Lady Muck

RARELY SEE THE women whose houses I clean; for the most part, they leave early, come home late, and leave me a wad of banknotes on the granite, or Corian, or quartz kitchen counter at the end of the week. I do, of course, know what they look like, from our initial hiring meeting, and from the large glossy portraits of them, in wedding dresses, or graduation robes, or accepting awards at some industry dinner or other, all over the walls and mantelpieces. Their personalities sometimes come through in the messages they leave me.

Mrs Redvers, a sleek brunette corporate lawyer, often complains that the refrigerator shelves are left in a mess, and I have explained over and over again that this is because young Jonquil and Reuben run rings around the nanny and are constantly raiding for illicit snacks. Her notes are terse; she is time-poor, as they say, and the subsequent need for economy seems to be carried over into her manners.

Ms Livesay is a television producer, a slightly manic-looking blonde. Although she is nearly thirty, she still lives like a student, and of all my houses, hers is the most labour-intensive. Bottles and cigarette butts in the sink, clothes flung everywhere, a leaning tower of magazines and CDs piled high on the coffee table. She is thoughtless, but usually quite effusive in her notes. ‘Thanks, darling, you are a lifesaver,’ she will sometimes scribble, with an extra fiver on top of the wage if the toilet was pebble-dashed with vomit or there was a particularly heinous stain on the sofa.

My final lady is a Lady. Lady Markham’s London pied-à-terre is only occupied when the House of Lords is sitting. I must admit I used to have a crush on her, when I started cleaning for her. She is a stunning woman in her forties, with a look of Honor Blackman in her 1960s heyday, and the accent to match. She is, I suppose, quite patronising, but she patronises me so graciously and with such charm that I fall for it every time. She is habitually tidy, which makes the job easy, and she has beautiful, elegant taste, so that spending time among her knick-knacks is a pleasure. I do wonder about the little room – a walk-in closet really, I think – tucked to the side of her bedroom that is always locked and strictly off-limits, but it pleases me to think of Lady Markham having her secrets, just like I do.

I clean these houses in St Johns Wood every day, then I go home to my own tiny flat on a rough estate – just a stone’s throw from their mansions – and clean up all my mother’s clutter before cooking her supper. It isn’t the life I dreamed of when we came here, but it is a life, of sorts.

Well, it was, until that awful Thursday at Mrs Redvers’s house. It was a school holiday, so Jonquil and Reuben were underfoot all day, pretending to blast me with their space guns while I vacuumed. A tiny plastic alien I had not seen when picking up the toys earlier was sucked up into the tube and Reuben began to shriek and wave his arms like an alarmed octopus.

‘What is wrong, Reuben?’ I asked, clicking off the drone of the hoover.

‘You’ve just hoovered up Floople, you bitch!’ he shouted.

I might not be a rich or well-respected woman, but I was not taking this from an eight-year-old.

‘How dare you use that disgusting language to me! I will tell your mother!’

‘She won’t care! She thinks you’re a stupid foreign bitch as well!’

‘It’s true,’ drawled ten-year-old Jonquil from the doorway. ‘She’ll freak if she hears that you’ve been telling us off. Who the hell do you think you are? The hired hand is all you are.’

‘Yes,’ I hissed at her, ‘I am just a cleaner. But I used to be a lawyer, just like your mother. Would you like somebody to speak to your mother like that?’

Jonquil’s reply came in a V-shape. Reuben, effing and blinding hysterically, was trying to dismantle the vacuum cleaner, sending a cloud of dust billowing into the room. I reached out for the tube.

‘Mummy, mummy!’ I heard Jonquil screaming, ‘she’s gone mental, she’s trying to hit us!’

Mrs Redvers walked in to the room to find me wrenching the vacuum cleaner from a howling Reuben while particles of refined St Johns Wood dust darkened the air like storm clouds.

‘Sack her! She’s killed Floople!’

‘What on Earth is going on? Why are the children so upset? I think you’d better give me an explanation, Krysztyna!’

I stood up, coughing, and looked Mrs Redvers in her icy eye.

‘Your children have insulted and sworn at me, Mrs Redvers. I think they had better give me an apology.’

‘My children … they do not swear! Oh, you must be lying! I think you had better get out before I say or do something I regret!’

