DISCLAIMER: This is an original work, all copyright reserved, 2009.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is a story set in a BDSM bar. While you could technically say it doesn't have sex between women, you could also argue that it does. Yes, there is bdsm in it. If you don't know what those four letters stand for, you might want to find out first. This was edited for grammar and writing details, but no one has looked at it for me in terms of reality. I am not a member of the leather community. I've never witnessed a scene like this. If you are a member of the leather community, and I've made some terrible grievous error or even a minor one that bothers you, please let me know. I'm always looking to learn, so please don't be afraid to say something. Comments are always welcome. If you have something to criticize, please feel free to do so, as long as you do it constructively. If you just want to complain or bitch at me, please find something else to read.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Siren's Call
By Shadowriter


After an hour's drive, Jordan reached the edge of Long Island. Parking her bike in the employee lot, she took the elevator to the top floor of the building she worked and then climbed the utility staircase to the roof. With a sigh, she crossed the gravel surface to drop into her favorite thinking spot.

The lights of Manhattan seemed far away from here.

Jordan sat casually on the edge of the roof, one leg hanging over the side of the building. She pulled out a cigarette, but left it dangling from her fingers as she leaned against the large air conditioning unit. Staring out at the lights she tried to hide from her memories of what had happened that night.

Glancing at the cigarette, she knew she couldn't light it. Just like she couldn't forget, or go back.

The footsteps behind her were almost a pleasant distraction. She knew who it was before he spoke.


She grinned and waved at the night guard without looking. "Hey, Tony."

"What are you doin' here, girl? Don't you get enough of this place during the work day?"

"I don't work on the roof, Tony." She shook her head and pointed at the roof top. "That's work down there. This?" She waved at the sky and the city lights. "This is totally different. This is life."

The guard shook his head and squatted down next to her. "Known you four years and I never get you when you talk about life. You're not drunk or stoned, are you?"

A wry smile crossed the tanned face, and her short dark bangs fell into her eyes as Jordan shook her head. "Nah. Rode my bike here from the island. You know I don't drink much if I'm on the bike." She lifted the cigarette, as if to take a drag, and then stared at it. "I wish I was, though."

Tony watched his friend closely. They usually told him what was up with her, but tonight there was a new look, with an old haunt. "Xochilt showed up at the bar, huh?"

His question had been asked in a quiet voice, which made the volume of her laughter all that much louder. After a moment, it ended, and she sighed. "Am I that transparent, Tony?"

He shook his head. "Nah. I just had a feeling." Sighing, he shifted position and sat beside her. "So she showed up again. What'd you do? Run?"

She glared at him.

"Well, that's what you do, isn't it? She shows up at Sirens, you dump whatever chick you were talkin' up, and you hightail it outta  there." He took out his own lighter and cigarette. "Isn't that what you did?" Motioning with his hand, he offered her a light.

Jordan glanced absently at the white stick in her fingers and put it to her mouth. She leaned forward towards the flame, then pulled back and took the cigarette out from between her lips. "No, wait. I – ah, shit." With a grimace she tossed the object over the edge, not even watching as it fell.

Tony raised an eyebrow and glanced after the cigarette, as if it had left a vapor trail on its end flight. Looking back at his friend, he shook his head again. "Just don't try that with mine, okay?" He lit his and watched her. "So you gonna tell me what happened?"

She shrugged and stopped herself from leaning closer to breathe in his smoke. "You know what happened."

"Is that it?"

She shrugged again and didn't say anything.

"You don't usually end up on the roof. Usually you just go home and mope. What drove you up here tonight?"

The tiniest of real smiles crossed Jordan's face and was gone again. "Would you believe me if I said Xochilt got topped?"

The question was enough to freeze the big black man. "Huh?" She nodded to him. "The ultimate fucking top – got topped?"

Another nod, and a hint of hysterical laughter. "She sure did." Jordan sobered quickly. "She sure did."

"Well, damn, girlfriend. Why the fuck are you mopin' around instead of partyin'? 'Bout fuckin' time someone took that bitch down."

Jordan sighed and shifter her body, both long legs dangling above the pavement some twenty stories below. "You don't get it, Tony."

"What don't I get?"

"It – changes things." She shifted again, and Tony put an hand on her shoulder.

