Everyone’s Pretending I’m Not Naked

This story was originally published by the now defunct fivestopstory.com.

Monday night
Amsterdam airport is a temple to the commuter. They tumble out of the airport onto the ground level. Some of them scatter to the waiting taxis outside, others continue their descent into the train station on the floor below.
It’s a controlled demolition of the working day. The workforce collapses into their downtime. The evening rush hour looks similar to the morning rush hour, but it’s not quite the same, it’s rougher around the edges. Ties are dislodged, heads are bowed, fewer people are talking on the phone. Fewer people are trying to get ahead.
The flow of people is decaffeinated.
Speaking of which, I step out of the slow wave of commuters and approach a coffee stall. I carefully place the Pratesi suit bag on the floor between my legs. £700 worth of bag resting against my Ted Baker chinos.
The barista is neat, well-groomed and alive. Like me he is not coming off a shift. He probably started less than an hour ago. He is here to oversee the orderly demolition of the working day – in his own way.
“What can I get you?” In English. He can tell from a mile off that I’m English.
“A macchiato with skimmed milk.”
“Not your first time to Amsterdam is it,” he says over his shoulder, no trace of an accent, “you look like you know where you’re going.”
“Yeah, work has brought me here a few times.” I watch him carefully drain the espresso into the beige, paper espresso cup. Then he builds the tiny castle of milk on top. When he is satisfied with the little empire in the cup he places the plastic lid on top. There’s not a trace of coffee on the outside of the cup and the lid is perfectly sealed. I hate it when they make a mess of the lid, it shows a lack of care and control.
“So I don’t have to direct you to all the fun spots in the city?” His smile is warm, just a couple of lads sharing a joke.
“I’m a married man.” I take the coffee and give him some money.

“Not happily married,” I look at him shocked, what a presumption, “I mean you look way too happy to be in Amsterdam if you’re married.” I’m staggered by the abruptness of his comment. But his smile is so warm and friendly. Maybe it’s just dutch humour. He doesn’t take my money.
“For an Amsterdam regular like you, it’s on the house.” His smile is wide and genuine, “See you again,” he says as I turn to leave. The exchange leaves me feeling unsettled even though he was probably just trying to have a laugh. Probably. What was it about me that made him think I was here for more than business. How did he know I was unhappily married?
I look over my shoulder but he’s already chatting with the next customer.

Tuesday morning
The wake-up call breaks my sleep at 6.30am, as per the routine. Routine is important when you’re away on business. Everything fits together when you follow the routine.
I get out of bed and everything is in place as I left it last night.
I turn on my iPod, it plays through all the speakers in the room. Lady Gaga’s, Just Dance kicks off my morning playlist. Everyone says my music taste is trashy – I just think it’s happy.
Shower: hot water, luxury shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, cold water rinse. Twenty minutes. Shave: brush, foam, blade, moisturise. Ten minutes. Brush teeth: toothpaste, cold water, floss, mouthwash. Six minutes. Gel hair: eight minutes.
By the time I am out of the bathroom the playlist has moved on. Scissor Sisters are singing Any Which Way. The morning is progressing like a morning should. The soundtrack pops along with my routine.
I place all the items back into the Paul Smith toiletry bag and slide the bag back into the side pocket of the garment bag which contains yesterday’s clothes. Today’s blue suit hangs in the wardrobe. It’s a Richard Anderson from Savile Row. It is still in the dry cleaner’s plastic wrapper. Perfect.
I dress: underwear, socks, shirt, trousers, tie, jacket. Another 20 minutes passes.
A Blackberry Bold lays on the desk, snug in its little leather pouch. I take it out and type a message to my daughter: ‘Good luck. If you relax you’ll pass with ease.’ The perfectly formed, neat little buttons tap along to Duffy’s Warwick Avenue.
She texts back almost immediately: “Fnx Dad.”
Downstairs I get breakfast. Poached eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, lean bacon, black coffee. High protein and low carb. The whole thing takes 45 minutes. If didn’t have to get to this early meeting I would have had a 60 minutes swimming session. This is why the routine is compartmentalised, so that the routine can adapt. The taxi arrives and takes me to the heart of the city. Before I get in I send another text, ‘Be ready for 7pm.’

