"...you got a last name, mystery man?"
Nora winced and shifted her position, trying to balance on her left leg and not put too much weight on her arms. Her right leg was still buckled into a leather cuff with a soft sheepskin liner, which was attached to a complicated system of pulleys that hung from the thick oak beam in the center of the attic ceiling.
Danny glanced up at her. He had toweled off and put on a fluffy black terrycloth bathrobe before coming back upstairs to get Nora out of her restraints, but he didn’t smell like he’d taken a shower yet. “Hold still,” he said in a reasonable tone of voice. “If you slip now, all the weight’s gonna go on your shoulders, and they’re gonna pop out of socket.”
Nora nodded tiredly. “Sorry, Sir.”
Danny unbuckled Nora’s ankle and put her foot on the floor. “It’s okay. I just don’t want you to hurt yourself.”
Nora’s tested her legs. A little wobbly, but she could stand. Danny stood up and undid the buckle of the cuff on her right wrist. Nora let her arm drop to her side gratefully. Danny got her other wrist uncuffed and put his arms around her. Nora leaned into the embrace, resting her head on his shoulder and closing her eyes. She felt small and safe. It was nice.
“You did really good, sweetie,” Danny said, rocking her side to side and slowly rubbing her back. “That was a lot of fun.”
Nora smiled tiredly. “I had fun, too.”
Danny kissed her on the forehead and helped her on with her bathrobe, which was hot pink rayon with a repeating motif of blindfolded, ball-gagged teddy bears on it. It was soft and silky and incredibly tacky, and Nora loved it. “Come on downstairs and I’ll wash your hair,” he said.
Nora followed him downstairs to the third floor of the house, through the master bedroom, where Danny slept (she had her own room down the hall), and into the big tiled bathroom. She was looking forward to painting the attic, which would be the last part of the remodel. Danny had insisted on black—typical Dom, Nora thought—and she hadn’t really objected, although she had negotiated for electric blue trim to match her mullet.
Danny drew a bath in the claw-footed tub. Nora took off her robe and hung it on the hook on the back of the door and looked over her shoulder into the mirror. “Holy shit,” she said. The welts on her ass left by Danny’s tawse were going to take weeks to heal.
Danny turned and gave his handiwork an appreciative once-over. He smiled, revealing pointed incisors. He had paid a dentist to permanently bond little caps to the tips that subtly but noticeably lengthened them. Nora had seen him practice that smile in the mirror, but she had to admit the effect was on-brand for Danny—menacing and mysterious. Sometimes she liked that.
“Aren’t you glad I bought you that standing desk?” he asked.
Nora looked at the floor demurely, smiling a little herself.
Nora made a Hot Pocket in the microwave and ate it alone in the big kitchen that night, standing at the counter. Danny was out at a party, scouting for play partners. She supposed she should find someone new herself, mostly for her, but also for him. She liked to feel like she was pulling her weight in the relationship.
She climbed the stairs to the third floor, went into her bedroom, and flounced down on the bed, which was piled high with soft toys. She hadn’t had any when she was a kid, and now she was a grown-up (when she felt like being a grown-up) with a Master’s and a real job and a house and a hot, dangerous boyfriend and she could buy all the stuffed animals she wanted.
She dug her phone out of her jeans, put CHVRCHES on her Bluetooth speaker, and opened Tinder. She ignored her inbox—her profile was mostly photos from her fetish shoots, which pulled professionals who wanted to be dominated, and that was no challenge at all. Nora wanted someone a little less reconstructed to play with. Someone rough. Ideally someone who didn’t know anything about BDSM, although that was harder and harder to find these days. Danny liked to break in tough guys who’d never been tied up, and Nora wanted to show him how much she appreciated all he’d done for her.
Left swipe, left swipe, left swipe…hang on.
“So...you got a last name, mystery man?”
Heath grinned. “Yes.”
“Gonna tell me what it is?” Nora asked, unable to keep from smiling back. She had serious butterflies. Heath had, if she was being honest, the most hardcore Dom vibes she had ever encountered. Nora was into guys who made her nervous, and Heath was pushing all of the right buttons in exactly the right ways, all without apparent effort. She resisted the urge to reach down and check the seat of her chair for a puddle.
Heath leaned back and looked her up and down appraisingly for a long minute. He sipped his herbal tea, then put it down without breaking eye contact, waiting just long enough for the silence to turn uncomfortable before answering “Maybe. You gonna be a good girl or a bad girl?”
Nora had spent the week throwing herself at Heath over text. The coffee shop he’d picked out was garbage, of course, and the village in which it sat (if you could even call a gas station, a flower shop, and a coffee shop a village) was also garbage. Heath, however, was not garbage. Danny was good at projecting intimidation, but he worked at it. Nora wasn’t sure Heath was even aware how intimidating he was, and she could tell it was entirely organic. She was going to have fun, she knew, but Danny was going to be ecstatic. Taking Heath was going to be a memory the two of them brought down from the shelf to keep themselves warm for the rest of their lives.
“Which—which do you want?” She didn’t even have to fake the stammer.
Heath smiled and stood up. “I’m down the street.” He took her coffee and put it in the trash, then reached down for her hand. Nora felt like she was dancing.
The details here are the kind I admire: Danny's fangs; Nora's mullet; the Hot Pocket. Just enough to be not too much, a sketch to be colored in later.
Dig the pacing too.