The Society – eBook
The Society by Alexander Kelly
The Society is an underground SM members-only club in New York where Virgil passes a test and becomes a new Master-In-Training. Dame Kyler is his sponsor with a specialty in edge play. Charlotte and Melanie are slaves at the clubhouse in love with each other. Cullen is Romy’s master although he doesn’t quite know it yet. Lady Sato and slave Anora hate each other and make no effort to hide their feelings. And slave-in-training Jaeten is love-struck with Virgil. Then there are Sherl and Kristy, two slaves swept up in all the other members’ machinations, along with the young married couple Ted and Sarah, who are new to New York and looking to join a SM group, becoming part of the goingson – although neither knows just how deep things will get.
In a sudden coming together at a private estate, the aforementioned members of the society will collide like a SM flash mob. During this extended weekend of kinky play, there will be lashing whips, tight ropes, muffling gags, ear piercing screams and pushing the envelope of edge play. Each in this illustrious company will seek to fulfill their hidden agendas, enact subtle power plays, experience a long dreamed of fantasy and realize just what the exchange of power between two, or even more people, really means.
A multiple point-of-view story with domineering male masters and female mistresses, vibrant and strong female slaves and the secret longings within each, all leading to self-revelations amidst interrogations, tight bondage, suspension, a ponygirl competition, spankings, leather hoods, electro play, body harnesses and an auction.
Cover Image © MiniStocker – Shutterstock.com
The room was empty. A small space but not overly so, the only features were a six-paneled, white oak door covered in gouges and scratch marks with a keyed deadbolt lock. A long, narrow window cut across high up on a side wall and allowed a thin slice of light to near the middle of the scuffed, wooden floor.
Heavy footsteps thudded outside the room. A key inserted in to the lock and quickly turned resulted in the door slightly creaking open. A black boot kicked the door the rest of the way to crash against the wall and a tall, thin man dressed in black and an encompassing black hood entered. He carried a sturdy, armless wooden chair and positioned it somewhat removed from the room’s back right hand corner. Stepping out for a moment he returned with a power drill and screwed down each leg of the chair to the floor, quickly, efficiently, with a practiced confidence of his ultimate goal. He exited and after several minutes reentered, this time with a with a two step metal work stool. Employing a stud finder on the ceiling and satisfied at finding one, set somewhat off the room’s center toward the high window, he again used the power drill, attaching a galvanized two inch diameter eye bolt to the ceiling. Hooking two fingers through the eye bolt he hung suspended for a half minute then dropped to the floor and left. Once more the room existed in silence, but not for long.
A different set of brusque sounds now wafted through the hallway, eventually defining into grunts mixed with squeals and muffled cries. At the tall man’s side a woman struggled, her hands and feet tied. A loose, dark canvas hood surrounded her head, tied off by white rope around the neck. Her clothes, white shirt, red medium length polyester pencil skirt and smoky, thigh high stockings seemed to indicate standard fashion for the office or perhaps an ensemble for an informal evening engagement. A black high heel was strapped to the left foot while the other was bare. The left leg stocking was torn, a gaping hole just above the knee, and the clothes were covered in grime. The man threw her on the chair and quickly tied her down using a lot of rope to make sure she stayed there. The thighs were pressed together and secured just above the knees while each ankle was tied off to the outside bottom of the chair’s front legs. Her arms, already over the back of the chair, were wrenched together at the elbows and knotted off, then anchored by another rope to the chair’s back support slats. A last rope was looped several times around her already tied wrists to the support cross wedge underneath.
The tall man not so much admiring his handiwork took time to coolly assess if there was anything he might have missed that would allow the woman a chance of working her way free. Inside the hood the woman whimpered. The hood just under the nose slightly expanded with an exhale then was sucked back in to the nostrils. Suddenly in defiance and hopelessness she threw back her head and screamed, but the gag under the hood muffled most of the noise. Ignoring her call for help the tall man tested a knot or two and then casually strode behind the chair. He bent and stretched the woman’s feebly clawing fingers here and there to make sure the knots were all well out of reach.
