Chapter Two

I settle into the mesh-backed office chair—Knoll Generation®, because Michael buys top-of-the-line everything—and power up the computer. My heartrate accelerates and my hands tremble after I log on and search for the familiar chatroom I’ve been haunting. In the beginning, I told myself Tie-Me-Up, a role-playing chatroom, was just for fun, solely to live out my harmless fantasies incognito. The rules are strict: One must be eighteen years of age to participate in any chatroom or use any features on their site. All content must be legal. No sharing of media that includes gore, rape, violence, bestiality, or incest. No sharing of emails, snail addresses, PO Boxes, or phone numbers on the site.

Once I got past all the rules and regulations, I felt confident no harm could come from my eavesdropping or casual participation. No one had to know my real name, where I lived, or anything else personal about me. Maybe listening or talking to others would help me deal with my marital issues, my sexual frustration.

Participation in a private chatroom might even save my marriage in the long run, a top priority in my book. I don’t want to lose Michael; I want him to notice me again, treat me as if I was a high priority in his life, like the freakin’ Generation® chair or his Salvatore Ferragamo® watch.

Even after two months, guilt washes over me as I enter the room and scan through the roster looking for his name . . . Master D. I don’t know his real name, only the moniker he uses online, and he doesn’t know me as anyone other than Princess Ariel, in tribute to my obsession with The Little Mermaid.

Rules, you know.

Allowing my mind to wander for a moment, I imagine Master D looming over me, big and powerful. The whip in his hand hisses through the air before delivering the next kiss of pleasure/pain to my naked thighs.

A quiet bell rings, calling me back from my fantasy, and the message is from Master D. Now, not only does my heartbeat speed up, my pulse races.

Master D: You’re back, Princess Ariel. How are you doing?

Princess Ariel: I’m good, thanks for asking.

Master D: I was hoping we’d hear from you this morning.

Princess Ariel: You really make a girl feel welcome, you know that?

Master D: Princess, let me ask you something. Don’t you think it’s time we have a private discussion?

Princess Ariel: Private? You mean outside the public chat room?

Master D: Exactly. I’ll send you an invitation to a temporary room. All you have to do is click on it and you’re in.

Princess Ariel: Who else will be in the room?

Master D: Just you and me. No need to worry, Princess. Private rooms are temporary and destroyed as soon as everyone leaves the room. They’re not shown in the group listings; thus, private means private.

I hesitate. If I make this leap, I’m taking things to the next level.

Master D: Princess, no harm in talking to me one-on-one, is there? I think it’s time you deal with your dilemma, get off the fence and grab the bull by the horns.

My dilemma?

Princess Ariel: That’s a little cliché, isn’t it? Let me guess, you’re the bull.

Master D: No, you’re the bull and dishing it out in spades.

I’m angry at him for calling me out, and yet curiosity far outweighs my anger. He’s right. I’ve been lurking for two months, never intending to come out from the shadows. That’s a lie. I always intended to follow through on my fantasies or I wouldn’t have wasted my time for eight weeks.

Princess Ariel: Very well. Send. The. Invitation.

I click on the image of a white envelope from him and, Voila! I’m transported to a room that looks similar, yet, different from the one I just left.

Master D: There you are, Princess Ariel. Now we’re alone, so you should feel more comfortable talking to me. Let’s cut to the chase, shall we?

Princess Ariel: Man, you sure love clichés.

Master D: No, I like cutting to the chase.

Princess Ariel: Okey-doke.

In my mind, I draw the words out slowly, even though he can’t hear me.

Princess Ariel: Ask me whatever.

Master D: Whatever?

Princess Ariel: Uh-huh.

Master D: Did you engage in your usual morning routine, masturbate in the shower to relieve all that pent-up sexual frustration?

Princess Ariel: No, not this morning.

Master D: Have you approached your husband yet, told him what you need, what you want?

Princess Ariel: How do you know I have a husband?

Master D: Call me psychic. I’ve been at this for many years, can sniff out penestration when I hear it.

Princess Ariel: Ha-ha! That’s a good one.

Master D: There’s many more: hunger games, hormoshima, textually frustrated. What me to keep going?

Princess Ariel: No. lol. I get the picture.

Master D: The question is, what are you going to do about it?

Princess Ariel: Dunno. What do you recommend?

Master D: Me. That’s why I’m called Master D.

Princess Ariel: Master D for Domination?

Master D: Bingo.

Princess Ariel: I . . . I can’t.

Master D: Can’t, or won’t?

Princess Ariel: Both.

Master D: Hear me out, okay?

