Salt & Vinegar Ch. 03byJett_73©
This is a stand-alone story, however I recommend reading Salt & Vinegar and Salt & Vinegar Ch.02 first.
In this episode, Justine 'rescues' Lena with unexpected results.
As always, thanks to Warrior_Wolf for the editing.
Chrissie had arranged for the three of us to go to the Lightning Lounge on Saturday night. Lena had a photography session to do in the afternoon and Chrissie was going shopping so we decided just to meet there around eight.
I had no idea what Lena was going to wear: sometimes she dressed to kill, other times she was almost casual. I opted for tight black jeans, boots and a short halter top, dressing my red hair in a top knot. With heavy eye shadow and mascara I decided I looked sort of glam-vamp. What the hell, why should Lena get all the fun! I knew I didn't have her gorgeous figure -- let's face it, Lena's in a league of her own -- but I'm not half bad myself and I reckoned I looked pretty sexy as I studied myself in the mirror. Since I'm my own worst critic, I figured that was a good enough indication. I hoped Lena would like it.
The Lounge was one of the newer clubs and had a reputation for being pretty hot -- both the music and the patrons. I was pleased to receive (and, of course, ignore: I am taken) several very interested glances as I strolled in looking for Lena and Chrissie. Not for nothing have I spent almost a year and a half with a sex goddess. I could picture Lena's walk in my sleep and I'm a pretty quick study. Even if I couldn't quite pull it off as well as her, I made a damn good imitation. Chalk one, Justine.
I looked around for a few minutes. No sign of Chrissie. Then I spotted Lena. She was in a dark corner talking with a couple of other girls. I smiled to myself. Lena's appetite was legendary. But as I walked closer, my smile faded. What appeared to be a casual conversation from a distance was something else. Lena was pressed back into the corner. Her eyes were flashing with anger and the other two radiated aggression. An argument? Lena made to move away and one of the girls blocked her with an arm and pushed her roughly back into the corner.
Let me say in my defence that I do have red hair. And, when roused, a temper that matches it. It was now well and truly awake. The girls were dressed neo-goth and the blonde one threatening Lena had a dog collar. None of them noticed my arrival until I gripped her collar, forcibly yanking her backwards and slamming her against the wall. My hand went to her throat to pin her and the heel of my boot pressed down on her instep to reinforce the point.
"Back off, bitch, she's with me!"
I was turning to confront the other girl with my hand clenched into a fist when Lena burst out laughing.
"See Stacy, that's how you fucking do it! My kitten's got claws!"
I spun in surprise, forgetting that my heel was still firmly pressed into the blonde's foot.
"Aargh, that ..." she gasped.
"Did I give you permission to speak!" said Stacy in a quiet tone that would have cut stone.
I was about to retort something when the blonde spoke softly and I realised she hadn't been speaking to me.
"No, mistress. I'm sorry, mistress."
Her eyes were watering with the pain and I quickly removed my heel. And my hand from her throat. I was about to apologize myself when Lena touched my arm. I glanced at her and read the warning in her eyes, which she reinforced with a very slight shake of her head.
"You will remain silent until I give you leave!"
The blonde nodded, eyes downcast. Lena decided that some clarification was in order.
"Wonderful entry, Jus, but I was doing Stacy a favour. She wanted to test Beth -- her eyes flicked toward the blonde -- and the challenge was to see if she could intimidate me. However, I think you've just given Beth a bloody excellent lesson!"
"She's such a hopeless, useless fucking slut!" seethed Stacy.
Lena eyes flashed, but she held her tongue. I couldn't quite understand what was going on and didn't really know what to say.
"Well, her punishment is to be yours for the night", Stacy said to me. "Send her back whenever you're done!" she spat over her shoulder as she stalked off.
I watched her go for a second, dumbfounded, and then turned to Beth. She hadn't moved and was still looking at the floor. I looked to Lena questioningly.
"Tell Beth to stay here for a moment", she said.
"Why don't ..."
"Just tell her, Jus", Lena said quietly.
"Beth, please stay here for a moment."
Lena frowned at me but, when Beth still didn't move, she shrugged and gestured for me to walk away a little with her. I looked over my shoulder. Beth remained motionless, looking at the floor.
"Well, honey, you now own Beth for the night. So what do you want to do with her?"
"What the fuck!?"
"No she's not! She can do whatever the hell she wants! Stacy seems like a right bitch anyway!"