He gave a grunt and nod of satisfaction, once more standing in front of the bound woman for a moment then, in a sudden move, ripped her shirt open. Buttons flew off and skipped along the floor. In the hood and behind the gag the woman screamed again, perhaps in recognition of what she believed was the inevitable outcome. A lacey white bra held her breasts, but then the tall man, in a strangely gentle fashion, undid the front hook between them and pushed each cup off to the sides. The woman’s rounded and full breasts hung free and the tall man pinched the nipples, then slapped each breast once. The woman threw her head back and groaned in pain. The plaintive cry faded and soon the only sounds that remained under the hood were a series of sniffles and gagged sobs.
The man left. The woman’s crying eventually subsided yet her stomach trembled with each breath. Her bared breasts rose and fell, the red marks of the slaps slowly fading, yet her overall situation remained unchanged.
Heavy tread of boots brought her hooded head back to attention. The tall man entered and stood before the trembling woman, gazing down at her. Then in a series of quick and decisive movements, he removed the rope around her throat and roughly tore away the hood.
The tied woman squinted and blinked in the sudden light. Light brunette hair spilled here and there about her neck and shoulders. Half her face was hidden behind the locks but one red and swollen eye stared out, darting this way and that to take in the room. White wadding stuffed her mouth almost to the breaking point, all held in place by clear packing tape wound several times around her head. Slowly she comprehended her surroundings; the room, the window, the tall man.
With emt scissors the tall man quickly cut away the clear tape, then just as fast extracted the wadding from the woman’s mouth. Her mouth remained frozen open, as if she had forgotten how to use it, or perhaps she really couldn’t since it had been packed so tight. The tall man slowly worked her jaw back and forth, ensuring no permanent damage had occurred.
At last the woman responded somewhat as her lips quivered.
The tall man backed away. A flash from his upraised hand blinded the woman’s exposed eye. Then another and another. The woman averted her head from the bright light but the tall man grabbed the back of her head and forced her to face the flashes, now with both eyes exposed. After a few more photos the tall man grunted as if to say that was enough. Through her spotted vision the woman watched as the tall man swiped through the photos on his cell phone. A couple of finger taps and a few more swipes on the phone and then he shoved it in a back pocket of his pants.
The tall man leaned down toward the woman.
“Where is it?” he demanded. His voice was assured, confident.
The woman blinked in confusion. “Wha…What?” she said.
“Where is it?”
“What? Where is what? I don’t know – ”
The man slapped her right breast. The woman howled. When she subsided he said again with an impatient edge in his voice, “Where…is…IT?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about! I don’t know what… Where’s what?! I don’t know! I don’t know! Who are you? Why… Where am I? I don’t know what – ”
The man grabbed her face, his gloved hand easily pressing against both cheeks, distending her lips. The woman’s round eyes stared straight back at the hooded inquisitor. He roughly turned her head aside.
She sobbed again. Her hair again completely covered her face, but not for long.
The tall man grabbed a hank of her hair on the back of her head, this time near the roots. He wrenched her head up, her face still somewhat covered in the fine, soft locks, but enough to see her features; young and open, a pretty face, one devoid of cynicism. Perhaps not completely innocent yet masked with the freshness of youth. Mid-twenties perhaps. Her accent suggested unsophisticated Midwest America.
“Where is it?” he said again.
The woman didn’t answer. Both eyes, now visible, were even wider than before with a lot of white. Her short and rapid breaths were the only sounds in the room.
The tall man tugged on her hair and let go, frustrated at not getting the wanted answer.
“What do you want?” the woman pleaded. “I just moved here three weeks ago. I don’t know anybody. I just barely started a job this week. I don’t know anything!!!”
Reaching into his other back pocket, the tall man produced a switchblade. A simple press on a button and the blade swung forth. The woman’s eyes widened again, her mouth worked soundlessly, the terror of the sharp steel for the moment keeping her silent as if still gagged. The man approached. The gleaming blade led the way.
At last the woman recovered her wits. She began to cry again, snot running from her nose. “No, please! Please, don’t! If I knew anything I’d tell you! I don’t! What is it you want? What are you looking for? No! Stop! Stop!”
