“Have you ever been flogged?” Duke asked. His blue eyes watched the golden ale in his glass swish around before lifting it to his lips for a taste.
Haven was not comfortable with this question. “Have I…?”
“Been flogged? It’s a simple question.”
She sat on the stool beside him at the mahogany bar. Normally she would be behind it serving drinks but, at two o’clock on a Friday afternoon during a snowstorm, Duke was her only client in the pub. “I have a boyfriend.” Her right leg crossed over her left, towards Duke, under the short uniform red and black tartan kilt. Her fingers continued to play with her shoulder length dirty-blonde hair.
“I wasn’t offering. I was asking if you had been. Whether by the boyfriend or not is irrelevant.” His eyes turned and lingered on her eyes before lowering to the cleavage that her pub t-shirt showed.
This was not a question she expected at two o’clock on a Friday afternoon…snowstorm or not. Many questions were asked of her in Lynch’s Pub, but this had never been one.
“You mentioned reading those books,” he said with eye roll for emphasis, “so I was just curious if they had gotten you to try anything different.”
“Not yet,” the answer slipped out before she really thought about it. A streetcar rattled by, dragging her attention away from Duke to glance around and make certain no one had quietly walked in. She wished someone would.
“So what do you like about those novels?”
“I don’t know, they were interesting.” Her brown eyes came back to him.
“Interesting? What do you find interesting? It can’t be the quality of the literature. Is it the idea of a college valedictorian sleeping with a 27-year-old successful multinational businessman?”
“Um…no…that’s not exactly realistic.”
He nodded and took another swig. “Sex slave?”
Again she went quiet.
“You are curious to know how it would actually feel to be dominated?”
“Maybe a little.”
He grinned. “Has your boyfriend spanked you?”
“He’s patted me on the ass…”
“But has he taken you over your knee and really spanked you?”
For a moment she was quiet. “No, he hasn’t.”
“You should be spanked, at least.”
“What about flogged?”
He took a quick sip of his beer. “Is that a request?”
“Maybe,” she said in a near whisper.
“Haven, I’ve known you a long time. You know generally what I am, I think.” His eyes again drifted to her chest and then to her legs. “You understand what is involved with this?”
“I don’t know…”
“Care to research a little?” He patted her bare knee.
“I live in the condo across the street.” He took one final swig of ale and stood up, scraping the wooden stool legs on the floor.
“Now, I don’t think I should…”
“…come over to your…”
Duke held up a hand to silence her. “Just listen. I will show you the implements involved, let you hold them even to get a feeling for them. Nothing more.”
She looked up at him with a coy grin. “What if I want more?”
“Room 442. What time are you off?”
“Until five forty-five then.”
“See how it feels?” Duke smiled at her.
Now in blue jeans and red sweater, Haven stood over what looked like a pommel horse with a kneeler in front of it. The black flogger was gripped tightly in her right hand after she had struck the horse itself. “I feel powerful.”
“Do you like that feeling?”
Her eyes ran the length of the flogger and down to the black strands that still swayed. “Fuck yes.”
“I also have this.” Duke lifted a small black stick from a wall hook.
When she had arrived the first thing she noticed was how sparse the apartment was. Perhaps typical for a single male writer, she thought, but she had somehow expected more from Duke’s place than a simple couch, TV and computer desk.
He had offered her a red wine before taking her on the tour.
“Pat thinks I’m staying at the bar through the snowstorm,” Haven told him. “Megan lives in the condo next door and I’ve stayed with her on these nights before. Probably where I’ll end up after I go tonight.”
The apartment was two bedroom. Duke did not even pretend to show her the first bedroom but, with the door open, it looked normal enough with a king mattress and dresser shadowed in the back corner. The second bedroom, however, had the pommel horse as its centre piece between four burnt-orange painted walls. Implements from riding crops to floggers, but many of which Haven did not recognize, were all hung from the walls or laid upon the two book cases on the far wall.
She had immediately gone for the black flogger.
Now, however, Duke stood before her with a tiny stick. “I call this Domi.”
“May I demonstrate?”
“Domi was a hockey player that really didn’t look like much, but when he hit someone…” He laid the tip of the stick on her arm. Pulling it back, he let go and it snapped on her.
“It packs a rather nasty wallop, no?”
Replacing the stick, he went to the book shelf and pulled off another device…a black handle with what appeared to be a baseball sized glass globe on its tip. He pushed a button and the globe lit up with sparks inside. “Static-electric play is fun.” He touched it to her arm.
Haven flinched and laughed. “That tickles.”
He put that away as well. “So that’s it, what do you think?”
Haven’s eyes returned to the flogger in her hand. As though offering a knife, she turned and offered it to Duke, handle first.
He grinned and accepted it.
She climbed onto the kneeler and leaned forward on the pommel horse.
“You sure you want this through jeans?”
She looked back at him and winked. “I want you to be gentle.”