Lena gave me a long look.
"You don't understand this do you?"
"I sometimes forget that you're such an innocent, babe. Me having corrupted you and all."
"Happily accepted!" I said with a grin.
"I take it back, slut" she laughed, then suddenly stopped. "I shouldn't call you that", she muttered under her breath.
"Yeah, but you don't mean it. Just like I call you a fucking whore and I don't mean it either."
"Well, in that particular case you're probably right, but I know what you mean. You and I know we're just fuckin' with each other, but others don't. I should be more careful."
She glanced back at Beth.
"Stacy and Beth have a master-slave relationship. Stacy 'owns' Beth for want of a better description. Beth does whatever she's told. From what I can see, it doesn't work quite the way it's supposed to because, as you've so clearly observed, Stacy is a 'right bitch'. Domination is not abuse. But Stacy abuses Beth badly. That said, we don't have the right to interfere either. Beth is the only one who can break the relationship."
I was horrified.
"Why? I don't understand."
Lena placed her hands on my shoulders. She looked at me solemnly.
"That's because you are a beautiful person, Justine."
She paused, blinked, and then looked at me steadily.
"This is not easy for me to say, so please hear me out. I 'owned' Stacy once. What Stacy is now, she learned from me. That I, too, was appalled by her behaviour tonight is due to your influence on me, Jus, for which I am profoundly grateful. Stacy is now -- almost -- as bad as I was. You saved me from that. That I regress and take advantage of you sometimes -- OK, I'll be honest, often -- is partly just me 'being a bitch' and partly that I forget that I don't own you. Forgive me?"
Oh, Lena. I took her in my arms -- and then smacked her hard on the ass.
"And I love you too!"
Lena erupted in laughter. Good girl!
Chrissie walked up.
"Sorry I'm late."
"Good thing we're not like waiting for you or anything. And what the hell are you wearing!?" said Lena.
"Like it?" Chrissie did a little twirl.
"Didn't know that fucking hooker was the look this season", said Lena scathingly.
"I thought fucking was what hookers did?"
"For God's sake Chrissie, I'm talking about what you're wearing, not what you do! Besides which, your taste in fucking men is only slightly worse than your taste in fucking clothes."
"But I like the taste of fucking men", she smirked.
I rolled my eyes. Chrissie has an appetite probably even larger than Lena's. She's curvaceous, blonde and bisexual. Unlike Lena, Chrissie prefers guys. A lot. Often.
"So", she bubbled, "what's the plan?"
"Well, you've already missed the warm up", said Lena. "Justine's acquired a pet for the evening."
She nodded toward Beth, who still hadn't moved.
"What?" Chrissie's eyes widened.
"Calamity Jane here came riding in on her horse and ... oh, to hell with the drama! The short of it is that that bitch Stacy's given Beth's leash to Jus for the night."
"Whoa, awesome! Girls, I think our plans now include ..."
"Oh, and I should just mention", drawled Lena, "that our Justine is also feeling a mite protective this evening."
Lena smiled at me. It was a nice smile.
"Um, OK ..." said Chrissie. "I just thought ..."
"I can guess what you 'just thought'!" I said hotly. "Did that 'thought' happen to include either of the words 'sex' or 'fuck'?"
"No ... well ... sort of. Does 'orgy' count?"
"You've got a fucking one track mind, Chrissie! And I mean that literally", laughed Lena.
"What I need is a fucking drink", I muttered.
"Well, you'd better bring Beth."
"What do I say?"
"Hang on, you mean Justine doesn't know how it works?"
"Leave it, Chrissie. She hasn't got your, ah, wide experience."
"Not many have", she said proudly.
"Just give her an instruction that's clear and precise. You don't need to say 'please' or 'thanks'. But you don't have to be rude either."
I walked back to where Beth was standing against the wall.
"Beth, look at me."
She met my eyes, but left her head slightly lowered. She was no longer crying, but the mascara tracks remained. Her eyes were placid and empty. It was a little unnerving.
"Beth, please join us for a drink."
I waited for an acknowledgement, but didn't get one. I felt awkward so turned and walked towards the bar where Lena and Chrissie were waiting. I looked over my shoulder to see if Beth was following and got a shock to see she was following right on my heels. It was like being stalked by a spirit. She was looking down and couldn't quite stop quickly enough to avoid running into me. Her eyes flew up to look at me then and there was terror in them.
