Zoe waited until Friday after work to try and figure out where she’d seen a rose like the one on the card. She’d checked Google Image, the local phone book, and she even called a tattoo artist she knew wondering if it was a tat shop. Nothing. It was driving her crazy. If he hadn’t been so interesting, she’d have just thrown the card in the trash and left it at that. Instead, she found herself sitting on the bed, turning it over in her hand.
“Oh, Fuck it!” she said. Picking up her cell phone, she dialed the number on the back of the card. She hesitated at the last digit when she realized that she didn’t even know Beard’s name. Stopping, she grabbed her notes from the meeting and went back over them. He wasn’t on the agenda even though he’d spoken. It wasn’t too late, so she called Claire.
“Hey Claire,” she said. “Yeah. Nothing much. Um… I’ve got a question to ask you. Do you remember the name of the guy with the beard who spoke about computer programs at the meeting on Tuesday?” She waited while Claire nattered on for a few minutes. “Um, Claire, I’ve gotta go. Yeah, I’ll see you at work on Monday. No, I’m not mad at you for leaving me, but I gotta go.”
Zoe walked around her living room twice and then went back over to her cell phone. She took a deep breath and dialed the number. It rang three times.
Tim was sitting at the bar in the Rosy Thorn when his phone rang. He took the call on the third ring after gesturing to Dirk and Jake to be quiet. “Hello Ms. Potter, how are you tonight? No, I wasn’t expecting your call, but caller ID is a wonderful invention.” He smiled as he waited for her to stop stuttering at the other end of the line. “Yes, what would you like to do? Well, I’m down here working at the club. Would you care to join me?” Once again, he waited. “It isn’t difficult to find. No, dress however you’d like. We’re rather casual here.” He made a throat cutting motion at Dirk and Jake who were laughing so hard, that they nearly fell off their stools. Tim gave directions and then hung up his phone.
“You two are asses,” he said.
“Yeah, that line about ‘we’re casual’ just got me,” said Jake.
“You know what in the hell I meant. Besides, I don’t want to scare her off by saying that you better be ready to strip at the door, and don’t be offended if someone walks by being led by nipple clamps and a chain,” said Tim.
“Don’t be too rough on him,” Dirk said to Jake. “It’s our turn to watch him net a sub, if I’m guessing correctly.”
“We will wait and see,” said Tim. “In the mean time, try not to scare the woman right out of her shoes. That’s my job.” He smiled and headed for the door to wait for Ms. Potter’s arrival. He nodded to Jenny who was manning the coat room. Jenny waved back, the spreader bar only slightly hampering her hands.
Tim stepped out the front door and leaned against the door jam. He’d done some digging on Zoe Potter and knew that she was a upwardly mobile feminist in the local government offices. She liked to be in control and had chewed her way through more than one male executive on her way up to where she was now. He smiled, knowing that he had piqued her interest. Now to see just where she wanted to go. When Dirk and Jake teased him, he wasn’t sure if he was going to end up with a sub, a switch or a baby Dom on his hands.
He watched a car pull into the lot, cruise and then park under a light about halfway down the parking lot. She climbed out of the Dodge Neon wearing tight jeans, a dark blazer and what looked like cowboy boots. Tim smiled.
Zoe walked towards the Rosy Thorn wondering what in the hell she was getting into. After she’d hung up, she Googled the address quickly and found out that it was a BDSM club. There had been a couple of articles in the paper over the years, one recently about a pair of rapists found in the parking lot and a ‘Lord’ from England visiting, whatever that meant. She saw Beard standing at the door waiting for her. She still didn’t know his name.
“Hi. I’m Zoe Potter and you are?” she said as she walked up to him.
“I’m Tim Johnson,” he said as he held out his hand.
Zoe shook hands and noticed the strong grip. “So, you work here?”
“Part time. A few of us bought the club and we all take a night. Tonight’s my night.”
“Come on in and I’ll show you around,” said Tim. He opened the door and Zoe followed his gesture to enter. They headed for the coat room. “You can leave your jacket here if you’d like.”
Zoe tried not to stare at the woman who offered to take her jacket. She shrugged it off her shoulders and handed it over. The woman took her jacket in one hand and gave her a chit with the other. Zoe stuck the chit in her pocket and then followed Tim through a set of doors.
Zoe was struck by a number of things all at once. Lights, noise, people and artwork vied for her attention. She almost missed Tim asking her if she’d like to head for the bar for a drink. “Um, yeah. Tonic and lime please,” she said as she followed him over to a large mahogany bar. She sat down on a bar stool as Tim called to a man to order them drinks. Zoe couldn’t decide where to look, so she chose to stare at the bottles behind the bar.
“You know, you won’t go blind if you look,” Tim said as he walked over and sat next to her. “In fact, most people like to be looked at.”
“I… um. I read about this place before I drove over, but…” she started.
“It does take a little getting use to the first time you’re here. Let me give you a quick visual tour.” He took her by the shoulders and turned her to face the room.
Zoe listened as he spent the next few minutes explaining that in the lounge there were areas to eat, drink and relax. She looked at the leather padded doors off to the one side that Tim called the Dungeon just as two people walked through the doors. One was nude and the other dressed in black leathers complete with a leather mask just across his eyes.
“Hi Boris!” called Tim.
“Good evening. Pardon me, but this slave has yet to learn manners,” he said gruffly as he walked briskly towards another set of doors. The man on the leash ran behind him.
“What?” Zoe started.
“Boris is a Sadist. And before you ask, the man pays for Boris’ services,” said Tim.
“People pay for this?” Zoe asked trying not to stare at another couple. The woman was nearly nude and tiny. She was sitting side saddle on the back of a man crawling on all fours. He had a tail sticking out of his ass.
“Yes. In spite of what you may think, people are enjoying themselves. Bring your drink, and I’ll show you the Dungeon.”
“Um… I’m not so sure about that,” she said.
“Ms Potter, you weren’t afraid to size up potential sex partners in a board room. Are you going to let peoples sexual oddities scare you? Are you really that vanilla?” he asked in a sarcastic and almost sneering tone.
“Plain sex is known as Vanilla. What goes on here is kink. There is no shame in being honest about what you like here. If we don’t have it and it isn’t illegal, we do our best to fill a request,” said Tim as he stood up. “You wanted to know about where I work. Are you going to back out before you even discover a tenth of it?”
Zoe knew he was manipulating her, but at the same time she knew he was right. “Damn!” She took a swig of her tonic water and put the glass down. “Let’s go.
Tim took her by the elbow and walked them into the Dungeon.