It had been forever since I had time to spend an afternoon wandering through a bookstore. I could have downloaded a book with a push of a button, but there was something I really missed about thumbing through pages and trying to decide what I was going to take home to read. Plus, I needed to get out of the house even if I didn’t have any intention of interacting with anyone except for the college kid doing his homework behind the checkout counter.
The bookstore was empty, or at least it felt empty. It gave me the courage to linger a little bit longer than I planned in the erotica section. I didn’t want anything that was patently smutty. I didn’t want anything about college girls gone wild or housewives in heat. I wanted a story about a strong, intelligent woman with a deep understanding of her sexual desires.
A collection of poetry by Sappho? No. Too challenging. Too encrypted. I wanted something that flowed easier on the eyes and the brain.
Lady Chatterley’s Lover? Hmm … now this had some scandal about it for decades. And it involved a woman of privilege involved with a man not of her stature. The Story of O? Now this had a bit more of an edge but still involved a proper female protagonist who willingly gave herself up to high class sexual slavery.
I scanned through the prologues of each book and debated which one I would take back with me to spend the night. I got so wrapped up in trying to make my selection that I was taken aback by a low, gravely and velvety voice behind me say, “Don’t turn around, but tell me what you’re reading.”
My casual lean went straight and rigid. I held my breath in fright. I should have been completely creeped out but there was something about this man’s presence that intrigued me, even though I couldn’t figure out what it was.
“Lady Chatterley’s Lover and The Story of O,” I said in a soft voice clipped with trepidation.
“Both lovely reads,” he said. “Intelligent choices.”
“Thank you,” I said.
“Lovely reads.” “Intelligent choices.” Those were unusual combination of words to describe books of questionable morals meant to fulfill secret sexually savory appetites, and here I was being exposed and prodded by some man who was a stranger and wouldn’t let me see him.
“You should read The Story of O first,” he said.
Really? Who was he to decide what I should read? But there was something in his voice that was extremely confident, intelligent, and well-spoken.
“I would love the chance to discuss the book with you some time,” he said.
“You’ve read this?” I asked.
I was about to turn around to have a more in-depth face-to-face conversation with him until I heard him say, “Don’t turn around.”
Woah. This was getting a bit scary. My breathing came to almost a complete halt until he put his hand to my side and gave it a few gentle calming strokes. I should have felt more scared to have a strange man I didn’t know and couldn’t see touch me like that, even for a brief moment, but there was something calming and reassuring about his touch.
“To answer your question, yes, I’ve read the book,” he said. “It’s a favorite of mine. I’m getting the feeling it’s one you need to read.”
“Why do you say that?” I asked.
He hesitated for a good, long moment before he finally said, “Do you trust me enough to hand over your phone to me?”
Did I trust him enough to hand over a $200 phone? Not really, but I was curious to find out what he was up to.
I dug into the black hole of my shoulder bag and pulled it out just by feeling for it so I could keep my eyes open and focused around the periphery to make sure my surroundings were safe. I handed my phone to him and I could hear him punch in some buttons.
He handed the phone back to me along with a twenty dollar bill, and said, “I don’t want you to turn around or try to look for me for sixty seconds. I want you to buy this book with the money I gave you and call me as soon as you get to your car.”
I stood there probably longer than the 60 seconds partly because I felt strangely compelled to follow his direction and partly because I was too scared to move. I didn’t move until the gruff looking hipster kid from behind the counter came up to me and asked, “Are you OK, miss?”
“I’m fine,” I said, not knowing how to really respond.
“You weren’t hurt or bothered in any way, were you?” he pressed. “I have him on video if you need to file a police report.”
“No,” I said. “It’s OK.”
I should have asked to see the video. I wanted to get a look at this guy. But part of me was intrigued with the mystery of what just happened. I’ve had men I didn’t know buy me drinks, but this man bought me a book. Hell, most men I met in random social situations didn’t even read books.
I paid for the book and walked out to my car to see what he typed into my phone. There was a new entry in my contacts: Sir George with a telephone number.
Sir George? I doubted he was some kind of British nobility. His accent was local and his voice sounded like a man closer to my age. Maybe he was just some arrogant prick who liked to toy around with people. Maybe he was just playing off his choice in my reading material.
I was curious enough to call but smart enough to block my number to see what this guy was all about. Hell, I had nothing better to do on a Saturday afternoon. He picked up right away.