So I got out. I walked the three streets to Ms Livesay’s chaotic terrace and let myself in. There was a terrible smell in there, bad enough to turn my stomach. I couldn’t face it; not just then. I doubled back to Lady Markham’s mansion block, found her beautifully comfortable sofa, sat down in it and cried until I thought my heart had broken.

‘I say, Krysztyna, whatever’s up?’

Lady Markham was up, standing in the hall with an aghast look on her face. I leapt off the hand-embroidered cushions.

‘Oh, Lady Markham, I am so sorry! Please do not be angry – I have had some bad news, is all. I will start cleaning now.’

‘Dear girl, please sit down! I’m not an ogre, you know. You look as if you could use a brandy – let me pour you one.’

I remonstrated, but she was insistent, and the mellowest, fruitiest, fieriest brandy I had ever tasted burned a sweet path to my stomach, calming my angst and bringing the old Krysztyna back to the surface; the girl who had laughed and loved, not the woman who mopped and scrubbed.

‘What do you do for fun, dear girl?’ asked Lady Markham, once she had extracted my full confession about the horror at Mrs Redvers’s. ‘You seem to work terribly hard. When do you play?’

‘Never,’ I said with a bitter little laugh.

‘You have no lovers? You are an attractive woman, you know.’

I looked away, blushing, wanting to tell her, feeling she would understand … but what if she didn’t?

‘No,’ I said simply.

‘Darling, there are so many men in London who would simply adore a gorgeous thing like you on their arms. I can think of at least twenty offhand. Most of them are terrible old roués, mind you.’ She chuckled and rubbed my arm. I drew a deep breath. I took the plunge.

‘Men … I’m not so interested in …’

She sat back a little, regarding my face with a look of amused surprise.

‘Oh, Krysztyna! I should have guessed! I’m usually so good at guessing that kind of thing!’

‘Are you shocked?’

‘Good Lord, girl, no, why would I be shocked? I’m just shocked that you haven’t taken yourself out to one of the very many lovely gay bars and clubs in this City and scored yourself a nice young lady.’

‘I live with my mother. She is not well, and she is a very devout Catholic. I have never told her, and I never will.’

‘I see.’ Lady Markham sat, pursing her lips, intent in thought for some time. I did not like to break the silence, and there did not seem to be much I could say, anyway.

‘Listen, Krysztyna. I’d like to give you a gift. I think you deserve this gift, and I think you would know how to use it. If you do not wish to, then that is your prerogative, but I rather hope you will.’

‘I would never ask for anything …’

‘Hush, hush, dear, I know you wouldn’t. That’s rather why I’m giving it. But it must remain strictly – and I mean strictly – entre nous. You must never breathe a word to anyone. Can you promise me that?’

‘I can keep secrets.’ I was too intrigued to deny her this mysterious offer she was making. Even if it turned out to be something I could not use, I wanted to know what it was. Was she going to let me into her private room?

In the event, she did not. But she let me into another secret; a wonderful and decadent secret. A secret I intend to keep for the rest of my life.

Thus it was that I found myself looking through portfolio photographs with a friendly young woman in a top-floor office.

‘How many pleasure slaves did you have in mind?’ asked the woman, whose name was Charlotte.

I remembered Lady Markham’s words: I insist that you spare no expense. If the bill runs into millions, I shall still cover it.

‘I would like perhaps half a dozen. And all female, as I mentioned in my email.’

‘That shouldn’t be any problem at all. Do any of these appeal to you?’

I shuffled the photographs, searching for the types I wanted.

‘This one,’ I said. She was tall, angular, well-groomed, with sleek chestnut hair and cruel eyes. She looked just like Mrs Redvers.

‘OK.’ Charlotte ticked a box on her computer screen.

‘Oh! Yes! Her!’ A cheery-looking girl with blonde dreadlocks and a nose ring who could have been Ms Livesay’s sister beamed out of a photograph, begging me to choose her.

‘As for the rest … well …’ Now I was free to just pick the girls I fancied, and I did so with alacrity, imagining them oiled and ready for me, pouring my wine and licking the stray drops from my lips. This might be my one and only chance to achieve sexual nirvana, and I was going to seize it with both hands.

What does the mistress of a fleet of pleasure slaves wear?

