LONDON LEGEND HAD IT that the building had been, at various times, a church; a music hall; the headquarters of an occult secret society; a prison; an illegal drinking club. Now its upper floors functioned as a cutting edge arts space while the crypt – in which the ceremony was to take place – hosted a variety of events, including the monthly meetings of the city’s most exclusive sex club.
It was a beautiful, if rather chilly, almost intimidating place, Charlotte had thought when they had gone to inspect its suitability as a venue for the scene they had in mind. But then, given what was going to happen there, perhaps these were all good qualities.
Charlotte was so nervous her hands were shaking, so she was grateful for the help with her preparations.
‘You look stunning,’ Lady Markham assured her, retracting the mascara wand after the final waterproof layer. ‘You know they will think so too. Now, stand up, dear, and I’ll see to the finishing touches.’
The finishing touches involved rouge on the nipples and the labia, so it was a good thing Charlotte and the peeress had built up such a cordial relationship over the course of the last few months at the agency.
‘Why are you so nervous?’ scolded Lady Markham, smoothing gold-sheened oil all over Charlotte’s belly and breasts.
‘How many people are out there?’ she wondered.
‘Oh, scores, darling. I had the invitations printed by my stationer. I’m sure we ordered a hundred.’
‘A hundred? ’
‘Those boys have never done things by halves. This will be no exception. Goodness, dear, you’ve been their partner in crime all this time. Surely you know that!’
Charlotte wanted desperately to peek through the keyhole of this small anteroom off the main crypt and see if she could identify any of the guests, but that would probably ruin her eye make-up, and Lady Markham might reprove her poor etiquette.
‘How long have you known them?’ she asked, raising her arms obediently to facilitate Lady Markham’s full access to her body.
‘Most of my life, dear. Jeremy was my first lover.’
‘Bryant! No! Really?’
‘Yes! We do have rather a lot in common, Charlotte. At least one element of which must be obvious to you.’
‘Well. Yes. Did you … was it love? At the time?’
‘It was infatuation. More on my side than his.’ She sighed, and her hand slowed a little in its oiling. ‘Twenty years ago, darling. You were still at prep school.’
‘I didn’t go to prep school.’
‘You didn’t miss much. Anyway.’ She put her hands in a basin of water, ostensibly washing them, but also appearing to wash away the intrusive memory. ‘Jeremy and I have both moved on, as it were. I have a wonderful new mistress, and he … well, he has you. Could you spread your legs a little wider, dear? I can’t leave your thighs untouched, now, can I?’
‘I’m so glad it’s all worked out between you and Krysztyna,’ said Charlotte, smiling, a little ruefully. ‘It sounds like the perfect arrangement.’
‘Oh, it is, my dear. I think I might prevail upon her to move in permanently soon.’ Her long fingers with their oval polished nails massaged the oil into every crevice and cranny of Charlotte’s legs and thighs, until she shone golden from the noblewoman’s attentions. ‘I think you’ll do now. Hand me the corset.’
The corset was an underbust model, constructed of whaleboned satin with ribbon laces. Charlotte loved it and had chosen it herself, but she still could not help thinking that such a restrictive, ferocious item had no business being so delicately beautiful. She held her breath and kept her shoulders well back while Lady Markham pulled at the laces with such force it seemed for a moment like revenge. You’ve taken Bryant, you’ve taken Collins, now you can take this! But that was just paranoia, of course. ‘You’ll have to hang on to the door knob for all you’re worth,’ said Lady Markham through gritted teeth, and she pulled and tugged as if trying to rein in a runaway horse, finally succeeding in getting Charlotte’s waist to little more than the span of a large man’s hands.
‘I must admit,’ Lady Markham continued, picking up the gossamer silk stockings, ‘I’ve been to a few of these collaring ceremonies in my time, but never one like this. Never one submissive and two Dominants. It will be quite unusual. Lift up your right leg, dear, and I’ll put this stocking on you.’
Charlotte let her roll the tissue-thin silk up her calf toward her thigh, clipping it to the snaps that hung down from the corset.
‘Jago obviously loves you to death.’
Charlotte fought the urge to giggle, as she always did whenever she heard someone use Collins’s given name. She would never be able to call him it, she realised. Never. Ever. Disloyal and cruel though it made her feel, she found the name too absurd. He would be Collins, forever and always, to her.