Princess Ariel: I shouldn’t but I will. I mean nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

Master D: Who’s laying on the clichés now?

Princess Ariel: Lol. Touché. All right, I’m listening.

Master D: I do this for a living; it’s my profession and I’m very good at what I do. I don’t want you to believe I’m some sort of pervert who lurks around chat rooms and preys on the weak to satisfy my kink.

Princess Ariel: Why do you do it, then?

Master D: It’s in my blood. I’m a born Dom. I want others to experience the freedom, the pure pleasure they’re missing in life.

Princess Ariel: You’re serious? That’s what it’s about for you?

Master D: Cross my heart. I’ve been where you are now, floundering, dying to go through with my fantasies but scared to death and I didn’t know where to turn.

Princess Ariel: So you say you’re a professional, you do this for a living to help others?

Master D: Yes, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I do it entirely out of the goodness of my heart.

Princess Ariel: Ah, you charge a fee?

Master D: Like your dentist, the electrician, the kid in the neighborhood who mows your lawn. Back up . . . I’m a professional; I do this for a living.

My mind races. I want to bite in the worst possible way, and yet, I’m scared. What about Michael? Wouldn’t caving into this be a major breach in our commitment to one another?

Master D: No, it wouldn’t, Princess.

Princess Ariel: What!

Master D: It wouldn’t be breaking your marriage vows.

Princess Ariel: Jesus, you can read minds?

Master D: No, I don’t read minds, but I know how human minds work in this regard. We each have a chance to set terms before we meet. Does that help?

Princess Ariel: Who said I’m going to meet you?

Master D: You’re more than halfway there. Tell me your terms and then I’ll tell you mine, professionally speaking, of course.

Princess Ariel: My terms—should I decide to meet you—are simple. Number one, we meet at an establishment, not a private residence, like a hotel. I’ll leave the address, date and time in my safe deposit box in case . . ..

Master D: Move on to number two. Number one is not a problem nor is it unusual.

Princess Ariel: Number two, no names, no questions, no repeat performances.

Master D: Agreed. What’s the next one?

Princess Ariel: No-no consummation. That is, no intercourse or penetration. That’s not what this is about.

Mr. D: That’s funny.

Princess Ariel: What is?

Master D: People, that’s what. I agree completely with number three. You’ll tell me a safe word. If at any time, you feel threatened, uncomfortable, or you just want to terminate the session, you have only to speak the safe word.

Princess Ariel: I-I think that’s it. What are your terms?

Master D: Similar. No names, no questions, no repeat performances. You can find Doms anywhere if you choose to pursue this. My job is strictly to introduce you to the lifestyle. That’s been your fantasy, right . . . domination and submission?

Princess Ariel: Move along. What else?

Master D: I will be incognito, not only for my protection but for yours. Understood?

Princess Ariel: Incognito?

Master D: Masked.

Princess Ariel: Oh, fine, as long as it’s not a Freddie mask.

Master D: No, a black face hood. Oh, and, five-hundred up front, before the session begins.

Princess Ariel: You don’t come cheap, huh?

Master D: Do I detect the voice of sarcasm?

Princess Ariel: No. Money isn’t a problem. Agreed.

Master D: I choose the place, which is Hotel Royale on 8th and Hollyhock. Do you know the place?

Saliva collects in my mouth, so thick, I’m not certain I can speak.

Master D: Second thoughts, Princess? Perfectly normal, but we won’t have this conversation again. In other words, it’s now or never.

Princess Ariel: All right, already. Yes, I know the place. When and what time?

Master D: Tomorrow, eleven a.m. I’ll have checked us in. Room 510.

Princess Ariel: God, you know the room number beforehand? Never mind. It slipped my befuddled brain for a second. You’re a professional and this isn’t your first rodeo.

A lengthy pause ensues. She wondered if the connection had been severed.

Princess Ariel: Are you still there?

Master D: Yep.

Princess Ariel: Can we make it noon? That works better for my schedule.

Master D: Noon it is. Just to confirm: Tomorrow, noon, Hotel Royale, room 518. Rap lightly three times. Last chance to change your mind.

Princess Ariel: If I wanted to change my mind, I wouldn’t have entered this private-private chat room. Are you sure all conversation between us is destroyed when we leave?

Master D: Immediately. Until tomorrow, then.

Clare exited the room, logged off the computer, walked into the bathroom and threw up in the toilet. Once her stomach emptied, she sat on the edge of the tub resting her chin in her hands.

You wanted this, Clare; you chased after it, and you’re not backing out now!

Next chapter