"Uh, Jordan, you're makin' me nervous. Move to this side of the ledge, would you?"

Rolling her eyes, the brunette did what she was asked. "Happy?"

"Put your butt on the gravel, not the cement, and I'll be happy."

"You mean, put the leather on these stones?" She brushed her hands down the leather pants she wore. "Not on your life, you rent-a-cop."

In one swift motion, he grabbed her legs and pulled until her rear end slid off the cement ledge and made contact with the gravel top. "Goddamn it, get your ass down here, and don't call me that, you 'ho."

"Boot boy."



"Rug muncher."

They glared at each other until Jordan raised an eyebrow. "Do you realize that everything except for 'ho and rent-a-cop is true?"

Tony nodded and took a drag. "It ain't an insult if it ain't true."

Both of them held straight faces for a moment more before busting out in laughter. It took them several moments to get hold of themselves. Just as they did so, Tony's radio squawked to life. He answered the call, saying he'd be down to the lobby after another sweep of the upper floors.

Jordan looked on as Tony stood and looked at his watch.

"Holy shit, almost four. Mornin' crew'll be showin' in an hour." His gaze returned to his friend. "Wanna get some breakfast with me when I get through?"

She shook her head and absently reached for her cigarette pack. "Nah. Gonna sit for a few more, then get moving." Staring at her lighter, she let a tiny smile pass her lips. "Got a little thinking to do."

Tony sighed, but nodded. "All right, if you want. Saturday fuckin' morning. Why the hell you like hangin' out up here when you don't have to work, I don't get." He shrugged. "Don't stay too much longer, okay? And keep your ass off the ledge."

With a smile and a wave, she watched him disappear back through the door to the stairs. Then she turned her eyes to the lights and let her mind turn back to the beginning of her evening.

For all its glamour and glitz, Manhattan had a definite seedy side to it. Part of that seediness was the nightclub called Sirens. Located behind and under a fancy restaurant, the entrance to the club was at the bottom of a staircase directly across an alley from the back door of a porn shop.

Although Sirens was owned by the same gay couple that ran the trendy restaurant upstairs, it catered to a completely different clientele. Simply put, Sirens was a leather bar. Women from across the city came to the club, dressed in their finest fetish gear, all looking for something they only dared to name when the lights of the city burned bright.

The sweet voice of Tori Amos greeted Jordan as she entered, and she mouthed the words to "Sweet Sangria" as she craned her neck to look toward the dj booth. Sure enough, it was Tammy, who was a Tori freak. Jordan smiled, knowing that some of her best scenes had been accompanied by Tori's smooth croon.

Most of the regulars that she knew were already at their accustomed places. Chevy was at the pool table with her crew, wearing jeans and a denim jacket; she always said it was the leather scene she loved, not the leather.

Magnum was leaning against the bar, her favorite sub Terence right beside her. Magnum was an investment realtor during the day, she knew, but at night she was a top in full black leather regalia. Terence, also dressed in full gear, was subservient only to Magnum. The two of them had been together for as long as Jordan had known them; they loved to add a third person to their scenes.

Near the far wall, sitting at a table with two subs already positioned at her feet, was the queen of the Victorian discipline scene. Elly was dressed in a dark silk suit with a real top hat on the table beside her. The birch walking stick that leaned against the table, within easy reach of one elegant hand, wasn't just for show; Elly was as good with that carved instrument as Jordan was with the cat that hung from her belt.

With a nod at a few of the other regulars she knew, Jordan made her way to the bar. Cleo was on duty tonight, and grinned at Jordan, leaning forward to show off her cleavage. "What are you in the mood for, Jordan? Or can I call you Mistress tonight?"

Raising an eyebrow and glancing appreciatively at the displayed flesh, Jordan laid a twenty on the bar. "Two fingers of Jameson's, neat. Thought you were with Chevy last week."

The blond bartender shrugged and slapped a glass onto the wooden bar. "I was. It was good." She poured the whiskey and winked at Jordan. "But that was last week. And besides – she's not you." With a wink, she added an extra finger of liquor to the glass before sliding the drink towards her customer.

With a smile, Jordan slid the bill towards Cleo. "Keep it. I'll want another later."

"Yes, Mistress." Another wink as Cleo palmed the twenty and turned aside to deal with another customer.

