Chapter 15

Eric’s review of my overall performance during our first session left me soaring. Not only was he pleased and impressed with my performance, he was confident that I was going to do well in training. He warned me, however, to be conscious of my limits.

“Don’t push yourself too hard because you want to impress me, Sookie,” he’d said after playtime was officially over.

“But I thought the point was for me to test myself?”

“It is, but pace is also important. This is all new to you and I worry that if you try to take on too much too fast it will do you more harm than good,” he explained. “We have plenty of time to explore different things to find out what you like and what you don’t, and as you learn so will I. I’ll learn what motivates you and what things you draw away from, either out of distaste or fear. You may come to discover things that you thought you were okay with are things you don’t want to do again and become a hard limit, whereas you may also decide that things you didn’t think you could, or would, want to do become a regular part of our play. It takes time to learn those things about yourself, and as you evolve your tastes will change.”

“Were you surprised when I agreed to let you use the flogger?” I asked him.

“Yes and no. I know you’re eager, and that’s a good thing but it did catch me slightly off guard that you agreed to it so quickly. What did you think of it?”

“At first it just tickled,” I admitted with a smile. “But then when you really swung it, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. There was a sting to it, but not too awful.”

“Because it wasn’t punishment strength,” he said with a slightly sadistic smirk.

“Good point.” My cheeks started to flush a little bit. I wasn’t sure I’d like anything so much at punishment strength. “What do you use for punishments?”

“Whatever implement you like the least,” he admitted. “So, if we play around and I realize that you’re not a fan of paddles or maybe a belt, then those would be the things I’d use during punishment so that you know it’s a punishment and not play. You shouldn’t enjoy your punishments.”

That was true. The point of punishment was to discourage me from ever wanting to break the rules again, so if that meant inflicting extra pain to get the point across, I understood. I was also sure he was going to find something to spank me with that would make me absolutely cringe, and maybe even use my safe word to make it stop.

“Hopefully you won’t have to do that,” I said, but knew it was inevitable.

“I’ve had to punish you twice already,” he pointed out. “But I hope that I won’t have to do it often.”

That made two of us.

We spent the rest of that night talking things over and discussing what we liked or wanted to improve for our next session. Eric explained that he would be upping the ante with every session. I knew he was starting me off slowly, which was good because I still got easily overwhelmed. Until I knew better what to expect it was best that we take things slowly. I hadn’t realized that being a pet could make me so hyperaware of my surroundings, but it did.

Part of that was because Eric was good at keeping me off balance. He was good at moving around and changing things up so I didn’t know what to expect. One minute he was taking me close to orgasm and the next he was slapping my ass hard enough to make my eyes well up. He explained to me that if I cried during a session that it was a good thing. More likely than not it wouldn’t so much be about my physical pain, but about an emotional release that I needed to have. The pain being inflicted simply made it okay for those emotions to come out.

I knew that if I ever found myself in an uncomfortable place physically I just needed to tell him so, so Eric could slow things down a little bit. If the pain got to be too great I needed to tell him that as well so that my body didn’t tweak out and shutdown on me. He explained a little bit more about ‘subspace,’ and how it was achieved. It was a rush of epinephrine, endorphins and enkephalins that produced a morphine-like drug in a sub’s system, which, in turn, caused the sub to go into a trance of sorts that separated the physical from the mental.

Basically the sub retreated into his or her own mind, meaning there was no feeling of pain. It was dangerous for someone like me who wasn’t used to the feeling, and a good Dom would be able to recognize the sign of their sub going into subspace. It was important to keep a watchful eye on a sub that entered that place because it was easy for the sub to lose contact with reality. It was common for someone floating in subspace to become incoherent, and coupled with the loss of the ability to feel pain, it was very easy to cause themselves great injury if the Dom wasn’t monitoring and controlling the stimulus.

“I think I experienced something kind of like that,” I told him after Eric finished explaining it to me. “At one point I felt like I was floating in my own body.”

“I know,” he said. “Your pupils were dilated and I could tell you weren’t all there.”

It had been right before he unstrapped me from the bench and I was all wobbly and tingling everywhere, but Eric had taken care of me, making sure I didn’t fall down and helping me to move over to the bed. Lying on my back at been good for me because it meant that I didn’t have to tense up my muscles or try to hold much of a position. Planting my feet on the mattress had been my own idea and not a demand Eric had made on me.