‘Do you think so?’ she asked, trying to mute the sudden uprising of hysteria. She couldn’t laugh. It was just too uncomfortable in this corset.
‘I know so. To want someone so much he would actually share her … well. Even if it is with Jeremy, who is like his blood brother.’
‘Were you a punk too?’
‘Me? God, no. I did get into the New Romantic thing a bit though. There.’
The stockings were on, the hair sleeked back and held in a tight plait, both sets of lips crimson and hairless. ‘Sit down. I’ll do the shoes.’
Charlotte held out her feet, watching Lady Markham wrap the slender ankle straps round and round before buckling them firmly, imprisoning her feet in the criss-cross leather.
‘He really does love me? They both do?’ Charlotte’s words came out in an anxious tumble, a plea for reassurance.
‘Charlotte, who could not love you? Yes.’ She sat back on her heels and smiled, genuinely. ‘You’re a lucky girl. They will treat you like a goddess. A goddess who likes to be whipped, that is.’
Charlotte rose to four-inch-heeled feet, holding her arms out to the sides for a moment until she had found her centre of equilibrium and was able to remain still atop her towering footwear.
‘And you look like one too,’ said Lady Markham, stepping back with her hands clasped in appraisal. ‘A goddess.’
She was not looking so undeific herself, swathed in a white silk toga with gold adornments, including a wide band around her waist and a torque at her throat. Her sand-blonde hair was piled up and pinned in place by a plain gold tiara. She looked rather like a Roman version of Wonderwoman, Charlotte thought, and her legs, emerging from the abbreviated hem of the toga, were every bit as good.
‘Just the cloak then, and we’re set.’
Charlotte felt a dry fear grip her, and she cast about for something to delay the inevitable moment – an extra spritz of hairspray, a slick of lip-gloss, more oil for her calves. It was strange that she should feel this stage fright when she had been on display many times before, often in front of a crowd. This was different though. This meant something and, though there was no legal basis to it and it could be taken back any time, the weight of commitment hung about the ceremony.
A cloak of heavy satin, clasped at the collarbone, was placed about Charlotte’s shoulders. The fabric was cold and slick against her naked areas, pressing down on her shoulders. It slid deliciously over her uncovered buttocks and breasts, prompting the first prickly heat of arousal just as Lady Markham unlocked the chamber door and stood one step outside, indicating to the crowd that Charlotte was ready and the service could begin.
Hundreds of candles cast flickering shadows on the flagstone walls of the crypt, and the crowds of people who stood in knots around the vaulted room looked golden and glamorous, like dream representations of their real selves. Charlotte remembered to cross her arms across her chest and approach the far wall of the building with her eyes downcast. She was not meant to see her ‘grooms’ until their hands were upon her, so Lady Markham acted as her eyes, leading her along the aisle created by the dividing crowds.
Charlotte’s ears tried to pick out phrases from the murmuring that accompanied her slow path forward, but it all merged into a buzz, adding itself to the jangling of her nerves and the heady tingling of erotic anticipation that underlaid everything.
When Lady Markham drew to a halt in front of her, she felt a hand on each shoulder, urging her down, to kneel. Charlotte was heartened to find a velvet hassock placed on the cold flags, sparing her delicately-stockinged knees, and she risked a sneaky glance upward, where Collins and Bryant stood, seeming endlessly tall and dark-suited, their heads somewhere far above her.
Lady Markham, now established at the front of the hall, held up a hand for silence. It seemed that she was to conduct whatever proceedings were to follow, and indeed, London’s most famous submissive certainly seemed to command respect, for not a sound could be heard. Charlotte glanced sideways, and caught sight of a cushion, piled up with all kinds of remarkable things. She swallowed, clenched her thighs together, and found them wet. This was going to be a night to remember.
‘Ladies and gentlemen, masters, mistresses and slaves, tonight is a momentous night,’ intoned Lady Markham. ‘It has been my privilege to know Mr Collins and Mr Bryant for a number of years, and nobody could be more delighted than me to know that they have reached the end of their search for the perfect submissive. I hope you will join me in celebrating the Collaring of Charlotte. Today she enters into a covenant with her two masters, signalling the beginning of a wonderful journey into committed submission and all that it brings. She will be loved, cherished and mastered by two absolutely superior men, and they in turn will enjoy the devoted obedience of their bond servant. Charlotte, you may kiss the feet of each of your new owners.’
