“I’m told,” said Lady Deborah, “that you like spanking young girls.”
They were standing in a corner of the art gallery. The party was in full swing, guests mingling, all talking at once as they sipped their wine. But Lady Deborah seemed to have manoeuvred Robert into the only uncrowded space. At least, Robert thought, as he nervously looked around, blushing slightly, they weren’t being overheard.
He took a sip of his drink, playing for time. “Who told you that?”
Lady Deborah smiled. “A little bird,” she said. “A pretty little bird who’s been singing.”
Robert thought for a moment. Who could it be? Unfortunately there were several candidates; any of them could have been talking. “I don’t think I care to discuss it,” he said firmly. “These things are rather private, you know?”
“Maybe, but I think you will discuss it all the same,” Lady Deborah said. She fixed him with a cool gaze, looking at him out of her clear, grey eyes.
“Really,” said Robert, turning away dismissively, “I can’t see it’s any of your business.”
“Oh,” she said, “I intend to make it my business.”
He turned back. “Is that a threat?”
Lady Deborah gave a little smile, but there was no mirth in it. “I’m afraid it is, yes. I have some evidence. If you won’t discuss it I shall have to show it to people you would rather didn’t see it. Professional colleagues of yours.”
Robert felt a sudden sense of panic. Could she possibly have some of the photos? Or even that video? He wouldn’t care for people at the bank to see them. Such prudes, the lot of them.
“What do you want, money?” he said.
“Goodness me, no.” Lady Deborah laughed. “Do I look as if I am in need of money?”
Robert knew that her husband, Sir Desmond, was an immensely rich financier. It did seem unlikely that she would be trying to blackmail him.
“That’s what you will find out when we discuss it.”
Robert was silent. Was she some kind of a crazy woman? Or perhaps, he thought, his spirits suddenly lifting, she wanted a little of the medicine he had dished out to Sally. And Francesca. And Clarissa. And a few other little sluts besides.
He sighed. “And when will that be?”
Lady Deborah took a small card from her handbag, printed on one side. She wrote with a thin, gold-plated pen on the back and gave him the card. “Come and see me here, at this time,” she said. “Don’t be late.”
She turned and walked away. Robert stared at her back as she retreated, her elegant back, partly revealed by a black cocktail dress which ended just above the knees, showing slim, shapely legs encased in black stockings. Her shoes looked expensive. Everything looked expensive. He turned the card over. On the back it said “Tuesday, 2.30.”
Robert spent an awkward few days brooding on what had happened. Obsessively he turned over in his mind whether one of his girlfriends had betrayed him. Perhaps Lady Deborah had been bluffing. Unfortunately, the evidence to which she alluded certainly existed. How foolish he had been, and how careless to let anyone see it. But if she did have such material, what could she possibly want in exchange for not releasing it? For a wild moment he wondered if she had some designs on the bank, wanted him to reveal its secrets to her. She said she didn’t want money; perhaps there was something in a strong box in the vaults she wanted to get her hands on. But surely that was much too fanciful.
Several times he thought about ignoring her summons, but he knew he wouldn’t. Partly it was curiosity; what on earth did the woman want? She was attractive, if older than the women he usually associated with, and Robert was always intrigued by attractive women who wanted something from him. But there was also a nagging feeling. Not fear exactly, but unease, that if he didn’t make the appointment he might incur consequences. So on Tuesday he absented himself from the bank at lunchtime and made his way to Kensington. Lady Deborah lived in a flat in a mansion block not far from Harrods; presumably she and Sir Desmond had a large house in the country somewhere, or perhaps several. He stood before the door and straightened his tie, took a deep breath and rang the bell. The door was opened by a maid in a black uniform, wearing a white apron. She ushered him inside, down a corridor and knocked at a door, then showed him in and closed the door after him.
Lady Deborah was seated on the end of a sofa near the fireplace. She wore a grey silk dress that matched her eyes. Robert judged her to be about forty, a full decade older than himself. She was what men would call handsome; tall, slim, with swept-back blonde hair, a patrician nose, good cheekbones and a wide mouth. Round her neck was a silver chain and on it what was unmistakeably a genuine and rather large diamond.
“Good afternoon,” she said. “Sit over there.” She gestured towards an armchair on the other side of the fireplace.
“What’s this about?” Robert demanded.
“No,” she said. “I shall be asking the questions, not you.”
Robert said nothing, but his hackles were rising. Women did not speak to him in this way.
“Tell me,” said Lady Deborah, “have you beaten many girls?”
Robert felt himself blushing. There was little point in outright denial. “Only those who enjoy it,” he said.
“Sometimes it seems you beat them rather hard,” Lady Deborah said.
“With some of them, the harder you do it the better they like it.”
“Do they?” said Lady Deborah. “Well, I’ve had a complaint.”
“One of them was abused. At least, that’s how it sounded to me.”
“Abused?” Robert prided himself on knowing what girls required, of precisely calibrating his assaults on them so that they got exactly what they wanted. Or rather, as he was fond of putting it, exactly what they needed. Girls didn’t always know what they wanted exactly, but he always knew what they needed, even if they didn’t know it themselves. Half the fun was in taking things a bit further than the girl expected, pushing her limits. He thought he was good at that.
“She complained to me,” Lady Deborah said again. “And she showed me some rather unpleasant photographs. I think what was done was excessive.” From the sofa beside her she picked up a large white envelope and handed it across to him. “Take a look and tell me if you agree,” she said.
Robert slid the pictures out of the envelope. They showed a girl’s bare bottom. The buttocks were criss-crossed with angry red lines; some of them had a thin ridge at the centre where the skin had been broken. In one of the pictures, a man stood over the girl, wielding a bamboo cane. He was clearly identifiable as Robert. He stared at the pictures. At one time or another he’d taken a lot of different pictures of himself, thrashing a whole series of girls, but he had a hunch who this bottom belonged to.