Jordan couldn't help but chuckle as she turned from the bar. Cleo was hers for the taking tonight, but she wanted to see what else would turn up first.

Leaning against a pillar, she took a better look around the club to see what her options were tonight. She considered and discarded several young women who were obviously there just to say they'd been to a leather bar. You could always tell the type; they stayed in a group, drank champagne or some kind of mixed drinks, and would get giggly if anyone actually made eye contact. This current group was whispering among themselves and looking nervously towards the stage. Jordan doubted that they'd even make it to the eleven o'clock floor show. It was only ten-twenty, but usually the 'gigglers', as she called them, disappeared when someone actually took the stage.

As she scanned the rest of the women in the bar, Jordan noticed what she'd missed earlier. Tucked away in a back corner table sat Tash, her blond hair shining softly even in the low lights of the bar. Jordan sipped from her drink and studied the other woman.

Like Jordan, Kelly Tasher was a top. Yet she was also completely unlike any other top that Jordan had ever known. Chevy was all sweet talk and hand spanking. Magnum was rough language and lots of pain. Elly was elegance and discipline with a touch of theatre thrown in.

But Tash was all cool, calm control. Discipline when needed, pain as a method of focus, sensation as arousal. Jordan had watched the woman do a few public scenes, and she'd noticed something. While most of the other tops were loud and brash on stage, showing their control over their subs through flash and volume, Tash wasn't. Tash never yelled. She never threatened. She gave quiet warnings and backed them up with a strong whip arm. But Jordan had never heard her raise her voice, had never seen her lose any of the cool control she projected at all times.

Sometimes it irritated her. And at other times she found herself wanting to feel that calm control.

There had been a night, a couple of months earlier, when they'd both been on the verge of drunkenness. Jordan had come to the bar just for fun that night, and she and Tash had shared some beers and laughs, with others and just the two of them.

At one point in the evening, as Tash was about to go for another round, she stopped and looked at Jordan. After a moment she leaned down and whispered in the darker woman's ear.

"You need my whip, Jordan. When you're ready, come to me."

With that she headed off to the bar.

Jordan had been frozen in her chair, her intoxication and sudden fear preventing her from reacting in any other way. When Tash returned she didn't bring the subject up again, and Jordan had chosen to ignore it.

But she couldn't forget. Sometimes, in the darkest part of the night, when the high from a scene had dissipated and she was left alone in her bed with only her memories and her Marlboros, Tash's words would echo in her ear. For that moment she'd imagine what it would be like, to be caught in that web of control, to let Tash have her way and swing her whip.

With the coming of first light, however, those images would flee, and all that was left was her fear.

Shaking her head and trying to put the blond out of her mind, Jordan scanned the crowd again, watching for that one person who would catch her attention. She finally found her at a table not far from Tash's.

The brown haired woman was seated with a group, but didn't appear to be participating in the conversation. Her chair was pushed back from the table, one booted foot crossed over a denim covered thigh. Every few minutes she'd sip from the beer she held while scanning the room, as if looking for something or someone.

Jordan kept her gaze on the woman and let a light smile play across her lips. Eventually the woman noticed her attention and she hesitated before taking another sip of beer and continuing her perusal of the bar. Another heartbeat and her eyes lifted to meet Jordan's again, this time with nervous anticipation in them.

Knowing that the game was just beginning, Jordan waited another moment, then deliberately looked away. She could feel the woman's eyes still on her, and she knew chances were good that she'd be taking her home tonight.

But not yet. They were just getting started.

Feeling another set of eyes on her, she glanced around and found Tash watching her with a smile on her face. The blonde glanced at the woman Jordan was toying with, then smiled and nodded. She pushed out a chair with her boot, an invitation to join her while Jordan let her quarry simmer.

With one more glance at the brown haired woman, Jordan moved toward the offered seat, a touch of swagger in her step.

"Tash. Good to see you."

"Jordan. Glad you're here. How've you been?"

"Good." She noticed Tash's drink was nearly empty, and she nodded at it. "Can I get you another?"

The blond shook her head. "No, thanks. I'm about to switch to ice water."

"You driving or -- hunting?"

Tash laughed, her voice light and soft. "I think I'll leave the hunting to you tonight. You just walked in and you've got someone on the hook."

"You're mixing your metaphors, Tash."