Charlotte turned instinctively to the right, placing her lips first on Collins’s highly polished brogue, then she repeated the process with Bryant.
‘Now I would like to hear Mr Collins and Mr Bryant repeat after me the vows they have personally created to best reflect their hopes and plans for Charlotte.’
Collins and Bryant spoke in perfect unison, echoing the words Lady Markham spoke next. They promised that they would give Charlotte everything she needed. They would demand her submission without ever hindering her growth. They would love and cherish her. They would devise strict rules and would strictly enforce discipline for any breach of them. They would be consistent, firm and fair. Well, not always fair. But consistent and firm. They would endeavour to provide an atmosphere of stability, harmony and peace where Charlotte could continue to flourish and enjoy her life. If they ever failed her, they would not prevent her from ending the contract.
And now it was Charlotte’s turn to speak. She lifted her face to Lady Markham’s and repeated the phrases in a clear, distinct voice. She owed it to her audience that they should be able to hear the terms of her surrender.
‘I, Charlotte Steele, promise my full and complete submission to Mr Collins and Mr Bryant. I will be honest about my needs, desires and ambitions. I will respect my masters, in thought, word and deed. I will be obedient in the bedroom, and tolerant outside of it. I will not refuse an order without a valid reason. I will give to them every part of myself, whenever and wherever it is required of me. If these vows ever become untenable, I will give fair warning of my intention to leave. I will wear my collar with pride and will work tirelessly at being the best submissive I can be.’
Of course, these were just the broad brush strokes of the contract. There were details, and devils in those details – many, many clauses and sub-clauses lurked on the parchment, in the copperplate hands of Mr Collins and Mr Bryant. Charlotte would be fenced in with duties and requirements, just as she had always dreamed of being. Her mode of dress, her daily timetable, even her personal grooming, would all be strictly controlled and subject to regular examination. They had sat up, night after night, thrashing out the new world order – sometimes literally thrashing it out – until the perfect compromise of submission and humanity had been established.
The vows exchanged, the ceremony moved on to what Lady Markham called ‘The Demonstration of Commitment’.
‘Mr Collins, would you place the collar on Charlotte.’
She had not known what the collar would look like, or be made of, so she was mildly surprised to feel the familiar rough underside of a common leather dog collar placed around her neck. A metal tag flapped its chill rim against the hollow of her throat; Charlotte could not see it, but she guessed there must be an inscription of some kind. She held her chin up while Mr Collins, behind her, fastened the buckle with care, making sure it was tight enough without being too tight. The leather was stiff and Charlotte was sorely tempted to put a hand up to it, to try and soften its hard edges. She had been half-expecting something fashioned from a precious metal, or something so subtle as to almost not be recognisable as a collar, but she realised that it was important to her masters that her position of subjection be blatant and clear to the world at large. She would not be allowed to conceal her submission, even on the bus or in the supermarket. It was a fact of her life. There was no lock, no key, just a buckle that she could undo at will, and this also struck her as symbolic. She had the freedom to uncollar herself. She was not a slave; the buckle was the mark of a woman who gave herself willingly, and could take herself away as soon as that will deviated from its current course. Collins and Bryant had no interest in being seen as throwbacks to the recent age of patriarchy – that would have offended them. She congratulated herself on having found such a pair of enlightened, intelligent sadists.
But now it was Bryant’s turn to place the ring on her finger and all pondering ceased under the weight of the heavy metal circle.
‘Remove her cloak, gentlemen, and commence the Endurance Ceremony.’
The satin poured off Charlotte’s shoulders, leaving them bare. Now the congregation would be able to see her pale flanks and bottom, her breasts spilling over the cage of the corset, nipples erect in the stone-walled cold.
Bryant took her chin and angled it up – at last, she was permitted to look at her newly-minted masters. She essayed a tentative smile, and then gasped with shock as Collins took a firm grip of one breast and applied a silver clover clamp to the nipple. Charlotte had never quite understood the appeal of these devices; her breasts were sensitive and the spring-loaded jaws of the clamps caused her to suck in her breath and use all her powers of mental displacement to pretend they weren’t there. Both Collins and Bryant loved the fierce, eye-rolling cast of concentration this gave to her face, and used them all the more for it, naturally. The first one fixed, its twin was pincered into place, causing Charlotte to vent an involuntary whimper of pain. She disappeared to the place inside her head that denied the sharp pressure and embraced the submission, letting her swimming eyes fixate on Bryant and his eternal indulgent smile.