This had been my quandary all day, and as the evening approached – The Evening of Evenings – I was still undecided. I knew what my slaves were wearing. The Mrs Redvers lookalike would be sporting an abbreviated French maid’s outfit, cut low at the bust and high at the derrière, together with uncomfortably high heels, padlocked on at the ankle. Ms Livesay Mark 2 would be in nipple tassles, a diamanté thong and very little else. She was my toy for the evening. The other four girls would be dressed in various underwear combinations, chosen from the agency’s exclusive catalogue. Lovely, silky, scanty things – tiny panties and severe corsets; teddies and camisoles and boned suspender belts, all frothy with lace and sheeny with satin. The anticipation of all that prettiness and sexiness at my command was making me feel giddy.

I was at the door of the hired town house in a smart London Square before I made my final wardrobe decision, and when I ventured out of the dressing room and down towards the banqueting hall where my minions awaited me, I was draped in a diaphanous sequinned gown that loosely covered my curves, but left every place of interest comfortably accessible. My shoes were high and clacked unforgivingly on the wooden floors, and I felt like a Queen, like Nefertiti or Cleopatra, high on the charge of my sexual power.

The double doors to the banqueting hall were flanked by two of the pretty girls in underwear. Each one dropped a deep curtsey and I gave them my arms, escorting them inside. The table was laid in magnificent style – I had worked a few shifts as a silver service waitress in my time, and I knew a good table setting when I saw one. This one seemed to shimmer, its opulence almost beyond the bounds of good taste, yet working well in the lavish surroundings. Another barely-dressed nymphet pulled out my chair – a kind of throne – for me, and waited until I was seated. The four underwear girls, who were to be my waitresses and general handmaidens, ranged themselves around me, dropping to their knees and demurely hanging their heads.

At one end of the room, on her hands and knees, panting and puffing as she applied wax to the floor, was Mrs Redvers. The stiff nets under her tiny black skirt rose over her pale bottom as she worked, exposing it rudely with its strip of black latex thong between the cheeks. She looked completely humiliated and a little hot and bothered. I sat back, enjoying the sight, before noticing that the banquet centrepiece in front of me, with its elaborate abundance of flowers and fruit, was actually Ms Livesay, lying flat on her back, breasts and belly overspilling black grapes and posies while a solid silver candelabra was lodged between her thighs. Like her real-life counterpart, she was a bit of a mess, and would doubtless be even more so before the evening was out.

‘How charming,’ I breathed, unconsciously imitating Lady Markham’s voice and accent. I reached out to touch Livesay’s thigh, around which was wrapped some twine with little buds of flowers attached. The candelabra blocked my immediate view of her pussy, but that would not stay the case for too long. Livesay twitched, very slightly, but was not able to speak, because she had a peach lodged in her mouth. ‘You do look edible, Livesay,’ I murmured to her. ‘I shall certainly be enjoying you later.’

Beyond the end of the table, Redvers was still polishing effortfully, her tight backside wriggling in a fury of industry.

‘Redvers! Stop that and come here.’

It was not easy for her to rise gracefully in those sky-high heels, but she did her womanly best, tottering over to the table with a blank, sulky look.

‘You can take that sullen look off your face,’ I told her. ‘Come here and wipe the table in front of me.’ I pushed my chair back so that she could bend right over and apply that duster with the maximum of elbow grease. Her pretty arse was within my reach as she huffed and toiled. I reached out and touched it, cupped it, rubbed a thumb over its softness. She did not miss a beat, polishing on, swaying on those ridiculous heels.

‘Do you know what, Redvers?’ I said, stroking the back of her thigh, right down to the hold-up stocking top. ‘Later on, you are going to polish me. I am going to work you so hard … I won’t let you stop work until you have cleaned me right out.’

Redvers said nothing but ‘Yes, ma’am,’ and continued her buffing until the wood shone, at which point she turned around and curtsied, so beautifully. I had never seen a sexy curtsey before, but this girl had the knack.

‘Keep those knees on the floor and that lovely bum in the air, Redvers,’ I instructed, pointing to the floor immediately to my right. ‘Carry on cleaning until I have finished eating. I expect perfection, or I might have to spoil that gorgeous arse of yours with a spanking, do you understand?’

‘Yes, ma’am,’ said Redvers, slightly throatily. Oh good. This was making her horny as well.

I turned my attention to the feast at the table, clicking my fingers so that two of my oiled beauties hurried either side of me.

‘You! Pour me some wine. You! Feed me some of these lovely foods.’

Beauty #1 put the crystal glass to my lips, alternating with Beauty #2, who fed me scallops, morsels of sweet flaky pastry, Parma ham, grapes, cubes of French cheese, in loving succession.