The blade descended but didn’t puncture any flesh. It cut through the woman’s clothes; the opened shirt, the useless bra. Soon, she was topless, the now rags of clothing all ripped away. Next came the skirt, fibers tearing as the knife started at the bottom hem between her legs then worked its way up to her thin waist. Now completely cut open the man yanked the skirt on the left side out from under the woman’s ass and tied legs. A black, lacy garter belt surrounded her thin waist while sky blue silk bikini panties covered the last of her modesty. The tall man grabbed the top of the panties, stretching them forward and cut them too. With a strong pull they finally snapped away from between her pressed together legs and were tossed to land in a nearby corner, destroyed and forgotten. The tall man backed off and the woman shook in her bonds, clad now only in the partially cut garter belt and tattered remnants of dark stockings on her shapely legs. The only piece of clothing still whole was the remaining high heel shoe. It waved in the air just above the floor as the woman twirled her foot, a ludicrous survivor of the wanton destruction.
“Where is it?” the tall man said. He almost sounded reasonable now with a trace of resignation, as if he already expected the forthcoming non-answer.
“I don’t… I don’t know,” the woman replied in a near whisper. “Honest. I don’t know what you want. What’re you looking for? What – ”
The man slapped her, palm to cheek; hard enough to make her lean over in the chair, maybe enough to make her topple on to the floor if the chair weren’t so securely screwed down. The move indicated he didn’t want to hear her repeat the same answer. The woman hung her head. “Please, please…”
The tall man left the room and slammed the door shut.
The woman kept muttering to herself in a whisper of desperation, “Please please please please please please please…”
Time passed. The narrow light from the window crept across the floor, slanted across and travelled up the woman’s legs, her rising and falling stomach, then her breasts and at last the lower portion of her downturned face. The light crawled up to her eyes and she blinked them open, took in the late day’s intense sun then averted her head. Still red and swollen the eyes were now dry, as if she had no more tears to shed. Yet, at the sound of boots in the hallway dread returned in rapid breaths, a fast lick of her lips, a half-hearted struggle against the still tight ropes. Useless. All useless.
The door slammed open. The tall man strode inside carrying a large coil of thick rope. He grabbed the woman’s chin, lifted her face to gaze up at him.
“Where is it?” he said matter-of-factly.
The woman scrunched her eyebrows. She shook her head slightly from side to side.
The tall man didn’t slap her, although the woman thought he would. As he released her chin he brought up his open palm. She recoiled and squeezed shut her eyes, but instead he gently patted her cheek, like an owner with a dog. “Where is it?” he softly said.
She stared up at him, mouth slightly open, not moving.
He sighed in acknowledgement of her silence and that because of her refusing to come across the situation was now changed. He patted her cheek again, stroked her head and strode over to the narrow window’s side of the room. Using the footstool from his previous preparations, the tall man inserted the looped, middle portion of the thick rope through the eyebolt, then passed both loose ends of the rope through the loop and pulled tight, thus securing the rope without the need of a knot. Both ends hung down with plenty to spare in a heap on the floor. He lifted a sturdy, thick wooden dowl and threaded different ends of the rope to eyebolts in opposite ends of the dowl, tying them off so that the dowl hung horizontally five feet off the floor. Using the stool he placed his arms over the dowl and hung there, swinging free for at least half a minute. Satisfied he let go and his booted feet thudded on the floor, the sound a punctuation stating that that particular task was done, on to the next.
The tall man returned his attention to the woman. “Where is it?”
The woman didn’t answer. She stared seemingly hypnotized at the hanging dowl.
The tall man nodded, as if he expected such a thing. He walked behind her, untied the rope keeping her lashed wrists anchored to the chair’s support cross leg, then also completely released her legs and ankles. Still the woman didn’t move. The tall man drew her to her feet and the woman swayed a little as she sought to compensate for unused muscles and the fact that she wore only one high heel shoe. A hand firmly gripping one arm he propelled her forward to the hanging dowl and she hobbled along. He made her stand on the stool, her back to the dowl. She gasped twice as she fought for balance due to the fact her arms were still tied behind her and the single high heel shoe remained on her foot. Impatient, the tall man removed the shoe, tossing it back toward the chair. It hit the wall with a loud whack and bounced once on the floor.
The woman couldn’t help but stare at the shoe, like it was the last thing that was normal and now even that had been taken from her. The tall man, pausing in making last minute adjustments on the height of the dowl behind her, lightly smacked her cheek again, like a well intended person bringing someone back to the their senses. He lifted her up to the stool’s top step, carefully positioning her bound arms over the dowl, making sure for a snug fit between the arms and the shoulder blades. Too late she realized what was going to happen.
“Oh, no! Don’t, pleeeeaaassse!!!”