“Hi, this is Patrice from the bookstore,” I said.
“It’s nice to have a name with the lovely woman I saw today,” he said.
Lovely. There was that word again. How many men use that word these days? I found that strangely romantic considering how he approached me.
“Are you normally in the habit of taking women by surprise like that?” I had to ask.
“Never like that,” he said. “It was the first time I ever did anything like that, but I am full of surprises.”
“How so?” I asked.
“Would you like to find out?” he asked.
Of course I wanted to find out. This man amped up my curiosity at least a hundred times since he left me at the bookstore the way he did.
Instead, I said, “Who are you? Why did you approach me like that? Why didn’t you want me to see you? You couldn’t possibly have approached me the way that you did if you weren’t some kind of sick and twisted fuck.”
“You’re very direct,” he said.
“You’re not,” I said. “You’re avoiding my questions.”
“I just paid you a compliment,” he said.
“Thank you, I think,” I said.
He still didn’t answer my questions, but said, “You’re an attractive woman in a rather cerebral way based on the particular shelves I saw you browsing through. You don’t seem to be the type of woman I’d see in a bar, but then again, I don’t hang out in bars looking to meet women. To be honest, I wasn’t looking to meet anyone, but you captured my attention.”
“Thank you, but you left me at quite a disadvantage,” I said. “I have no idea what you look like. I have no idea what your game is. I don’t even know why I called you.”
“Yet you did call me,” he said.
He had a point, and I was playing into his hand. Willingly.
“I’ll tell you what,” he said to break my pause. “I think we should continue this conversation in person in a public place. I’m pretty sure that you won’t be disappointed. Are you free right now?”
“Umm … yeah, I can be,” I said.
“How about the coffee shop on Main and Second?” he suggested.” Bring your book and take a seat on the sofa facing the rear wall. What would you like to drink?”
“An iced tea would be fine,” I said. “With lemon.”
“An iced tea with lemon it will be then,” he said. “I’ll see you in a few.”
I was five minutes from the coffee shop but it took me ten minutes to find an open parking spot. I walked into the shop and figured that I’d see him sitting on the sofa where he told me to sit, but there wasn’t anyone there. The only other men in the shop were two guys playing chess at a table up front and the barista who looked a bit waifish to have a deep voice like Sir George.
Sir George? Did he really expect me to call him that?
After about ten minutes, I was beginning to wonder why I came out here. Maybe this guy was just taking me for a ride to see what kind of crazy nut would come out to meet him after the way he approached me. He was probably standing outside looking in the coffee shop and laughing his ass off. I figured I’d give him another five minutes. If he didn’t show up, it would be game over.
As soon as I opened my book, a hand holding an iced tea came from over my shoulder. I was just about to turn around, and he said, “Don’t turn around.”
I was just about to turn around to tell him to tell him I didn’t appreciate his game until he said, “I said I wanted to continue to continue our conversation in a public place. I didn’t say anything about revealing my physical identity.”
“It would be nice if you did,” I said.
“Why?” he asked. “Are looks that important?”
I heard him pull up a chair behind me. I’d let this go for the time being, but there was no way I would let this go indefinitely.
“Yes,” I said. “And don’t try to pull that double standard crap on me. You chose to approach me based on my looks. Besides, this is embarrassing and silly to carry on a conversation like this in public. I’m going to leave.”
I got up off of the sofa and caught a glimpse of him as I started to pass by.
Actually, I didn’t continue to pass by. I stopped in my tracks to check him out. He smiled back at me in both a smug and contented way.
He was attractive. Very attractive. Bald with glasses and a hefty, muscular build. Well dressed for a Saturday afternoon – a tribal print button-front short-sleeved shirt, a neat pair of cargo shorts, and a pair of leather sandals.
“You’re embarrassed, huh?” he asked. “Uncomfortable?”
“Before I leave, I want to know what the point of this whole exercise about being in control is about,” I said.
He walked me back to the sofa and sat down next to me.
“There are things I look for in a woman,” he said. “First of all, you’re gorgeous, a stunner. Secondly, I was intrigued with your book selections – cerebral and carnal. Third, you asked good questions and I was taken by your curiosity and by how far you came along with me on this. Fourth, you take direction well.”
“Take direction?” I asked. “Really? I’m so out of here.”
I started to get up, but he grabbed my wrist that I was using to brace my weight on in order to get up off of the couch, and said, “Please don’t take offense. I meant that in the nicest way. You won’t have to get far into the book to know what I mean.”
