Nerves. Anticipation. Someone who’s been seeing me for years, but it’s our first time exploring protocol in a session.

His instructions, left inside an envelope and printed on white paper card…

One. Leave your things on the kitchen counter and put anything in the fridge that requires a colder temperature to be enjoyed. Go freshen up in the bathroom - make yourself clean and nice smelling, fit to be in My presence.

Upon exiting the bathroom put on the leather collar, wrist and ankle restraints. These should be the only items on your otherwise naked body.

Two. Prepare an aesthetically delightful food platter to be enjoyed by Mistress. You should know that I am currently in repose upstairs in the bedroom, reading a good novel and do not wish to be disturbed. You are not to make any audible sound.

Once the platter is ready, fill a champagne flute and ring the bell at the bottom of the stairs. Then wait.

The rules, also printed, were the pivots of our scene…

Rules

1. Any time you wish to be speak, whether to make a request or respond to a question, you must first request permission to speak.

2. You must not look directly at Me. Your gaze may rest between My calves and My feet, unless explicitly directed otherwise.

3. You are not allowed to touch Me.

4. When you hear a clock alarm, you are to stop what you are doing and go immediately to stand on the black sheepskin rug. Raise your arms above your head, hold onto the metal bar, and repeat three times: “Your desires are my desire”*. Ready yourself for a caning.

5. Any time that I signal you have broken or transgressed a rule, you must go to the blackboard and draw one notch on the board.

*You do not need to request permission for this statement.

He’s left dangling at my side as I turned the pages of my book. Lazily - time for me is luxury - while time slows and burns for him. I’m aware of this, we both are. I take my time.

Words and their permission come as messy fumblings, a series of tripping over, a flow of jagged starts and stops. I count inaudibly, then a pause, and he crosses the threshold to the chalk board to inscribe x number of notches.

I’m always in repose. In bed, on the couch, nibbling on tasty things. As the rope connects unspoken sentences between us, he wanders away a little in space. I flirt magnanimously, knowing that he can’t raise his eyes to look. More notches on the chalk board.

Caning is harsh, harsher than perhaps intended. All errors are his, which he accepts, which are turned into punishments which he relishes, on the divine level. The animal surges up, the caning continues. Breast and bone and flame are awakened, the cane connects and soars.

Alone, the cage contracts around him. Wax melts, electrical currents pulse. His contorted breathing plays out alongside the music on my Sonos. The couch is languid, where I relax my body.