He kept his finger beneath her chin when Collins placed a hand beneath her armpit and hauled her to her feet.
‘Let’s show you off,’ he said under his breath, spinning her round to face the crowd. ‘Ladies and gentlemen, may I present Miss Charlotte Steele, the possession and plaything of Mr Jeremy Bryant and Mr Collins.’ Charlotte, despite the burning heat that was now seeping into every fibre of her being, suppressed a grin at Collins’s avoidance of pronouncing his full name.
Bryant left her briefly, only to return with the velvet hassock under one arm and a solid wooden block under the other. He placed the block in front of Charlotte, and then set the hassock to its right hand side, indicating that she was to kneel and rest her stomach on the block, presenting a profile view of her upthrust bottom and dangling breasts to the appreciative crowd.
Charlotte did not need her wealth of experience to tell her what was coming next. The only thing she could not predict now was the duration and intensity of the whipping – and which of her masters would be first to flex his whip hand.
Collins opened the batting with a strap; a good, supple, well-oiled specimen that laid thick red stripes across the broadest section of her bottom, one after the other, sometimes overlaying each other, engendering a slow and inescapable burn that had her twitching rather more than she wanted to be, given the unpleasant consequences sudden movement had for her nipples.
As always when experiencing public chastisement, Charlotte gave herself up to it, gorging her psyche on the spectacle she must be making, opening herself up to the shame and humiliation, wishing that everybody in the whole world could be here to witness her reddening bottom and the telltale glisten between her thighs. She sometimes thought she would not be satisfied until her spread legs and roasted rump were advertised on billboards across the world, until she could not walk down the street without sly glances and pointed remarks about how much she needed everything she got. Charlotte let herself sink deeper and deeper into fantasy, imagining queues of people called upon to spank her and penetrate her with sex toys, imagining satellite broadcasts of her having her well-whipped bottom fucked by anyone who cared to pass by, while Collins plied the strap over and over again, its satisfying slap cracking out through the ancient crypt.
She was given a minute to catch her breath before Bryant stepped up with a French martinet. The effect was of a different type and magnitude; where the strap had been a relentless juggernaut of fire, the knotted ends of the flogger sent a multiplicity of stinging sparks across her skin in a way she found strikingly pleasant. She sighed and relaxed her muscles, pushing her bottom out, inviting a stronger swing, a faster swish, more and more of the little firework pops that lit her up.
The lashes stopped earlier than Charlotte had expected them to, and she felt Bryant’s hand swiping itself up between her legs, finding the sweet swell of her clit amongst the heat and wetness that surrounded it and giving it a shocking little pinch.
‘She’s so wet!’ he proclaimed to the crowd. ‘She’s loving it! Just as well – we aren’t done yet. But before we continue … an interlude.’ Bryant’s hand was replaced with a length of something cold and rubbery that stroked the inner side of her thighs, gathering up the dew from her skin. When it reached her ripe snatch, it began to vibrate with a low purr, sending its radiations through her, shockwaves and aftershocks, flowing from skin to nerve until her epicentre was pulsing in time with it.
She was moaning and gyrating on the instrument, the pain in her nipples and the fire on her backside forgotten now in the face of this deeper craving.
‘Oh, she wants it,’ chuckled Bryant, and he drew lazy circles around the opening of her cunt, watching it contract and spasm, trying to suck the rounded end of the vibrator inside. ‘She wants it badly. Should I let her have it? What do you think?’
To Charlotte, the echoing laughter and chatter of the crowd came from afar, like waves crashing on a beach, indistinct and fragmented outside the enormity of her lust.
The audience must have been on her side, for the next thing Charlotte was aware of was the thick round-ended baton travelling tantalisingly up inside her, sometimes stopping for a slow revolution, sometimes teasingly pulled out a fraction, until it was inside her, vrooming away, causing her walls to quake prior to the grand tumbling-down that would come soon, and then again, and again. ‘Hold it in, Charlotte,’ Bryant instructed, and she clamped her muscles down on the shaft, knowing that there would be a penalty if it slipped out of her. The vibrator ensconced, Bryant then fitted a moulded buzzer to her clit. Within seconds of its activation, she was begging to be allowed release.