‘This is delicious, but I need some entertainment as well. You two!’ I clicked my fingers again, and the remaining two girls flitted up to the table. ‘I would like to watch you make out. You know what I mean? Kiss, touch each other, perhaps, if you have time, bring each other off. Can you do that.’

They nodded eagerly and I smiled to see their curves meld and their shining skins slide together as they kissed, sweetly at first, then more deeply, more passionately, the tongues colliding, the dainty hands grabbing and pawing while I ate and drank my fill.

Livesay’s sumptuously ample body was losing its coverage as Beauty #2 continued to ransack it for my meal; here and there a clutch of grapes disappeared to reveal a swell of breast, or the prawn ring around her navel developed gaps, showcasing her white, soft belly. I was beginning to want to lick it. But I waited a little longer, enjoyed the feeding fingers and solicitous lips of my handmaidens, who were now transferring the wine to my mouth from theirs, and swapping slivers of meat from between their pearly teeth. We began to kiss each other as we fed, tasting the lips and tongues as well as the salty-sweet food combinations, all three of us dropping scented kisses on to faces and collarbones and earlobes, breathing each other in and sighing as we satisfied our senses. My hands – the only ones permitted to wander – found their dewy pussies and investigated them as we disported ourselves. I lay back in my throne, allowing one girl on to my lap while the other stretched herself backwards over my belly from the arm of the chair, and all the bounty of female flesh was at my disposal, the whole world of woman lay before me.

‘Have you had enough to eat and drink, ma’am?’ one of them whispered, and I snapped back into consciousness, looking over their heads at my Entertainers, who were now writhing and twisting on each other’s fingers, biting and sucking each other’s necks, butting up against each other with aggressive arousal, almost at the point of release.

‘No,’ I whispered. ‘I don’t think I have. Stand aside.’

The Handmaidens fell to their knees on either side of the throne, and I stood – a little shakily – to inspect the state of my pretty, ravaged centrepiece. She looked a poor display now, all sticky and patchy with juices, her edible veil half-wrenched away from that lavish body, but I preferred her like this. The candle would have to go though, and I removed it, seeing the part of her that had been concealed for the first time, in a split-crotch diamante thong. Her legs were parted and her little red clit peeked out between the paste jewels like one of the berries that topped her nipples, ready to be anointed with cream and then licked and eaten until the remnants stained my face. Oh yes, that would have to be done. But first …

I was dimly aware of the Entertainers wrestling on the floor, grunting and panting and bucking like rodeo horses, but I had lost interest in them, and just wanted a bite of my Livesay, my living banquet. I climbed on to the table and positioned myself between her thighs, bending over to take the remaining fruit into my mouth, licking each bared portion of flesh, sweeping it with my tongue, before chewing and swallowing the food. I sucked up the raspberries from each pert nipple, slowly, nipping with teeth, until they were licked into paste and she was moaning quietly, as if begging me to stop, or carry on. Then I moved down her body, munching a narrow trail around her belly button, licking the smoked salmon mousse from her shaved mons before arriving at the crowning delicacy – her unseasoned, unsauced, perfectly fresh pussy.

‘Hmmm,’ I pondered. ‘As it comes? Or with cream?’

‘Ma’am?’ Beauty #2, tremulous and eager to please, handed me the vacuum can of squirty cream, making the decision for me. I depressed the button and sprayed the stuff generously between the split of her lips until she was covered and smothered in frilly white, ready to be licked clean.

I swooped into action, scooping up the melting substance with my tongue, careless of how much of it covered my chin and cheeks, hunting down that hidden clit like a pig hunting a truffle. I curled into every crevice, lapping and licking, exhaustive and ravenous, until she was clean and her sweet, fat jewel cried out to me for attention. I gave it; I sucked that little morsel until she began to cry out. Then I took the aerosol and repeated the process all over again.

‘Messy, messy girl,’ I crooned, when, after the fourth version of this procedure, I finally allowed her to come. ‘Always such a mess, Livesay.’

I sat back on my heels, looking at her, all purple and orange with fruit stains; the leftover foodstuffs jumbling across her skin.

‘Girls,’ I said to the four lissom beauties, who had been watching the performance raptly. ‘Dinner time.’

It was a wonderful sight; the four sheeny-skinned nymphs devouring what was left of the banquet from Livesay’s flesh; Livesay, tossing and squealing as if being tickled to death. They plunged their mouths into her pussy and over her breasts, squeezing and suckling until their pretty faces were smeared with the evidence of their depravity.