The tall man’s booted foot kicked the stool, but it didn’t completely clear the woman’s feet. The feet reached out, toes extended, in a desperate effort to maintain some traction and for a moment she succeeded, but the tall man grabbed the stool with both hands and yanked it away. The woman hung suspended, legs completely in the air. In vain her outstretched toes strained for the floor but came up well short.
The tall man left the room but quickly returned. He carried another wooden dowl also with eyebolts at each end. Thinner than the one the woman hung from, and not quite as long, he dropped it to clatter under her feet. The man grasped one ankle, wrapped it in rope, did the same to the other, then tied the ankles to opposite ends of the smaller dowl thus spreading her legs wide and banishing any forlorn hopes the woman still had of standing on her own feet.
She hung there, enduring all the weight on her shoulders and upper arms.
“Where is it?”
The woman moaned.
The tall man reached up and lightly touched the woman’s pussy lips. Aside from his eyes looking out from beneath the hood it was the only part of his skin exposed. He gently stroked them, back and forth. “Where is it?” he whispered.
The woman moaned again. “I don’t… I can’t…”
“Where is it?”
The woman tried to jerk herself away from his grasp, her hips moving backwards in another futile attempt of defiance. His hand, his fingers still stroked her slick labia. She sighed at the gentle touch, but then a new wave of anger burst forth. Her eyes refocused and glared at his. “Where’s…what? Where’s what? What the fuck do you want?”
A quick flick of the wrist and the tall man struck the woman’s pussy. Not exceedingly hard, but enough to excite the woman’s pain centers.
“Oh, fuck! You bastard! I don’t know, I don’t know! Tell me what you want! Just fucking tell me!”
The man grabbed the woman’s face, held it tight in a strong hand, the same one that had stroked her most intimate of parts. Pussy juices smeared her cheeks and the smell of her sex wafted into her nostrils. Her eyes fixated on his. At last she comprehended their color. Deep brown.
“Where is it?” he whispered, this time like a lover.
Between bunched lips the woman slowly responded, new tears welling up in her own eyes. “I don’t know. Honest, I don’t. I don’t know where anything is. Not even… Not even me.” The woman sobbed, tears now coursing down on her puffed up cheeks.
The tall man released her, left her to hang as he turned away and busied himself with the chair, power tools whining. He exited from the room, then returned again concentrating on the chair, his back preventing the woman from any sight of his labors. At one point he returned to her, wrapping a black cloth blindfold around her head. The woman quietly sobbed, tears now soaking the blindfold. She sensed that she slowly rotated in the air, feeling a sliver of the outside sun’s warmth through the window that cut across her face and then the back of her neck. On the other side of the room wheels noisily rolled and metal clanged. Again a power tool whined and the woman thought she smelled the odor of freshly cut wood. Then silence. She hung there so long she feared the tall man was going to leave her forever suspended, but then abruptly the blindfold was torn away.
For a moment she didn’t understand what she saw. Underneath the chair sat a small black box and a bronzed pole, about an inch in diameter. The pole rose up at a slight forward angle through a freshly cut round hole in the chair’s seat. Wires ran from the box on the floor to another black box with several switches set atop a rolling metal cart. But when the tall man flicked a switch and a low hum issued, comprehension hit the woman like a ton of bricks. She knew. She knew and let out a blood curdling scream.
“You’re not using that on me, you cocksucker! I’ll fucking cut off your balls! Let me go! Let me go!”
The man ignored her, now checking several sets of wires that sparked when they touched each other and attached them to small, round pads. Finished with that he grabbed from next to the control box a white plastic bottle, shook it a few times, then proceeded to squeeze several long drips of lubricant onto the bronze pole.
“No way! No fucking way!” the woman shouted, struggling in midair. Her movement caused her to again slowly spin, yet she strained to keep the tall man and the chair in sight. “I didn’t fucking ask for this!”
The tall man turned, humor in his dark eyes, not so much at the woman’s new found energy and sudden protests, but that she had apparently made an accidental admission.
“Don’t…you…dare!” she yelled. Then it seemed something snapped in her and the loud defiance morphed into whining pleas. “Oh, please, don’t do this. I can’t… I can’t… It’s too much. Don’t…don’t…don’t…” Her initially furious thrashings eventually transformed into a quiescent dangle. Her head drooped, the hair again covering her face but not stopping a new round of sobs that filled the room.
