The Siren, Page 33Tiffany Reisz
Author: Tiffany Reisz
“Yes, well,” Søren said as they passed under an archway into another hall, “Eleanor always did have a way with children. ”
* * *
Nora slipped off the bed and brought Michael with her. She bade him stand still while she knelt down and reached under the bed. She pulled out a metal briefcase, entered the numeric combination and snapped the locks open.
“Are you scared?” she asked.
“A little. ” Michael looked down at her.
“Here, I’ll give you something to help with the fear. It’s called a ‘safe word. ’”
“I’ve read about safe words…in your books. ”
“Good. Since you’re an angel, yours will be ‘wings. ’”
“Wings,” he repeated.
She dug through the briefcase for all the supplies she needed—rope, condoms, scissors. “If at any point you want to stop everything and just go home, you can say ‘wings’ and we’re done. We’ve all safed out. It’s completely okay. ”
Nora shut the suitcase and slid it back under the bed. She rose up and faced him. With him in his bare feet and her in her high heels, they were almost the same height.
“Let’s practice,” she said. “I’m going to ask you to do something and you’re going to say your safe word to stop everything. Okay?”
Nora took a step back and looked him up and down.
“Take your clothes off,” she ordered. Michael raised his arm and grasped the neck of his T-shirt.
“Wait,” she said and he stopped. “You’re supposed to say your safe word, angel. ”
He lowered his arm slowly.
“But what if I don’t want to?”
Nora grinned at him and came so close to him she could almost hear his heart pounding in his chest.
“Then don’t. ”
Michael raised his arm again and stripped out of his T-shirt. He bent over and pulled off his socks. When he got to the top button of his jeans, his courage seemed to fail him.
“Here. Let me help,” she said. Nora reached out and laid her hands flat on his stomach. They traveled down to his waistband and to the buttons. She made quick work of them and slipped a hand into his pants.
“No underwear,” she said, and Michael blushed again. “You really are one of us, aren’t you?”
His mouth was near her ear. “I want to be. ” He shuddered as Nora took him in her hand. She stroked his hard length before releasing him to pull his jeans all the way down.
Michael stepped out of his jeans and stood naked in front of her.
“Do you know what these are?” she asked from the floor.
“Cuffs,” he said.
“Very good. Bondage cuffs. Two sets. One set for your ankles. ” She clasped the first one around his left ankle and then his right before standing up again. “And one set for your wrists. You’ll like these. ”
Michael held out his arms. Nora took his left arm in her hand. She raised it to her lips and slowly kissed the scar on his wrist. He breathed in as her mouth met his ravaged skin. She buckled the cuff around his wrist and kissed the scar on the other. She buckled his other wrist and took a step back.
He examined the cuffs on his wrists. He looked down at the cuffs on his ankles. Michael met her eyes. In his face she saw herself at age eighteen when Søren first began her training. That moment when he first revealed to her what she would become to him, how he would possess her completely when the time came…looking down at her bound wrists and ankles; it was the first time she knew what love looked like.
“Thank you,” Michael breathed.
Nora coughed a hint.
“Thank you…mistress. ”
Søren brought Zach to another hallway—this one strangely silent and empty. Although quiet, it was far more colorful and elaborate than the other more nondescript hallways and rooms Søren had shown him. Here every door was decorated—some with extravagant S&M scenes, some with startling graffiti. One door had a faux coat of arms painted on it—a unicorn fellating a griffin. Zach had no doubt whose room that was. They stopped before a door painted only with words.
“‘We’re all mad here,’” Zach read the famous Alice in Wonderland quote aloud that was scrawled across the door in Gothic lettering. “I think she’s right. ”
“There is a method to our madness. Sadomasochism was once considered a mental illness. Now for many psychologists it is an object of study rather than derision. One in ten people are said to have experimented with S&M…although I would be surprised if the number were not higher. ”
“I would be in that nine. ”
“I’m sure that will change. Eleanor is nothing if not persuasive. ” Søren smiled at him with a smile Zach knew women must find charming but he found alarming.
“She won’t talk me into this. ” Zach waved his hand at the ominously closed doors.
“Everyone should try it at least once. S&M has a curious effect on those who practice it. ” Søren sounded professorial now. “The Dominant undergoes a surge of testosterone while the submissive experiences a euphoria that has been likened to the effects of opiates. But for most of us the physical sensations are the least of why we do this. ”
“Why do you do it?”
Søren paused and seemed to consider the question.
“To call what Eleanor and I had ‘bliss’ would insult it. Owning her, dominating her, training her to react to the slightest command, the merest crook of my finger, the barest change in my tone, and to love someone so much that anything less than complete and utter possession is unacceptable…that is the purest joy. ”
“But she left you,” Zach reminded him.