I caught Redvers in a longing over-the-shoulder look and pushed her bottom with my foot, forcing her back to the scrubbing.

‘You don’t get treats, Redvers, you nasty little slut. That’s not what you’re here for. But actually, while the others are busy, perhaps I can find another use for you. Why don’t you kneel down here and show me how good you are with your tongue. Not talking – I don’t want to hear you talk. You know what I mean?’

Slightly abashed, she nodded, but she was so relieved to be taken off floor-scrubbing duty that she scrambled between my knees without further bidding, lifting up my gown – underneath which I was naked – and bringing that smooth, lovely face up between my thighs, which she kissed shyly as a rather charming and submissive preamble.

‘I like that,’ I approved. ‘A little initiative can be a good thing.’ Redvers – the real Redvers – had said those very words to me on occasion, the condescending bitch. I patted false-Redvers’s head and shifted my thighs, the better to accommodate her darting tongue. I leaned back, watching Livesay yield to the eight fluttering hands and four greedy mouths of the Beauties, while Redvers attended to my pussy with such finesse and sensitivity that I had to think she must be a professional.

My words, when they came, brokenly but forcefully, were in Polish, while my spendings flowed into Redvers’s grateful face. She bobbed back and looked up at me, a little fearfully, as if she was worried that I might be cursing her in my mother tongue.

‘No, Redvers,’ I panted, pitying her for that brief moment. ‘That was good. Thank you.’

Livesay was now stripped of all edible matter, her body gleaming with the combined saliva of the diners; that well-licked clit all swollen and stiff between the sparkly strands of the split-crotch thong.

‘Let’s take a little break,’ I suggested, drowsy after the good food and better orgasm. ‘Some of you girls can dance? I did order some music, I think.’

As if by magic, from a gallery to the side of the room, a string quartet struck up some gracious music from times past – waltzes and foxtrots – while the four Beauties coupled up and took to the floor. Livesay lay on the table, almost asleep, while Redvers was permitted to bend over and watch the display while I fondled her magnificent backside, making plans for it which grew wilder and lewder as the dances mutated from respectable ballroom to lascivious tangos and lambadas, the girls pressing closer, spinning and wheeling each other around the room in poses that stopped only micromillimetres short of sexual penetration.

‘Redvers,’ I whispered eventually, my senses reignited by the behaviour of the girls on the dance floor. They seemed to have turned the dancing into some kind of Roman orgy, and were kissing and caressing in a big scrum at the centre of the floor, all arms and legs and tiny scraps of lacy silk. ‘Fetch me my whip and my strap-on.’

With careful consideration of her padlocked ankles, Redvers rose to her feet and went to a cherrywood chest in the corner of the room, withdrawing from it a martinet whip and a large dildo attached to a leather harness. Eyes downcast, she bore them to me, not even glancing sideways at the gasping ball of womanhood that rolled around the centre of the floor.

‘You, Redvers, need to be punished,’ I told her, my eyes narrowed, head full of a flashback to that awful Thursday morning at the Redvers abode.

‘I know, ma’am,’ she said meekly.

‘Bend over the end of the table.’

I snapped my fingers at the bawdy quartet, and at the recumbent and half-asleep Livesay, all of whom awoke from their stupors of lust and sloth to focus on me once more.

‘More play to come later,’ I promised. ‘But first we must all take turns to punish Redvers here. She has been a very, very bad and nasty girl, and I want you all to give her ten good lashes with the whip. It isn’t a very terrible whip – you won’t damage her. But you can lay it on as hard as you like. I want that bottom bright red by the time we’ve finished with her. Livesay, you may start.’

Livesay, her nipple pastes sparkling, clambered from the centre of the table and took the whip in her hand, frowning at it as if unfamiliar with its design – which she possibly was. All the same, she took her station at Redvers’s rear and began to flip it through the air, laughing with exhilaration as each thin strip of tail caught the unfortunate maid’s bum, flecking it with pink. The Beauties, sniggering and nudging one another, queued up for their turns behind Livesay, who had an unexpectedly powerful arm and was opening the batting very creditably, causing Redvers’s breath to hitch and her fists to curl and uncurl.

