Quietly, she rang the doorbell as the snow fell lightly on the grass. Shivering in the cold night air, she waited, listening intently for approaching footsteps.
The sound of a sliding lock pierced the silence; the door opened slowly. Inhaling quickly, she tried to hide her surprise - she had not expected Him to answer. His eyes cold and dark, He uttered one sharp word...
Startled by His abruptness, refusing to meet His gaze, she replied softly, "I'm here for a meeting."
He moved aside, opening the door further. She stepped into the foyer; bowing her head, she spoke, "I won't be long."
"And when your meeting is over, you will come see me." He closed the door behind her and walked away without another word. Fear gripped her as she watched Him leave - What did He want? Why tonight? A thousand questions raced through her mind. Hesitantly, she went to her meeting, knocking carefully on the door, praying that tonight's discussion would distract her from the swirling thoughts.
With a smile, he answered, sweeping her into his arms in a warm bear hug before ushering her inside.
"So, did you complete your assignment?"
"Yes." Already her mind began to focus on the task at hand.
"And? What are your thoughts?"
"Like you, I disagree with the idea that I NEED a 'Master' in order to be who I am..." She hesitated. He probed further...
"Well, I have to acknowledge that he is entitled to his opinion, but it is just that, an opinion. He does not speak for me, I speak for myself."
"Good girl. You are making progress already. What about the other thing we discussed?"
"I completed that task, as well. I sat, for a long time, in silence, in meditation, in reflection, and then I tried to speak with her."
"How did that go?"
"She did not answer. I sensed that she felt...hurt. Angry. Betrayed. So I spoke my piece. I apologized for the pain I've caused us both, and told her that I'd be returning on a regular basis to try and connect with her. That it is a long road ahead, but I want to make it work. I will make it work. And I will keep coming back to speak with her. I will feed her. Nurture her. Embrace her."
He scooped her up in a tight hug, exclaiming, "Excellent! I'm so proud of you! I know that wasn't easy, but you're really making progress. Don't worry, she'll come around eventually."
The rest of the meeting was a blur - more discussion, another assigment. It was soon time to leave, and she bid him farewell.
Standing before His door, she knocked slowly, hesitantly. Listening carefully, she was unable to make out the muffled noises coming from within. The knob turned and He opened the door. Motioning her inside, He spoke roughly, "Come in and sit down."
She did as ordered, swallowing hard. She started to speak, but the words caught in her throat as He stood, towering over her, glaring intently. Afraid to even breathe, she trembled as He snatched her by the hair, pulling her head back and gazing into her eyes.
His words, cold and cruel, "You are not to speak unless I say so. You will not speak unless spoken to, unless I ask you a direct question, in which case you are to answer immediately." He paused momentarily. "Got it?"
She nodded and started to answer when His hand stung her cheek with a quick smack. Her eyes began to water and her face burned as He spoke once more.
"No. I don't want any of this head-shaking bullshit. Don't fucking nod at me. You will answer when I speak to you, and you will address me properly. Got it?"
"Yes, Sir." There was no hesitation this time; she knew He meant business. This was not playtime and nothing was up for debate or discussion.
Letting go of her hair, He ordered her to strip and take a spot on the floor. Removing her clothes, she laid them in a neat pile by the door; kneeling silently, her eyes closed and her breathing slowed.
"It is my understanding that you have changed your role, and are now to be treated as a slave."
Should she answer? No. He had not asked a question, He had made a declarative statement. She waited in silence.
"Do you remember what I said after our last scene, regarding your marks?"
"And what was that?"
"Sir, you explained that next time you would strike harder."
She gulped, somehow knowing where this was headed. He was not being gentle or kind. He was not asking about her limits, or how she had been, or what she wanted. He was cold, cruel, distant, detached.
Suddenly, she fought against the need to cry out as blows rained down on her body. Tears streamed down her face as He struck again and again. She could feel blood trickling down her thighs as He continued beating.
"You will cry, and you will bleed. Just think of this as your punishment, your penance. I will decide when your mistakes have been reconciled."
His words pierced her heart as surely as the falls from His flogger pierced her flesh. She could hear it in His voice - the hurt and anger and utter disappointment. In one moment she realized that it no longer mattered what He did to her body, nothing could compare to the pain and anguish of knowing that she had caused Him grief.
Still, the blows continued. Her penance would be paid in blood, sweat, tears, and flesh. In silent acknowledgement, she accepted her fate.