"It's OK, Beth. Sorry I didn't give you warning."
What had Stacy done to her!? I waited a moment, but she didn't say anything and her glance returned to the floor. I turned and joined the others. We found a table and collapsed into the chairs. Beth remained standing just beside and slightly behind mine.
"Take a load off Beth", I said and gestured towards the vacant seat.
She sat, and looked at the table.
"Well, who wants a drink?"
"I'm buying", said Lena. "Good gig today."
We placed our orders.
"What would you like, Beth?" I asked.
No response. I was getting frustrated.
"Jus, did you give her permission to speak?" said Lena gently.
"The last instruction Stacy gave Beth before she handed her to you was to remain silent until told otherwise. The command still stands until you revoke it."
Hell, I don't know if I can do this. This isn't going to be a fun evening at all. I'd been looking forward to a great night. I needed to unwind from the week at work. While Lena had certainly ended it on a fun note for me (see Chapter 2), it had been pretty stressful as we'd scrambled to meet a few development milestones. All I wanted was to dance with Lena and share a few drinks and laughs with her and Chrissie. Beth had the potential to take the night downhill fast.
"Beth, you may speak to me and also to Lena and Chrissie."
"Thank you, mistress."
I tried hard not to cringe.
"Beth, would you like a drink?"
"No thank you, mistress."
"Yes, she would. I'll get her water for starters", said Lena and sauntered off towards the bar.
"You're looking pretty hot tonight, honey" said Chrissie.
"Thanks, but don't let Lena hear you say that."
"Why do you think I waited until she left?"
"No, just prudent. Not just my opinion either. I've seen a few other looks cast your way too. And Lena couldn't take her eyes off you the whole time you were getting Beth. And it wasn't Beth she was looking at either -- no offense Beth. She's gonna be so horny she's going to just hammer you when you get home you know."
"And won't that be a shame", I smirked.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw Beth turn toward me, looking slightly sick.
"Please, mistress. I didn't mean to get you into trouble. I'm so sorry."
My gut turned over. Chrissie and I just looked at each other.
"You haven't done anything wrong, Beth, and I'm not in trouble. Lena and I have a very, ah, playful relationship."
Chrissie made a choking sound, which she quickly turned into a cough. I frowned at her.
"Sometimes we play rough, but we both enjoy it. I take it you don't enjoy it when Stacy's rough with you."
"Not often, mistress."
"Does she hurt you? Badly?"
"Sometimes, mistress. But I deserve it for disappointing her."
"Can you show me? Don't expose anything", I added quickly.
Beth obviously had a different view of what classified as 'exposure'. Perhaps I should have expected that. She lifted her top up. She was badly bruised across her chest and one breast. The colour was deep purple, but starting to fade to brown around the edges in places so it was already a few days old.
I reached out to gently touch her ribs, just below her breast. Her eyes widened in panic, but she didn't pull away.
"Does it hurt a lot still, Beth? Are any of your ribs broken?"
"It doesn't hurt much at all now, mistress. I don't think anything is broken. She is always careful not to injure me."
Careful my ass! The fucking sadistic bitch!
Someone behind me wolf whistled, followed by laughter, and I realised I still had my hand on Beth. I spun around and the look of blind fury on my face stopped the mirth instantly.
"Lower your shirt please Beth."
Lena returned and placed our drinks on the table and quirked an eyebrow at me.
"What's got you all riled up again, Jus? By the look on your face, I'm glad you're not armed. You're not are you?"
"What? No. Don't be stupid. I've got you, honey. Men can only think about one sort of 'weapon' when you're around. I couldn't get better protection."
"Thanks, bitch, I think. Seriously, what's the matter?"
"Show her, Beth."
"That fucking sadistic bitch!" fumed Lena.
"That's what I thought."
"Ditto", said Chrissie.
"Well, you're OK with us tonight Beth. Drink up."
She reached for the water and gulped it down thirstily. Lena had known. I glanced across at her and she nodded slightly.
"Jus, could I go dance with Beth?" asked Chrissie.
I was surprised, and it must have shown.
"I'll be careful with her, I will. And well-behaved. Trust me, we'll have fun."
It's true, Chrissie is lots of fun. If you can get her to stop thinking about sex. When she does, she's bloody good company. She never takes anything seriously and her gaiety somehow rubs off on everyone.
