A Pinch of Spice for Your Sunday
Feeling the Sunday blues coming on? Distract yourself with a steamy excerpt from my upcoming debut novel.
I get the WhatsApp message while I’m still in the black car. I feel the familiar throb when “Eric” pops up on my phone screen, even though I hate myself a bit for it. Today’s message: There is a letter waiting for you in the foyer. This undoubtedly signals a punishment.
When I arrive, the letter is waiting as usual on a silver platter, with a letter opener beside it. It’s written on his personalized parchment stationary, sealed with red wax. He has his own seal, for exactly this kind of correspondence. He uses it only for me. Or so he claims.
I enter the front hall, trying to silence my heels as they click in time with my racing pulse. I know he is on the other side of the door, listening to each sound I make and I try to deny him the pleasure of aural anticipation. I'm feeling bratty.
Today’s letter, presented next to a blindfold: Leave your fancy labels and lingerie outside. Strip down and put on the blindfold. Knock at the door when you are ready.
I do as the emotionless typeface tells me, binding my own eyes, feeling my way to the door and knocking firmly. It opens within seconds.
A hand leads me in and brings me to the master bathroom, steering me to the bathtub, grabbing my ankle, and lifting one foot in. I pull back immediately; the sharp pain of cold is already shooting through my toes, ankles, calves.
The tub is filled with ice. A hear him click his tongue once, twice — disappointment — and I drop the foot back into the tub. With the help of his guiding hands, I end up lying on my belly in the tub, submerged in melting ice cubes.
We wait for what feels like hours although I’m sure it’s just mere minutes. “Is it cold?” he asks.
“No.” It’s too soon to admit defeat. I need to be tough.
“Good girl.” This is what I came here for: to be a good girl. I start shivering, finding warmth only in his hand, which still pets my head.
Finally I have to admit: “Yes. I am cold.”
“You want to warm up?” My body will not stop shaking.
“Yes,” I whimper, hating my voice.
He reaches down under my arms and lifts me up so I’m kneeling. Then gives me both of his hands and helps me up, and out of the tub. Even after the short time in the ice, my body is stiff and shaking. I can barely move. He has to reach down and guide each foot out of the tub. He carries me out and brings me to the bed.
Lays me down. Lays his broad body on top of mine. Warmth comes from him and I am so grateful — even though I’m not sure why.
He’s the one who put me in the cold water but he’s also the one who lifted me out of it. Just like he lifted me out of my old life in North Carolina. And he’s protected me ever since then. I feel a lump in my throat but instead of letting out tears I kiss him.
Finally, my body warms up. Our lips pressed together, heat radiating from him through me, I slowly regain my senses. “I love you,” I whisper it in his ear as he slides into me, too afraid to make eye contact, intimidated by whatever fire is lit between us.
He takes his hand from my hair and grabs the side of my face, pulling it towards him, forcing me to look, confront him: “I love you too, dear pet.”
He holds my face like that until the end, again giving me something fresh and new, making me break through a self-conscious wall of shame until I’m enjoying the full contact, from head to toe, soul to soul, fully entwined physically and mentally.
I look into his eyes and smile as I feel him explode inside of me, my body answering his with full tension and a last shudder. And then we just lie there.
Afterwards he puts his head on my lap and I stroke his forehead. Now it’s my turn to be in charge. He look younger now that we’ve finished today’s strange game, almost boyish.
“Ball season is coming up,” he says, suddenly, his blue eyes sparkling up at me.
I can’t help laughing: “What a segue!”
“Well I can’t have you unprepared! I want to take you to the Opera Ball—it’s the most famous event in Vienna. I even picked out the dress already.”
“Oh thanks for consulting me on that! Why don’t you tell me what it looks like and then I’ll decide if I want to wear it — or if I even want to go.” Of course, I’m dying to go. It’s the most decadent evening of the year, one of the biggest events in Europe.
“It’s red, of course. Perfect for your dark hair. And it has a long slit to show off your amazing legs.” As he says this he’s tracing his fingers up my thighs, tickling me gently, a sly grin on his face.
“Sounds acceptable,” I demure, giving him a soft smile.
“You haven’t heard the best part yet.”
“Every year before the ball I arrange a private appointment… at Cartier. So once you’re all dolled up and an image of perfection, we’ll take the town car over to the shop—and you can pick out anything you like to complete your look.”
My heart skips a bit as I try to contain my excitement. An all-in trip to Cartier could easily run into the tens of thousands. I feel my eyes sparkling as I try to remain casual: “Well that doesn’t sound so bad then… Let’s say ‘maybe’ for now.”
He lets out one of his big laughs, the entire bed shaking with us on it. I have to laugh with him but there’s also something troubling me, hidden behind the promise of shiny diamonds and fancy balls. He said every year before the ball. Of course I know it’s not his first time.
Of course I assume he’s had dates before. But it’s a quick dose of reality, thrown into the mix of an otherwise perfect day. Suddenly I’m cold — even colder than when I was in the tub.
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