“I had no idea,” I said with a shake of my head.

“I don’t think you dropped completely since you were still able to move and speak, but you were definitely heading in that direction,” he told me.

I was curious as to what it would feel like and decided I was going to have to do some research on it when I got home so if it ever did happen to me, I wouldn’t start to panic. Then again, from what Eric told me, subspace would put in a very happy place—perhaps my happiest place.

“Honestly, I don’t care for subspace that much,” he said. “When a sub reaches that place they check out. Conversation ceases and because it’s too dangerous to continue play, it pretty much kills the scene we’re in the middle of. Everything has to stop and aftercare is always required to make sure that no permanent damage has been done. It takes a while to come out of it if a sub has truly dropped.

“As I’ve told you before, play isn’t just about a Dom inflicting pain, or a sub embracing it; it’s a shared experience. It’s like doing a dance, and if one of the partners is in a zombie-like state the dancing stops. Either the Dom is forced to carry the dead weight of His sub, or He leaves the sub to come out of it on her own. Either way, the fun goes out of the scene, at least for me. I want you to be an active, alert and aware participant in everything we do, Sookie. We play for both of us.”

He was absolutely right, of course, and I could understand why, from his perspective, that subspace might not be such a great thing. I wondered what sort of side effects I might experience if I completely dropped. Would I really do myself permanent harm if I did that? I trusted Eric to watch me closely to make sure that I was okay, and I trusted him to pull me back if I got too close to something that would hurt me in the long run.

It was one thing to feel physical pain because the affect would fade in time, but if there was the possibility of doing psychological damage to myself because I was looking to get a rush, that was a problem.

“Have you ever trained a sub that got too far out there in subspace?” I asked him.

“Yes,” Eric said, and didn’t seem to want to talk about it any further than that but I was curious.

“Is she okay?”

“She became addicted to it,” he said. “That kind of a high is one that can be experienced outside of play if the sub knows what they’re doing, but it got old watching her drop in every scene we did together. When she learned how to drop outside of play, that was when I realized we had a problem. Her focus was no longer on serving me as her Master, but about getting high on subspace. It’s a dangerous addiction because it’s a physiological response caused by chemicals that your body naturally produces. I gave her an ultimatum and told her it was either we continue our relationship without her getting high all the time, or she could drop permanently for all I cared. She chose the highs, so our relationship expired.”

Before I could stop myself I asked, “Was that sub Madame Raven?”

Eric, the master of Poker Face gave away nothing by his expression.

“How did you know I trained Pam?” he asked, and I was shocked to learn her name was really Pam.

Pam was the last thing I expected. Pam sounded so normal, so… ‘I’ve got to go pick up the kids from soccer practice after I drop off these cookies for the bake sale,’ and not like yes-master-spank-me-harder. I wasn’t judging or anything, just caught off guard by her street name in the vanilla world.

“She told me on the first night I went to The Playground. She said you hadn’t trained anyone in a long time and when I asked how she knew she told me she was the last girl you’d trained,” I explained.

Eric didn’t look happy about that information, but he didn’t comment on it.

“Yes, Pam was that sub,” he told me. I wasn’t expecting him to give me an answer, but I was happy to hear it.

I didn’t really know what else to say at that point. Eric had just shared something extremely personal with me and it went without saying that I wasn’t supposed to mention what he’d just told me to anyone. If Madame Raven, er, Pam, ever brought it up that would be on her. In the meantime I’d just button my lip and keep it to myself.

Hearing Eric talk about the importance of a Dom taking care of His sub made me glad that I had picked him. Actually, that wasn’t entirely true. Eric had picked me and I had agreed to his choice. My heart hurt a little for all of the misguided girls who thought they were getting into solid D/s relationships, only to find out too late that it was actually an abusive relationship. I was curious about the instances where the two got confused. Now that I was inside it I could see how someone living a vanilla life might not understand the nuances or differences.

What it all boiled down to, in my mind, was consent. Not a single thing happened in the course of play that I didn’t agree to, and if, at any time, I decided that I wanted to stop all I had to do was tell Eric we were at red or use my safe word. I was tempted to use it at some point just to test it and make sure that Eric really would stop, but judging by how fastidious he was about checking in with me I was pretty sure it would be a wasted test.