"Alright. Beth, go and dance with Chrissie. And enjoy yourself. That's an order."
"OK, mistress", said Beth and she smiled.
It was like the sun coming out from behind a dark cloud.
"Thanks Chrissie", said Lena.
"We're just going to make a short detour to get your face cleaned up. Come on, sugar."
She grabbed Beth's hand, gave her a little hug and then led her off towards the bathroom.
"I think I need a hug too", I said.
Lena's arms enveloped me and held me close.
"This is really affecting you, isn't it?"
"Yeah. I've heard about this sort of thing, but it just doesn't make sense to me. I don't understand why someone would allow themselves to be abused like that."
Lena sighed and let me go with a quick kiss. We sat back in our chairs and I grabbed my cocktail. I needed it.
"OK, the Beginner's Guide to SM. Ready?"
"As I'll ever be."
"SM involves the giving and receiving of pain, humiliation and the restriction of personal freedom for pleasure. It is actually emotionally and psychologically complex. While I can talk in generalities, each relationship is highly individual. A good Dom understands the motivation, response and capacity of her Submissive and is able to carefully and objectively manage and control the situation. Being a Dom is as much about self-discipline as anything else. You've heard the phrase 'there's a fine line between pleasure and pain'? Well the aim is to find the line and hold it. On one side there's pleasure, but without sufficient pain to truly satisfy. On the other side is abuse where it is impossible to fully experience pleasure. Everyone's line is different. I suspect Beth's is shallow. I know Stacy's is quite deep. They're badly matched and Stacy is mistaken in thinking that Beth shares the same desires as her. She is enjoying the power, cruelty and brutality of her role, but Beth is probably already traumatised and at risk of harm."
"I still don't understand how someone can enjoy that."
"Yes, I know you don't. I think it's one of those things you can't understand unless you have it yourself. I do and I understand", said Lena. "Sometimes too well", she added darkly.
"Again, there are a lot of reasons and they're very individual. For a Sub, it can be as simple as an adventure or escape. Some like the comfort and security of being 'owned' and provided for. Some enjoy being servile. Some get sexual pleasure from pain. Sexual experiences when bound and restrained can be exhilarating as the constriction amplifies the experience. Others experience freedom from being commanded to do things they would never otherwise give themselves permission to do. On the darker side, some crave acceptance or believe they deserve humiliation, suffering or punishment for actions or conditions either real or imagined. This is Beth's problem to some extent. Stacy has trained her to believe that about herself, but it's not, I don't believe, an essential trait of her character. The risk for Beth is that she allows herself to be psychologically manipulated beyond the point where she is able to recover without professional assistance. Aside from the physical abuse, of course."
"A fundamental element of the SM relationship is the mutual agreement of a code or signal which indicates that a limit has been reached. Theoretically this gives the control in the relationship to the Sub. However, for this brake to be effective, there are several inherent conditions the absence of any one of which renders it useless -- a rational understanding of one's limit; trust that a Dom has the self control and willingness to observe the signal when given; that the Sub is in sufficient command of physical or mental facility to recognise the limit; and that the Sub is able in any situation to give that signal. In Beth's case, I think she's crossed her limit but has been manipulated by Stacy -- either deliberately or otherwise -- into believing she hasn't."
"Can we help Beth?"
"Do you trust me?"
"No, I'll ask that again. I can help Beth, but it will involve things you may be very uncomfortable with. I will also need your help, as much for me as for Beth. So, Jus, do you trust me?"
I got up and walked over to her chair. I reached down and took her face in my hands and looked steadily into her eyes.
"Lena, I trust you with my life."
"Jus, you give me too much", she whispered back.
"I love you", I said simply.
Lena rubbed her cheek against my hand and then took them away from my face to hold them in hers. She brought them back to her mouth and kissed them gently.
"And I am yours, my lady."
For the next few minutes, we finished our drinks in silence while the lights, music and chaos of the Saturday night club scene whirled around us.
Lena touched my shoulder and pointed through the crowd on the floor. I could make out Beth and Chrissie, who both seemed to be enjoying themselves.
"Chrissie's got a heart of gold, hasn't she", mused Lena.
We watched them for a few minutes.
"Beth's not bad. Nice moves."
"Hey!" I said. "I came here to dance with you and you're checking out the other options?"
"Whoa, look who's still fired up!" she grinned and I realised she'd been teasing me.