"Sorry. You do have a good eye, though." Tash nodded toward the woman Jordan had been watching. "She's got just enough of a vulnerable look to be alluring."

Jordan smiled and shrugged just a little. "Jealous that I got to her first?"

The blond shook her head. "Not really. I'm not in the mood for someone like her tonight."

"Who are you in the mood for?"

Tash's smile softened, and there was a decided glint in her eye. "Maybe someone like you."

Jordan nearly choked on the whiskey she'd just swallowed. She coughed and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. She didn't even try to look at Tash, almost afraid of what she'd see.

Or what she'd say.

Tash laughed softly. "Sorry. Didn't mean to startle you, Jordan."

"Yeah, well." The taller woman shrugged again and took another sip of her drink. It was a stall and she knew it. "One day you'll get the concept of top and bottom, Tash."

"Oh, I get it, Jordan." She grinned and tossed back what was left of her drink. "I just don't always accept it."

"Well, you should."


"Because that's the way some people are. They're either, or. And you can't force them to change."

Tash shook her head. "I don't think that's true. You can force anyone to change. But that's not what a true top does. There is no force involved. You know that."

Jordan nodded, but didn't look at her.

Blue eyes watched her carefully, a thoughtful look in them. "But you were forced, weren't you?"

Jordan's face tightened, the muscles in her jaw standing out. "I don't know what you're talking about."

"I know about Xochilt. About what she did to you."

Suddenly there wasn't enough whiskey in Jordan's glass. She wondered idly if there was enough Jamison's in the bar to make her forget.

"She changed you. Forced you to change your very nature in order to survive."

"Shut up, Tash."

"You need to deal with it, Jordan."

"What I need," the darker woman stressed the word, "is another drink, and to fuck someone." She finished her glass and stood. "Nice talkin' to you, Tash."

"Better collect your prey and get out of here, Jordan."

"Why's that? You thinking of joining the hunt?"

The blond top shook her head and pointed toward the bar. Jordan turned to see the one person she dreaded running into. Xochilt was there, talking to Cleo, reaching across the bar to caress the woman's cheek.

"Isn't this where you normally run?"

Jordan couldn't even deny it.

But instead, she sat back down and waved at Georgia, the one and only waitress in the bar that night. Within a few minutes the waitress had gotten Jordan another Jamison's, and the dark haired woman was calming down. Tash had stayed quiet, but Jordan could feel the blonde's eyes still watching her. She turned away, glancing over to the last place she saw her prey.

"Looked at the bar?"

Jordan gritted her teeth. "Don't care what she's doing."

"You might. She's talking to your quarry."

A quick turn of her head confirmed Tash's statement, and Jordan sighed. "Fine. There are other women."

"Other fish in the sea, yes indeed." Tash's voice was slightly teasing before getting serious again. "Or you could fight for her. Give the girl a choice."

"Right." Jordan shook her head.

Tash sighed. "Why do you put up with it, Jordan?"

"Put up with what?"

"She stole your power. And she continues to do it, and she's been doing it for so long that you just let her."

"I don't let her do anything."

"Then why do you always run away from her?"

"I don't." Jordan spread her hands out. "See me not running?"

"Yeah. I also see you hiding."

"Fuck you, Tash."

"Not until I fuck you first."

Jordan raised her head in surprise at that. "I -- I didn't think --"

"What? There's no sex in my public scenes, so you didn't think there would be in private?"

"No. There's no sex in anyone's public scenes, at least not here."


"So, I just -- I didn't know you -- felt --" She stopped and shrugged. "Never mind."

Tash shook her head but let it go for the moment. They were both quiet, Jordan sipping her whiskey and Tash crunching ice from her glass of water. Jordan tried not to look toward the bar area, but Tash was keenly watching the seduction of Jordan's former prey.

"She does have a way about her. And she's a little exotic looking. I can see why you fell for her."

"I didn't, and I don't want to talk about it."

"I didn't ask you to talk. Merely making an observation is all."

"Uh-huh." The tension was making Jordan fidget, and she finally decided she needed a cigarette. Eying the distance to the back porch, she wondered if she could make it without being seen.

Tash noticed the path of Jordan's gaze. "Don't, Jordan. I don't like the smell of cigarettes."

"Then don't come with me."