“I can’t… I can’t… I can’t…” she muttered in between crying hitches. “Oh, I can’t… Please, please let me go.”
The tall man approached. With a single finger under her chin he lifted her head up to face him. “Where is it?”
The woman paused for a moment and seemed to waver. For a fleeting second her eyes changed from helplessness to what one might recognize as cunning. She said, “Where is it? Where is it? Its right in front of you, only you’re too stupid to know that, aren’t you? It’s right in front of you.” The woman pulled her head away and her eyes changed back to their confused, innocent and guileless state.
The woman couldn’t see, but underneath the mask the tall man smiled. He nodded back at her in understanding of her subtle disclosure. Where is it? Where is her submission? Within her, the entire time.
He took her down. She struggled as he dragged her back to the chair and patiently mounted her tight asshole on the bronze pole. He retied her to the chair, but not so severe that she couldn’t bend forward and suck his cock in her mouth. He applied the wired pads just so on her bare flesh and inserted a small egg-shaped vibrator inside her pussy, with all the wires trailing back to the humming box. Over an indeterminate period of time she remained in the room and slowly, but eagerly, demonstrated her submissive skills. When her mouth pleased the tall man he turned on the vibrator, most times taking her to sudden orgasm, other times not, instead edging her near to violent bliss. When she didn’t please him he employed the bronze pole. She screamed then, learning that for failure there were consequences. Yet each time he employed either electrical tool the woman’s power grew, using her own masochism to control the controller. And yet, she was the one bound to the chair. Tied up, unable to stop whatever happened, an image slowly crept in to her troubled dreams during brief rest periods; an image of a cliff and beyond that a tempting dark ecstasy that threatened to consume her. As the dreams progressed she found herself teetering on the precipice, then at last fully out in space hanging weightless for that brief instant before a final descent. But instead of a shadowy, chaotic abyss below she discovered unending green fields of pleasurable rapture. And as she rushed in her descent, far below, the tall man awaited, arms outstretched to receive her. Dark eyes gazed up and his mask was gone to reveal a handsome face. His tender smile shone forth. Yes, yes, she thought. Here I am.
But then another set of footsteps echoed in the hallway and the brief fantasy vanished. The strides were lighter and shorter than the heavy tread of the tall man and a woman now stood in the doorway. Underneath a muir cap her short, wavy blonde hair framed a stern face with a thin mouth, aquiline nose, arching dark eyebrows and piercing grey eyes, taking in everything about the bound woman at a glance, not just on the surface, but perceiving what was happening within as well. The patrician woman’s shirt was white cotton, but everything else was leather; black jodphurs, stiletto boots and tight opera gloves. From her belt hung a few tools of her trade; a black double-bladed quirt, a set of shiny nipple clamps and a leather hood. She grabbed the bound woman’s chin and held it up, like appraising a new piece of livestock. The bound woman tried to defiantly return the stare but she shivered and managed to tear her head away, eyes downcast.
The leather clad woman held out a hand and the tall man handed over his cell phone. As she scrolled through the photos he had taken she nodded in approval. “Good, good,” she said in a refined English accent. “Looks like you’ve got some real talent. Technically proficient. Nice touch with the vibrator and copper rod. Her terror is real. She’s certainly got an eager mouth. What about her pussy?”
“Still untried, madame,” the man said.
Her head swung up from the phone, somewhat surprised. “Really? Are you deliberately trying to mess up?”
“No, madame. The time just wasn’t right.”
“I’d say right now. Don’t tell me you’re getting cold feet.”
“Ah… No, madame.”
“Then show me.”
The man exited leaving the two women alone. The bound woman spit at the other. “You’re a fucking bitch, Kyler!”
“Don’t give me that.” With a slight jerk of her head she motioned after the man. “He’s not the only one being tested.”
Slow realization transformed the bound woman’s face. “You cunt,” she breathed.
Neither noved in their heated stare down. At last the bound woman said, “I didn’t break. Not even close.”
“I know,” the leather clad woman said and lovingly caressed the bound woman’s cheek. “But this is just a warm up. I’m going to take over now, and I’m going to love breaking you in the way you need most. Everything is ready for one more little ride to a place where you’ll get what you want. And so will I,” she added with a malicious smile.