It was lovely to watch, and as each girl wielded the whip hand, the beautiful slut-maid twisted and turned, growing increasingly uncomfortable, but knowing that she had no other option than to keep that pert bottom thrust out for more stinging kisses, until my pleasure was satisfied.

Once all five girls had had their chance of whipping poor Redvers, I stepped up, first taking a little time to feel the heat and tenderness of that abused flesh.

‘How sore that must be,’ I said soothingly. ‘Is it very sore, Redvers?’

‘Yes, ma’am.’

‘Good. And it’s about to be sorer.’

I did not stop at ten strokes. I kept on until I had lashed the need out of me. Redvers was a good submissive – perhaps a true masochist – and although she wailed and begged, she did not use the safeword, but let me have my way until her arse was red and hot as flame, tight and swollen to the touch.

‘Good girl, Redvers,’ I finally managed to breathe, exultant and almost giddy with the power of my emotion and my lust for her. ‘You have done well. Livesay, hand me the strap-on.’

I donned it with fleet fingers, wanting to plunge into her, to violate her in every way, and I wasted no time in penetrating her to the hilt while she thanked me, over and over, in her breathy, hoarse voice. I gave her first a few hard thrusts, then I unbuckled myself and passed it over to the next girl.

‘You may all fuck her with this,’ I told them. ‘When you have given her as much as you can, come to me.’

I took the candlesticks from the candelabra while Livesay bucked and surged into Redvers’s juicy pussy.

‘Come on, Livesay,’ I ordered her, lying myself down on the table on my stomach, so that I faced the bug-eyed, puffing Redvers and could watch her expression as she was fucked with the strap-on. ‘Come between my legs and do your worst with one of those candles. If you can eat my pussy at the same time, I’ll give you a five-star recommendation on my customer feedback form.’

She did it too. I had to get up on my knees and bend forward, but she slid her artful little face down underneath me and clit-licked for England, while the candlestick sawed lazily back and forth in my pussy. Beauty #1 abandoned the strap-on and passed it to Beauty #2, leaving a vacancy. ‘Come and fuck Livesay with a candle,’ I invited, and so we went on, until five of us were arranged in a long line, all frantically fucking with candles apart from me, who enjoyed the receipt but not the gift, and was too busy making sure Redvers knew she was being watched in her humiliating position to bother with anything else anyway.

Redvers, exhausted and shagged to mush, her face as red as her arse, begged for mercy as Beauty #4 began to lose steadiness and grind to a final halt.

I had come three times myself, and could no longer support myself on my elbows, so I asked Livesay to put away her tired tongue and retract the candle, while we all took a long deep breath.

‘How about a bath?’ I finally suggested, once my brain was engaged once more. ‘All of us together? There is a wonderful, huge hot tub in the next room.’

The girls, some still sprightly, some barely able to walk, followed me into the adjacent chamber and disrobed, joining me one by one in the fragrant milky waters, sinking with sighs into the bubbles.

I poured us all a glass of champagne and sat back for a speech.

‘I would like to thank all of you for taking part in this. I have showed you a side of myself that rarely comes out – a side I am maybe not so proud of, but which needs its release now and then. Thank you for helping me to achieve this.’

The girls all simpered responses of the ‘it’s a pleasure’ variety.

‘Really?’ I asked, turning to Redvers. ‘It was a pleasure? Even for you?’

‘I work in a BDSM dungeon club,’ she said, smiling, and her face looked calm and beautiful now. ‘I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t like it. You would make a fantastic pro-Domme. Have you ever considered that line of work?’

‘I don’t want to whip men’s hairy bums,’ I declared, to general giggles and raisings of glasses. ‘Not for a million pounds.’

‘That’s fair enough,’ she conceded. ‘I bet you could get a few private clients though. Lady clients. Wealthy lady clients.’

The way she put the emphasis on the word ‘lady’, coupled with the significant look, made me stop and think. She was trying to tell me something. What was she trying to tell me?

I did not know how to ask, so, once we were soaped and shampooed and towelled and perfumed and had done a little bit more kissing and light caressing, we parted company, well satisfied with our evening of debauchery.

At Lady Markham’s apartment a few days later, she interrupted me in my vacuuming and invited me to sit down and take a drink with her.

‘I hear a wonderful time was had by all on Saturday night,’ she remarked, smiling from ear to ear, as she handed me a tumbler of gin and tonic.

