tinted red by the glow of the stoplight. Without even thinking about it, I kissed her. I just took her coat in my hands and pulled her close and kissed her. She wasn't startled or surprised. She 'd known it was going to happen so she let it. She didn't resist, but she didn't really kiss back either. She just stood there and let me kiss her.
But the effect on me was electric and instantaneous. I pushed her back into the darkness of the doorway, back against the cold brick wall and pressed myself against her, holding her face in my hands as I kissed her and fed on her mouth as if drawing sustenance from those lips. I was suddenly on fire for her, as if all the pent-up need of the last year had suddenly burst like a dam and flooded me with desire. I kissed her and she let me but I needed to feel more of a response than that, some acknowledgement of the ferocity of my need. Instinctively I opened two buttons on her coat and slid my hand inside, seeking her warmth. I found her breast, heavy and full in my hand, and warm through the fabric of her dress. I squeezed it. I massaged it. I pressed her against the wall and kissed her and squeezed her breast and finally I felt it: the barest whisper of a moan against my lips, her admission of desire.
I stopped, a little shocked by my loss of control, still holding her breast in my hand. I leaned my forehead against hers and tried to regain some composure, and we stood there like that, the steam from our breaths mingling in the cold air. My hand continued its exploration inside her coat and my fingers found the little bump of her nipple beneath her bra and I stroked it. I felt it rise up to me as if begging for attention and I took it in my fingers and pinched it, softly at first, and when I heard her moan I did it harder. She gasped, a little sound of surprise, and leaned back against the wall, eyes closed, waiting.
I pinched it again and again she groaned, arching her back against the brick and pushing herself into my hand. Then she caught herself and pulled back, bringing her shoulders up shyly. But I'd seen. I'd heard that little cry.
She liked the pain, the roughness. She liked the way I squeezed her breast and pinched her nipple and there was no hiding it now. I pinched it again and gave it a little twist and her gasp was louder this time, her pleasure more obvious. She bit her lip but didn't pull away and didn't try to stop me and right then I knew who she was and what she wanted. I knew it exactly, like I knew my own name, and it was just what I wanted too, what I'd been looking for.
"Good girl," I whispered. "You are a good girl, aren't you Becca? And aren't you a little tired of it."
She whined softly and kept her eyes closed, but I knew she was listening to me with the same rapt attention she was giving to my fingers on her nipple.
"Aren't you a little tired of everyone treating you like a little princess and being so nice to you and polite showing you so much respect that you're starting to choke on it?"
I pinched her again and she trembled.
"No," she breathed. "No. You're wrong. No..."
I had the urge to reach my hand up under her dress and shock her with my touch, but it was too damned cold and I didn't want it to be that kind of shock.