‘No, permission is not granted,’ said Bryant and a sound of animal frustration howled from her mouth. Pain would be welcome now, and she tried to concentrate on her nipples, although they were almost numb from the ferocious grip of the clamps. Perhaps her bottom, but the heat soon subsided when she wasn’t being actively dealt with. No, she had nothing to think about but the maddening invasion of her cunt and clit, driving her to certain disobedience unless she could … unless she could …
Ah. Oh. Yes. Mercy. Collins had had mercy on her. An unusual definition of mercy, perhaps, for the form it took was a cane stroke. Its swift lightning strike almost caused her to lose the vibrator from within her, but she managed to keep suitably clenched even as she hissed out her surprise, tensing in preparation for that intense afterglow that made caning so memorable, and such a favourite recreation of hers. The little clit stimulator buzzed away merrily, but it was no match for the searing majesty of the rattan, and it was with warped gratitude that Charlotte breathed out the first count.
‘One, sir. Thank you, sir.’
The mob was closing in now, curious eyes feasting on her ritual humiliation. She kept her eyes closed and thought about breathing, about the patterns of breathing, about the way it filled her lungs and made her chest rise and fall. She visualised it every way she could, every trick in the book to take her mind off her constant bubbling-under of orgasm. Even the cane strokes weren’t taking the edge off now, but she was past the pain, flying towards the pleasure through the starry, foggy void of subspace. She belonged to Collins, belonged to Bryant, belonged to everybody, took this flogging and this exposure and this manipulation of her sex for everyone, for her own good, for the pleasure of anyone. She submitted.
‘I submit,’ she whispered under her breath before calling out, ‘Six! Six, sir! Thank you, sir,’ and then the permission was granted and she screamed, bucking and jingling, threatening to collapse on her side with the flogging block clutched to her middle while the climax continued to shred her body to ribbons.
Afterwards, she was so flaccid and drained she could have slept, but she knew there was more to come. She was glad of the respite afforded by her display: still bent over the flogging block with her thighs spread wide, she lay calm and still while every member of the audience paraded past her, allowed to lay a hand on her hotly striped rear and her still-drenched quim in tribute to her and her masters. This took a long time – Lady Markham had not exaggerated the guest numbers – so she had time to recover a little of her breath and a lot of her shame, sparking her arousal back into life as she contemplated her position, with the help of Collins and Bryant, who sat in her line of vision, sipping urbanely at glasses of champagne.
The finale of this section of the ceremony was provided by Charlotte, knees to the hassock once again, accepting Collins’s favourite plug into her stretched arse and having her wrists tied behind her back. Thus incapacitated, she was to drain first Bryant and then Collins of the masterful essences contained within them by sucking their cocks dry. This was difficult, as she knew, without the use of her hands, and she used every ounce of the suction skills she had learned under their tutelage, lapping at their balls and taking their shafts deep down beyond her mouth until they spurted the hot jets of salty liquid into her hardworking mouth.
She was spent now, jaw aching, eyes wet, nipples sore, bottom throbbing, cunt slick and vibrated into numbness, and her masters showed her to the crowd, who applauded her heartily while Collins and Bryant propped her up beneath her armpits in case she slid to the floor. They laid her tenderly on a low leather mattress while Lady Markham addressed some words about food and wine to the still-hooting crowd. Charlotte felt her nipples blaze back into life as the clips were removed, then submitted to the ever-hateful removal of the butt plug before her clit and cunt were also freed of their impositions. She was taken. She was owned. And there were witnesses. Perhaps even more than those here tonight, she thought, watching Dimitri’s camera zooming down for a close-up of her depleted body.
Collins cradled her head in his arm and kissed her, a long, slow smooch that only ended when Bryant rather querulously demanded his turn.
‘I think you need to eat,’ he observed once he too had sucked the nectar from her lips. ‘You’ve had quite a test there.’
‘Did I pass?’ she asked sleepily.
‘With flying colours,’ Collins chimed in. ‘Now, shall we?’ Taking one of her arms by the elbow, he yanked her to her feet, leaving her other arm to Bryant. Thus sandwiched between her two dark knights, Charlotte was escorted through the well-wishing sea to the distant shores of the dining tables, where she was to be toasted all night long.