Tuesday evening

The meeting was a success. The free consultation usually is. Our boutique legal firm has carved a nice little niche for itself as a specialist in patent and trademark law for creative and technology companies. We sat with them for a morning talking about where their risks lie and where they could be exposed. They were so impressed we spent the afternoon looking at specific examples and signing a contract. Then at 5pm they wanted to take me for a beer. I turn them down, lying and saying that I have to catch a flight. The Blackberry buzzes in my pocket. I have two unread messages. My daughter tells me she has passed, I send her congratulations and tease her about not being allowed her own car till her next birthday anyway. The second text, from Robbin this time asks, “Where do I have to meet you master?”
“Momo,” I reply.
“Cocktails :-)” she responds.
Then I call my wife to check in on our daughter’s success.

Tuesday night
I send another text to my wife, ‘I ate at Momo again tonight, you’d love it. Signal at the hotel is unreliable so I’ll text you from the airport tomorrow.’ I turn off the blackberry and put it back on the hotel room desk.
“Have you turned off the wife?” asks Robbin, she throws me a smile. The way it lights up is like a napalm bombing on the bottom half of her face.
I glare at her, ‘Did I say you could speak?’ She tries to hold a straight face but the corners of her lips and eyes give away the smile underneath.
She is sat at the edge of the bed. Her hands laying on her lap, bound together by a leather strap. Her legs aren’t restrained, only limited by the grey, pinstripe pencil-skirt that pulls them together. A pair of Daniel Chandilier strappy black heels are wrapped around her feet. I admire the effect they have on her large, muscular calves. But I’ve always thought the real reason heels are sexy is because when a woman is wearing them she cannot run.
Her blouse is open to her cleavage. It’s a tailored cut and shows off the right parts of her full figure. Hidden behind the curls of her blond hair is a black, leather collar. It fits snug against her pale skin. On one side of the collar is a bolt. She looks into my eyes, still trying not to grin. I hold her head with one hand and twist the bolt half a rotation with the other hand.
Her eyes never leave mine – I can see a drop of panic in them. The grin disappears as the collar tightens. Her breathing gets quicker as she adjusts to the restriction. Her cheeks blush.
I hold her chin in one hand, directing her lips to mine. An open mouth kiss. She is panting short, hot breaths into my mouth. She never closes her eyes. She looks straight into mine as our tongues touch in my mouth.
“Stand up,” I tell her. She obeys. “Place your hands on the desk.”
“It’s too tight,” she says playfully, rolling her neck and holding back a grin.
“Put your hands on the desk,” I repeat flatly. She places her bound hands on the desk, a little too close to the sleeping Blackberry. Her feet are together, and the action of bending over the desk lifts her large bum into bloom. A huge, curvy rump wrapped in a pencil skirt.
She says something into the table. I can barely hear it but I can hear her giggling.
“What?”
“You’re a pervert,” she giggles again, as much a she can with the collar pulling on her throat.
“Did I say you could speak?”
“Oh think you’re…” She’s interrupted by a loud spank that fills the room. The sound of my palm smacking against her fat buttock. For now its blushes are hidden by the grey skirt.
For a perfect moment the only sound that fills the room are her deep, excited breaths, fighting against the collar. An awareness of warmth and heaviness pours into my crotch. My controlled, deep breaths are a bass to her quick, treble panting.
I place my hands on her knees and slide my fingers under the tight hem of her skirt. With a few sharp pulls, the hem comes up over her thighs. Gripping it tightly I manage to pull it over her chunky buttocks. She is wearing a simple black thong. There is comfort in simplicity. There is peace in control. Now I am in control.
She wiggles her bum and giggles again. The two cheeks stick out of the bottom of the skirt like two fat ivory keys on a piano. The thong is like a deformed, black flat key squashed in between. Her skin is perfect and vulnerable like snow.
“C’mon,” she says over her shoulder almost purring. But then the purring stops when my palm claps against the other perfect snowy white cheek.
“I said, shut up,” I tell her levelly. After a couple of seconds a red handprint begins to flower on her skin. It looks like a cattle brand. As if I have smacked my ownership onto her.
The warmth in my crotch is now a hardness. It’s so sensitive I can feel it pushing against my flys. The warm, tingly closeness is spreading into my navel and dripping into my thighs.
I pull her thong down and it drops to her ankles.
I smack her again, this time it catches the fatty flesh just right. A sharp crack echoes off the hotel walls. She is perfectly silent. Only the sound of our breathing fills the room.
Under my shirt my heart is battering my ribcage. Each pump is laced with adrenaline and endorphins. Each pump is pulling the warm feeling out from my midriff to the rest of my body. In front of me is this woman, with her hands bound, her breathing restricted, her buttocks blushing, her sex exposed and wet. I am in control. This woman, smart and independent, has given herself to my control. In this moment she not a woman, she is barely a doll, she is simply my object – to control and abuse however I want. But she and I know that she hasn’t been degraded to this sexual object, she has transcended to it.
Everything is simple and pure. There is no business plan; no presentation; no credit card overdue charges; no flight cancellation; no car insurance renewal; no “I’m not in the mood tonight”. It is just flesh, rules and control. I unzip my flys.