“Disobedience is as much a proof of authority as obedience. You cannot be a rebel without acknowledging a government. You cannot be a heretic until you are first a believer. And I could leave the priesthood, but I would still be a priest. The church would endure with or without me. Some vows are merely promises. But some are sacraments. Like marriage,” Søren added and met his eyes for a moment. “Yes, she did leave me, and I let her go. But she will return. Still, I imagine it isn’t simply the mix of pleasure and pain that you find disturbing, is it?”
“The hierarchy is disturbing. Women being enslaved to men. Women have fought against such treatment for hundreds of years and yet here—”
“Yet here they willingly and bravely choose to explore those aspects of their sexuality that are less than socially acceptable. Another study revealed that a shockingly high percentage of women have rape fantasies. What is the likelihood that your wife is in that minority that has not?”
“I won’t discuss my wife’s fantasies with you. ”
“Did you ever discuss them with her? Forgive me. You don’t have to answer that,” Søren said in a way that was both offhanded and pointed. Zach knew Søren wasn’t asking for forgiveness at all. “Yes, we have a power structure here. Some require a power structure as they are born submissives. Others require a power structure as they are born subversives. ”
“Which is Nora?”
“Which is she?” Søren smiled. “Shortly after Eleanor and I became lovers I introduced her to the blindfold. She loathed it at first. ”
“Why?” Zach asked.
“I’m sure it is nearly impossible for you to imagine a virginal Eleanor, but once she was actually both timid and shy. The loss of her sight during our interludes terrified her. So naturally I employed the blindfold often. ”
“One evening I noticed something strange. Just before I blindfolded Eleanor she would close her eyes. It seemed counterintuitive. Surely someone so afraid of forced blindness would keep her eyes open to drink in every precious second of sight. Then I realized what she was doing. By closing her eyes first she was choosing the darkness, blindfolding herself in a way, and subverting me with her very
surrender. Astonishing. I had never been so proud of her. That’s what this place is. This is where we come to close our eyes. ”
Søren opened the door with the Alice in Wonderland quote. Zach let Søren enter the dark room first. When a light appeared Zach stepped inside. Søren stood by a massive bed piled high with red and gold linens. He had an oil lamp in his hand. The lamp sent lambent light into every corner of the room. It seemed to be only a bedroom, albeit one festooned like a French bordello.
“Decadent, isn’t it? Eleanor has never learned the meaning of subtle. Perhaps you could help her with that. ”
“So Nora has her own room here?”
“Yes. The top seven Dominants are given their own quarters for personal use. As you can see,” Søren said, bending down and picking up a white lace garter off the floor and laying it on the rumpled bed, “she has been making use of it. ”
Zach looked at the discarded lingerie and grinned.
“White…I wouldn’t have expected it of Nora. She’s always in red or black. ”
“I doubt it belongs to Eleanor,” Søren said.
“Then why—” Zach began and stopped before he said something foolish. Of course, Nora had been with another woman. He tried to be bothered by the fact, but the images that tiny slip of lace brought to mind evoked feelings distinctly different from disgust.
“You appear troubled, Zachary. What is it?” Søren asked, and Zach did not trust the note of concern in the priest’s voice.
“She joked about threesomes with other women. I suppose it wasn’t a joke. ”
Søren gave him a dark look.
“Eleanor is always joking. Eleanor is never joking. Best to learn that as soon as possible. Care to see the rest of the suite?”
“Eleanor’s earned very posh accommodations here. ”
Søren raised the oil lamp to shine a light on a door to the left of the massive bed.
“How does one become a top Dominant here?” Zach asked as he walked around the bed to the door. As soon as Søren’s back was turned, Zach took the white garter off the bed and shoved it in his pocket.
“The same way anyone else would ascend to the heights of her chosen field. ” Søren opened the door. “Practice. ”
Zach inhaled sharply as he entered the second room of Nora’s suite.
“Good God,” he breathed. In the center of the room stood a massive wooden X. Leather thongs were attached to the tops and bottoms of the wood planks—a large-scale cross of her very own. Zach had no doubt what Nora used it for. He’d seen the pit, seen a man lashed to it and beaten until he came.
Eyes wide with shock, Zach turned his attention to the walls. On hooks and racks, in rows of military precision hung whips, floggers, bamboo canes, crops…a hundred various instruments of torture. On a small table lay an assortment of spreader bars like the one Nora had in her toy bag at home. He opened a drawer and found cuffs and collars, leashes and leads. In addition to the cross was a large examining table, the kind found in a doctor’s office. Except this one came equipped with four-point restraints.
Søren’s voice came from over his shoulder.
“Impressive, isn’t it?”
“No,” Zach said. “It’s appalling. ”
“Really? Such a strong word to describe sensual activities shared between consenting adults. ”
“Hurting people for pleasure? For sexual pleasure?”
“Holding Eleanor down while she struggled underneath me and begged me to stop…that was beauty. ”
“Rape isn’t beautiful. ”
“But you see, it wasn’t rape,” Søren said, his tone light and conversational. “She enjoyed the struggle, enjoyed feeling overpowered and taken. I take rape very seriously, Zachary. My mother was a rape victim. ”