The bound woman’s defiance quickly evaporated and the terror returned full force. “No. Not that! I beg you! Not that way!”
“Exactly that way. You know you want it.”
In dread and anticipation the bound woman licked her lips. She didn’t speak when the man returned and threw a narrow mattress on to the floor. She said nothing as he partially untied her, dragged her to the mattress then retied her legs frog style underneath her. He pushed her on to her back, bound arms underneath, spread the legs, and unzipped his pants. As his cock entered her, her thoughts weren’t so much on the hard, hot shaft that plunged her depths. Yes, she did respond, but the promise of what was to follow, her deepest, most secret fantasy that she had told only to one person ever, to that damned bitch that now stood over both of them and watched like some detached god, that fantasy was what really slicked her pussy, what had led her here. To be taken by just not one man, but a whole room full of men, and also women with strap-ons. She would be bound, legs spread, everyone hooded in anonymity except for her. So that later as she walked the streets, rode the subway or even shopped for food, they would know her but she wouldn’t know them. So that if a stranger happened to look at her a little longer than usual she would wonder if he or she had been there, if she had taken them inside by either cock or strap-on as she screamed for mercy, becoming at last nothing more than a broken piece of flesh. And she simultaneously hated and loved the woman who watched them now for making it all very soon a reality.
At last the man spewed his seed in to her and she cried out in relief as she also reached her own climax. In a last, small rational part of her mind she realized this man was good. Really good. He had terrorized her, even brought in the shock box on his own initiative to bring a more intense level to the scene, and now used her like a master taking what rightfully belonged to him. She pressed her folded up, tied legs against his sides because that was all she could do in passion. Anything to show him, however feebly, that she appreciated him, that she would never forget him, that he would not be just a hooded stranger like the others who waited for her, probably right at this very moment stroking their dicks and greasing up their attached dildos in eager anticipation.
At last, both of them spent, he rolled off of her. He left on the hood, sweating inside, but the rules had been clear. She was not to know who he was. So he lay there, gathering his strength while Dame Kyler untied the woman’s legs and raised her off the mattress. After stuffing her mouth full once more she wrapped several rounds of fresh clear tape about her head. Then the dominatrix lightly slapped the woman’s thighs apart.
“Look at that pussy! Those lips are absolutely engorged. Oh, this is wonderful. Can’t let this chance just go by.” She got a long piece of rope, looped it around the woman’s waist and several times passed it under and over, first right over the center of the wet and open vagina, then on either side of both labia, squeezing them between the rope, accentuating their engorgement. “That should hold you until we get there. You might even get a few licks on them before we really get started.”
“Grrrr!” the woman responded.
“Right back at you, slut.”
The man rose up to an elbow. “Do you think I could also go – ”
“No!” the Dame Kyler said. “You know the agreed upon rules. This was your test. Don’t blow it at the end.”
Dame Kyler detached the leather hood from her belt and passed it over the head of the woman. Through the hood’s eyeholes, her eyes wet and nose sniffling, she and the tall man looked at each other once more. Then Dame Kyler snapped a blindfold in place on the outside of the hood and the woman the man had interrogated and filled with horror over the last day and a half was effectively gone.
But not Dame Kyler. Not yet. Allowing the woman to stand alone, she squatted down and whispered, “We needed to find out just how serious you are, if you’re up to what we have planned.”
“And what is that?” he whispered back.
“You’ll find out, when and if you’re ready. Until then listen and learn. And welcome to The Society, Master-In-Training Virgil.”
She gently removed his hood, patted him once on the cheek, then rose and gripped the top of the woman’s crotchrope. With a growl the woman wrenched away from Dame Kyler and inside the hood managed to say something like, “Fucking cunt.”
At the quick movement Dame Kyler struggled to regain control. She grabbed the top of the crotchrope again, now lifting up, up, the ropes digging even further in at all three sensitive places until the woman stood on her toes. She squealed louder the higher she went, at last topping out in a whine that was cut off by a slap on a tit. But in that brief flash of an unsure reaction, as the new Master-In-Training Virgil watched Dame Kyler fumbling for the crotchrope, then as the two women left, one seemingly confident on flat boots, the other on unsure tiptoes, he got his first lesson in dom and slave dynamics.
He sighed and said, “Yeah, I wonder who’s on top in that relationship.”