That didn’t mean there weren’t D/s relationships that didn’t evolve into abusive ones, but they weren’t all like that. To me, the important thing to remember was that I had the ability to walk away anytime I wanted. I could call the whole thing off right now and that would be the end of it. I was fully aware of what I was asking for.

“There’s something I need to tell you,” I said to Eric. “I waited to bring this up until now because I wanted to see how our first session went. I figured if it didn’t go well then there wouldn’t be much point in even mentioning it.”

“Okay,” Eric said.

“Gran wants to meet you. I told her that it’s too soon, but it’s looming. She was starting to think I was sneaking off to see a married man,” I confessed to him with a small smile.

“I was married once,” Eric offered. “But it was a long time ago.”

He had been married? That I didn’t know. I tried to remember if he told me that he had never been married, but I didn’t think he had.

“Oh,” I said. “I’m sorry it didn’t work out.”

“No, it wasn’t a divorce. She died in childbirth,” he explained, and given that he never mentioned a child, I assumed he had lost the baby as well. My eyes filled with tears.

“Eric that’s terrible. I’m so sorry,” I said sincerely.

“It was long ago,” he said with a faint smile. “I’ve made my peace with it.”

“Still, that had to be hard to go through all at once, losing your wife and child. I couldn’t imagine,” I shook my head slowly.

“Sookie, I’m really okay. I was angry for a time, but as I said, I’ve since made my peace.”

“You’re a much stronger person than I am then. A loss like that would probably cripple me. As hard as it was to lose them when I was so young, I think it would be harder to lose my parents now. Back then I didn’t really get to know them as people, but now as an adult it’s a different story. I couldn’t imagine losing them. God, I don’t even know how I’m going to deal with losing Gran when the time comes,” I sighed. I didn’t want to think about it much either. The thoughts were just far too morbid and depressing to entertain for too long.

“You’ll make it through. Losing her will be painful, but you’ll go on and your Gran will never truly be gone because it sounds like she’ll live on in you,” Eric said.

It was one of the sweetest, kindest things anyone had ever said to me. Eric excelled at knowing what I needed to hear. I didn’t know how he did it, but I was grateful for it. Without hesitation, my arms went around him and I kissed his lips.

“Thank you for that,” I whispered, looking into his eyes as I spoke. “Your confidence in me means everything.”

“You’re welcome,” he said, and kissed me back.

We lay there for a while just kissing and that was lovely. It was nice to know that our relationship wasn’t strictly about play. We could kind of turn that off for a little while and be vanilla people with a dirty little secret.

We made out until my eyelids started to get heavy. I couldn’t imagine going down three flights of stairs to get to my room, but I didn’t think I’d be sleeping in the playroom either. All the same, Eric tucked me against him and my eyes closed.

I felt good lying there in his arms. I felt safe and maybe even loved. It had been a long time since I’d felt that way, and I forgot how important it was. I fell into a deep sleep and if I dreamed at all I don’t remember what I dreamed of.

When I woke in the morning I was alone in my bed down on the first floor. I had no recollection of how I got there but assumed that Eric must have carried me since I wasn’t a sleepwalker. I sat up slowly and when I turned my head toward the nightstand I smiled at the beautiful bouquet of scarlet gerbera daisies. They were perfect and so much better than roses. Roses were for guys without creativity or guys who were lazy. Eric was good at surprising me in little ways and I really liked that about him.

I decided I needed to figure out how to surprise Eric in ways that had nothing to do with having his cock in my mouth. Although, to be honest, if I wanted to please a man there was probably no better way to do that than by giving him a blowjob. But Eric’s surprises weren’t about sex, so I thought mine should be as well.

I got out of bed and went to the bathroom to shower up. I needed it after the night before. Once the water was running I went to the sink to brush my teeth, and I stopped suddenly when I saw something on my backside. I twisted my lower half a little and gasped at the bruises that had started to form on my ass. I ran my fingers over them and winced a little at some spots. A vanilla a girl would have been horrified by what she was seeing and feeling, but I didn’t feel that way at all.

I was delighted. As my fingertips trailed over the bruises I remembered every time his hand struck my backside, every moan, every thrust of his fingers, every single time he called me a ‘good girl’ for my efforts. Those bruises weren’t bruises at all. They were souvenirs, evidence of my Sir taking care of me, and if things kept going the way they were, they would be evidence of him loving me.

I wanted more.

 

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