I settled back down into the sofa. Now I really wanted to know what I had gotten myself into.
“Well, since I haven’t read the book, tell me what you mean,” I said.
“You obviously aren’t familiar with Dominance and submission,” he said.
“Well, I’m curious,” I said.
“Good,” he said. “All of those traits I tried to compliment you on, even the one about taking direction, well, are all what I find ideal in a submissive.”
“But you’re forgetting that I’m rather direct,” I said.
“I haven’t forgotten at all,” he said. “It will make it all that more interesting to challenge and get to know you and temper you. If you weren’t the way you are, I wouldn’t be able to be as creative as I’d like to be. Besides, I don’t want a doormat and I don’t want a woman who gives of herself too willingly.”
“What you want?” I asked. “Never once did you ask me what I want.”
A devilish grin broke out on his face.
“I know that you want to find out what this is all about,” he said.
Damn. He was right, and he was intelligent, well-mannered, and gorgeous, too.
“Tell you what,” he said. “Go home and start reading the book. Give me your email and I’ll send you a list of questions so I’ll know your sexual interests and turn-offs. I’ll call you later in the week to set up another time for us to meet.”
He handed me his phone so I could enter my email and phone number. He made it a point of telling me that I’d have to trust him with my phone number and not block it.
He got up, kissed me on the cheek, and said he was looking forward seeing me again.
“By the way,” I said as he started to step away, “What made you think you could approach me the way that you did? I could have kneed you in the nuts, made a scene, or called the cops on you.”
“Because, my dear, it’s all about taking risks,” he said. “Even for me.”
I went home and poured into the book until two in the morning and most of the next day. It was absolutely perverse and fascinating, especially considering it was written by a woman in the middle of the chokehold sexually repressive 1950’s.
I got Sir George’s email the next day. It was 10-page of questions about my BDSM likes, dislikes and “Willing to trys” along with room to write in specific experiences. Cuffs? Definitely yes. Rope bondage and restraints? I’d certainly be willing to try. Spanking? Sure. A little swat on the ass was hot every once in a while. Paddles, floggers, crops and canes? I’d give them a try but I wasn’t too sure about canes. Visions of cruel and unusual punishment came to mind when it came to canes. Exhibitionism? Definitely. My ex-boyfriend Ryan was totally into that, and it was hot – giving him a blow job in a coat room of a fancy restaurant, sneaking off to a bedroom at someone’s house during a party for a quickie, getting fucked from behind with my tits pressed against the window of a hotel that we stayed on vacation one time. Oh, yeah. Bisexual or homosexual sex? I always thought about what it might be like to have sex with a woman, but only as a one-time deal. I took a big leap of faith in marking the “Willing to try” button. Sex with multiple partners? I typed in an “X” between “Yes” and “No” and wrote the question: “Does having sex in the same room with another couple count?” Humiliation? No. Welts? Absolutely no. Scat play? Golden showers? Absolutely fuck no! I spent three hours filling out the form and sent it back to Sir George.
He called me Wednesday night and said he was pleased that I got the questionnaire back to him so quickly. I expressed some concern to him that I really wanted to get to know him better first. I didn’t even know his last name or if George was really his first name. I had no idea what he did for a living. He said his name really was George and said he’d email me the link to his bio on his company’s website. He asked me what I did for a living and told him I was a regional editor for a national online news service. He seemed impressed.
“As for the other things you may want to know, I think that’s better left to time we can talk in person,” he said. “Are you free Friday night?”
I told him I was.
“Good, I’ll give you two choices,” he said. “We can meet for a cocktail in a public place and talk or we can meet at my place. I have this outstanding bottle of Australian Shiraz I’ve been wanting to crack open and share with someone, but I want you to feel that you are absolutely safe. If you want to come over, you can call a friend and let him or her know where you are, but I assure you that you’ll be in safe hands.”
Going out for a cocktail would be nice, but I didn’t know how privately we could talk, especially if it got noisy.
Oh, what the hell. I decided to roll the dice and meet him at his house.
“I was hoping that you’d say that,” he said. “For that matter, let’s make it dinner. I’ll cook. I’m pretty good. I promise that I have nothing untoward or dangerous planned, and I will not have sex with you.
“Oh, and one more thing. I’d like you to wear a skirt. Something pretty and feminine.”