‘I can only thank you once more,’ I said. In truth, it all seemed like a distant dream now. I had gone back to work as normal on Monday morning – not to the Redvers’s, but to another similar family put my way by the agency. Bills needed paying, mother had a bad back, I was a single frustrated Polish lesbian not getting any younger.

‘You deserved a wonderful escape from your routine, dear,’ observed Lady Markham. ‘I’m so pleased it was enjoyable. Penny tells me she was terribly impressed with you.’

I looked up sharply. Lady Markham knew one of my pleasure slaves?

‘Oh, don’t look so stunned,’ she laughed. ‘I’m rather closely connected with the whole operation. I more or less bankroll it. I put Penny their way – she works at a dungeon I sometimes like to visit.’

‘You … a dungeon? You visit a dungeon?’

‘Strictly hush hush, my dear, you’ll understand.’

‘Of course!’

‘I do trust you, Krysztyna. I think you’re a good soul. A discreet soul.’

‘Oh, I am. I have my own secrets … as you know.’

‘Yes. Sometimes, a secret shared can be such a weight off one’s mind. Penny and I play scenes together on occasion, when I feel like a little submissive company in my suffering.’

‘You’re a …?’

‘You hadn’t guessed? Well, I hadn’t guessed about you being a marvellous Domme either, so perhaps that isn’t surprising.’

‘No.’ I put my glass down, unsure what on earth to say next.

‘The thing is, Krysztyna,’ said Lady Markham softly, so softly I could barely catch the words. It wasn’t like her to be shy at all. I leant forward, hanging on the words that dropped from her pristinely lipsticked mouth. ‘Marvellous as the dungeon club is, all the cloak-and-dagger creeping about round the back streets is such a bore. I constantly fear exposure. It would be disastrous for me, personally and professionally, if I were ever spotted. I’ve been thinking I probably shouldn’t go there any more.’

‘Oh. That’s a pity.’

‘There’s the wonderful Mr Collins and Mr Bryant, of course, but they are so difficult to pin down. And the preparations take so long. Sometimes one craves the experience too intensely to bear a long wait. I’m sure you know what I mean by that.’

‘I … do.’

‘I wondered if you … might … be amenable to a private arrangement.’

‘A private arrangement?’

‘I like to submit. You like to dominate.’ She shrugged, almost fearful of looking at me, it seemed.

‘Lady Markham!’

‘Oh, do call me Drusilla. Call me anything you like.’ She chuckled, a little desperately. ‘Bitch. Slut. Slave.’

It was only when my chest began to feel unbearably tight that I realised I had not drawn breath for a long time. Beautiful, über-sexy Lady Markham wanted to be my bitch. This could not be real.

‘Dare I hope …?’

‘I … am, well, I’m sorry, this is such a surprise.’ I laughed, a little hysterically. ‘A lovely surprise, please don’t look so sad! A lovely surprise, of course!’

‘Then you’ll consider it?’

I would have been mad not to, wouldn’t I?

I still clean my three houses. I clean for the new Redverses – known as the Blackleys, similar in profile but infinitely superior in manners. I still clean for Ms Livesay, but she has buckled down a little, acquired a boyfriend, and no longer leaves the flat in such a horrific state. Not since I threatened to quit, anyway. And, of course, I am Lady Markham’s domestic Dominatrix.

If she arrives home while I am cleaning, I often hand the trug of cleaning products over to her without a word, sit back on the sofa and watch as she sprays and scrubs in her expensive twinset, pearls crashing against the windows when she enthusiastically wipes them down. She seems to get a strange kick from the menial nature of it, though she has told me many times that she would hate doing housework if I weren’t there to watch and issue orders. It is one of her ultimate fantasies, apparently, to be made to submit to her cleaner.

Sometimes I only want her to take off my shoes and rub my feet or give me a massage. Sometimes we just sit and spoon and use fingers and tongues to take the edge off our longings. But when I am in the mood, she takes me to her secret playroom. I may dress her as a Roman slave or a schoolgirl; I may have her naked or trussed up to the neck in tight shiny restrictive rubber; I may whip her until she screams or I may tie her up and tease her until she gasps and begs for release. We do what I want – and what I want is always what she wants.

She has referred me to a City practice seeking a legal secretary – if everything works out, I may be able to resign from my cleaning jobs next month. Perhaps mother and I will be able to find a bigger, nicer flat. Perhaps I will find a proper girlfriend and live happily ever after. Even if I don’t, I have my Lady, and my Lady loves to be my tramp.

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