Robert handed the pictures back. “So what?” he said sulkily. “What do you expect me to do about it?”
“We’re coming to that,” Lady Deborah said coolly. “Now that we have established the evidence of abuse.”
“It’s not abuse if there’s consent,” he said.
“She says she did not consent. Not to that extent. She says things got out of hand and you wouldn’t stop.”
“Her word against mine,” Robert said.
“And it’s her word I prefer to believe,” she said.
“So why didn’t she run away?”
“I think if you observe closely you will see that she is tied down.”
“So what do you intend to do about it?” Robert was beginning to feel aggressive.
Lady Deborah was silent for a moment, then she spoke, as if choosing her words carefully. “We have decided that justice calls for retribution.”
“Retribution?” Robert swallowed hard. Perhaps she was crazy after all.
“An eye for an eye,” Lady Deborah said.
Robert gave a hollow laugh. “She wants to give me a spanking in return?”
“No,” said Lady Deborah. “It is I who shall exact recompense.”
“Can’t you guess?”
Robert said nothing.
“You call yourself a dom, I believe.”
“I’m surprised you don’t recognise a kindred spirit. I too like to be in control.”
Robert felt his heart miss a beat. “You’re a domme?”
“Yes,” said Lady Deborah. “And rather a good one, as you will find out.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean simply this,” she answered. “I intend to give you a taste of your own medicine. You will submit to me until such time as I think you have paid for what you have done. I can’t yet say how long that will take.”
“And if I don’t?”
“These pictures will find their way to your immediate superior at the bank. There is other evidence that can accompany them; sworn testimony by the victim. But I have a feeling that won’t be necessary.”
Robert thought for a moment. “When I spank a girl, we agree limits. And she gets a safe word, to use if I go too far.”
“Maybe you do so usually, but it seems that in this case you did not. If there was a safe word, you ignored it.”
“I’m not going to submit to anything dangerous,” he said.
“I am not negotiating,” said Lady Deborah. “You either agree unconditionally to put yourself in my hands, or there’s no deal. The evidence will be couriered to the bank tomorrow.”
Robert started to sweat. “Well, OK,” he said. “But I warn you, if things get out of hand I won’t be responsible for the consequences.”
Lady Deborah smiled sweetly. “You’ll just have to wait and see, won’t you?”
Robert said nothing.
“So we have an agreement?”
She’s a woman, Robert thought. She won’t have the balls to take it very far. “As you wish,” he said gracelessly.
“Cheer up,” she said. “You might find it educational, learning how the other half lives, so to speak.”
He didn’t reply.
“Stand up,” she said. There was a subtle but unmistakable change in the tone of her voice; a note of authority had crept in. Slowly Robert got to his feet.
“Come here,” she said.
He crossed over and stood in front of her.
“Unzip your trousers and take out your cock,” she said.
He couldn’t believe this was happening, a respectable lady in Kensington in broad daylight, saying such things. What if the maid came in? Slowly he unzipped, reached in and brought out his cock. Lady Deborah inspected it, looking down somewhat disdainfully. “It’s not much, is it,” she said.
“I’ve not had any complaints,” he said in a surly manner.
She took hold of his cock and used her other hand to smack it hard. It hurt.
“Don’t take that tone with me,” she said. “I don’t care for insolence.” She held his cock in her hand, which was cool and smooth. Slowly she peeled back the foreskin. “I don’t suppose you’ve ever had your cock disciplined,” she said.
He didn’t reply.
She smacked his cock again, harder. “When I ask a question, you will answer,” she said. “Evidently I will have to teach you some manners.” She smacked him a third time, harder than ever. He tried to draw away, but she held his cock firmly. She began to rub it, slowly at first, then a little faster. His cock grew bigger in her hand, until it was fully erect.
“That’s better,” she said. “Not a bad size, though nothing exceptional.”
He knew exactly what she was doing. It was what he did with submissive girls sometimes; he liked to humiliate them, make them self-conscious about their bodies, objectify them, make them show themselves or submit to inspection. It aroused him to exert such power over them. Lady Deborah reached inside his trousers and found his balls. She squeezed them slowly. Robert grunted.
“This afternoon I am simply establishing the basis on which we shall proceed,” she said. “This is not an appropriate place for what I have in mind to do to you. There will be a later appointment, elsewhere, at my convenience.”
Just then there was a knock at the door. It opened and the maid stepped in. Shocked, Robert instinctively tried to draw back and cover himself, but Lady Deborah held his balls firmly in her hand.
“Keep still,” she snapped. “Yes, Marie?”
“Your 3.30 appointment is here, Madame,” the girl said.
“Thank you,” said Lady Deborah. The girl left the room, closing the door behind her. Robert was still dazed by what had just happened. What sort of house was this, that the maid was allowed to observe such things?
“When you are with me,” said Lady Deborah, “you will do what I say, and only what I say. You don’t move unless I say so. Do you understand?”
“I suppose so,” Robert said grudgingly. It was time to get out of here.
“I suppose so, Madame,” Lady Deborah said, and twisted his balls sharply.
He gasped. “Yes, Madame,” he said through gritted teeth.
Lady Deborah took her hand away and told him to zip himself up. She dismissed him, telling him that he would be informed of the date, time and place of the next appointment. The maid ushered Robert to the door. She was a pretty, dark-haired girl; as she walked in front of him Robert admired her neat bottom encased in a tight black skirt. But as she turned to see him out of the front door, a knowing, supercilious smile played about her lips. Robert felt a burst of shame at having been seen in a demeaning position, and being condescended to by a mere paid servant. He vowed to make some girl pay for that.
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