Wednesday morning
I am rushing to work because I am late. The staff car-park is full because I am late. I rush into the office. My daughter is in my boss’ chair, looking at me disapprovingly because I am late. Except it’s not my daughter it’s my boss. But it’s also my daughter. And then I realise that she’s not looking at me because me I’m late, she is glaring at me because I am naked. I have come to the office naked and my boss/daughter can see me. I look around the office. Everyone is pretending they can’t see me. Everyone is pretending that they haven’t notice but they are all grinning at each other. I don’t know what to do so I just sit down and begin my work pretending that nothing is wrong.
The wake up call wakes me up at 7.32am. It was supposed to be 7.30am. It is not a good start to the day. I am annoyed. The last shadows of a bad dream are disappearing in the morning light.
Robbin is already up and has quietly gone about showering and applying her makeup. “Sorry,” she says, “I’d have woken you up at 7.30 myself but I didn’t know when you intended to get up.” This is another thing I like about her. She understands the need for the schedule. The need for control.
She takes off the white hotel robe she was wearing while she applied her makeup and gets dressed. I realise I have never seen her completely nude. As beautiful and feminine as it is, her naked body does nothing to arouse me.
“I ordered my breakfast to the room. I hope you don’t mind if I don’t eat downstairs with you. I have to rush off,” she tells me.
“It’s fine.”

Wednesday night.
The oak dining table in our home is bespoke. A gift from when I used to work for a large legal firm. I put down the Vesace medusa soup tureen on the heat proof mat. The deep red of the tureen’s intricate design complements the rich, brown colour of the table. That’s why we bought it – the details matter. Inside is a piping hot polish goulash. One of my daughter’s favourite meals. I look at my watch, 6.05pm, and at this moment my wife walks in the house. She follows her nose to the dining room.
“Oh!” She looks pleasantly surprised. This is good.
“Polish goulash. Take a seat,” I tell her.
She takes off her Armani coat, hangs it over one of the unused chairs and takes a seat opposite me. “So how was Amsterdam?”
“Excellent,” I tell her, smiling warmly, “I closed the deal. More business.”
“And more money?” she grins expectantly.
“Yes more money.”
“But you’ll have to keep going back to Amsterdam I guess,” she sighs and before I can respond she adds, “what a nice surprise, what’s the occasion?”
“Our beautiful daughter has passed her driving test. Polish golash is her favourite.”
She leans back in her chair. This is not a good sign. “She’s not here tonight. She’s at clarinet practice you bloody idiot.” Her face twists like she is chewing on a wasp. As always the change is fast and irreversible.
“I’m sorry…” I begin but she stands up and points and me.
“What a stupid waste of food. Do you think we’ve got money to be pissing away on food because you can’t bloody plan a meal properly?”
Together we earn £190,000 a year after tax. I’m serving the dinner in a £600 Versace taureen. We’re surrounded by things we don’t need with someone’s name on I’ve never met. But I don’t say this. It’s best if I stay quiet now.
“You think you’re clever,” she continues, “set up a nice dinner for your daughter and she’s not even here. It would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic. Dick.”
She begins to leave the room. But before she leaves she thumps me in the chest, hard. I can feel the sharp stone in the engagement ring digging into my flesh.
I don’t move. I just look look down at my plate. It’s best if I don’t move. She hits me again, this time above the eye socket. It’s sharp and I can feel it bruising already. She sighs and leaves the dining room. For the next ten minutes I try my best not to cry.

Thursday morning
I’m in our ensuite, she’s padding my eye with witch hazel ointment. She sighs again. “Why do you make me so angry?” The bruising has died down enough so that it won’t get noticed or arouse any suspicion.
“I fell off my bike,” is what I’ll say, and they’ll pretend I’m not naked at work.
She kisses my cheek and rushes off to work. The front door slams shut. I feel alone, small and powerless. I start fiddling with the toilitories. They’re not very neat. However I arrange them I’m not satisfied. They’re all different sizes and colours. It won’t work, it won’t look neat.
I give in and finish getting ready for work. On the bedside table is the Blackberry. Before I know it the neat little black buttons are touching me. Clicking and tapping under my thumbs.
The text sends to Robbin, “I’ll be in Amsterdam next Thursday for work. Be available.”
Soon she replies, “Yes master ;-)”

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