The blond rolled her eyes but stood when Jordan did. She followed the taller woman, noticing her steps were more hurried than usual. As they went through the patio door, Tash risked a look back. She winced when she saw Xochilt's head turned in their direction. For a moment she wondered if she should have let Jordan make good her escape before the other domme had noticed. Then she shook her head. This was a confrontation that needed to happen.

In more ways than one.

She watched while Jordan lit her Marlboro, then wrinkled her nose as she fanned away the fumes. "You shouldn't smoke, Jordan."

"Why the hell not?" The tall woman took a deep drag and exhaled out of the corner of her mouth. "I don't do drugs, I don't drink to excess, I don't steal, and I even stay close to the goddamn speed limit. Leave me one goddamn vice, okay?"

"You mean besides indiscriminate sex?"

Jordan laughed. "I can be very discriminating in my choices, Tash." She flicked the ashes from the tip of her cigarette. "I haven't slept with you, have I?"

"Not yet."

All Jordan could do was roll her eyes and turn away. She was quiet for a minute, keeping her back to Tash. The blond let the silence stand, her calmness bleeding across the empty air between them.

"Do you think she saw me?"

Tash sighed, knowing exactly who Jordan was referring to. "Yeah, she did."

"Shit." Another long drag and a heavy exhale that ended in a sigh. "I should have stayed home tonight."

"Jordan -- you need to face her."

"You don't know anything, Tash."

"I know it eats inside you. I know it's made you hard - so hard you're brittle. One good blow and you'll shatter."

Jordan laughed and stabbed out her cigarette against the wall. "And you think facing her is going to fix me, huh?"

"Not fix you. You're not broken. But it will make you stronger."

"So, I'm weak, huh, and anything that doesn't kill you will make you stronger, isn't that the cliché?"

"I don't care about cliché's or generalities. I care about you." Tash's simple statement was enough to make Jordan turn to face her. Taking advantage of the taller woman's surprise, Tash stepped closer, right into Jordan's space, until the other top was pressed up against the wall, her eyes wide. "She twisted you up inside, Jordan. She made you think that you can't show your own vulnerabilities, that you can't be you. To please her, you became that wall behind you, stone and brick. And it wasn't enough." Leaning even closer, Tash put her hands on either side of her friend's head, lowering her voice.

"She took your power, Jordan."

The brunette's eyes closed and her head dropped a little. "It was consensual, Tash."

"It stopped being consensual when she gagged you."

Jordan winced and lowered her head a little more, her shoulders drooping. "I told her she could."

"I know." Tash's voices was soft, but firm. "Jordan, look at me."

Raising her chin, Jordan opened her eyes. She managed to hold Tash's gaze a moment before looking away again.

"I said, look at me." Tash waited until her friend's eyes met hers again. "Why did you agree to be gagged?"

"I -" Her gaze lowered again, but Tash grabbed her chin and forced her head back up. "Look at me and tell me. Why?"

"She said . . . Xochilt said . . . it would show that I trusted her."

"Did you?"

Jordan swallowed. "No."

"Then why did you agree?"

"Because she said if I didn't . . . she wouldn't . . ."

Tash nodded. "She threatened to break it off. Do it her way or you don't get what you need. Isn't that right?" The blond cocked her head to the side. "Is that what you do, Jordan? Threaten your subs? Blackmail them?"

Anger flashed in the brunette's eyes. "No. I would never do that."

Another nod and a smile from Tash. "That's right. Because you know better than to take someone's power." The hand holding Jordan's chin moved to the side of her face, stroking it with the backs of Tash's fingers.

"Power taken is power stolen. It breaks you down, changes you, makes you feel weak. It can even turn you away from yourself, make you doubt what you need, what you want, what you are." She shifted her hand once more, cupping Jordan's cheek in her palm. "Power given is power shared. And the sharing of power is like a joining. It builds you, strengthens you. Gives you the ability to see and know yourself. It gives you a foundation from which you can grow." Tash moved forward a few more inches, letting Jordan feel the touch of her body. "It heals, Jordan. It can heal the wounds inside you, bring you back to who you are."

She held her position a moment longer, searching Jordan's eyes. Slowly, but with confidence, she leaned in and kissed the taller woman, gently but firmly urging Jordan's lips to part, before fully claiming her mouth.

When the kiss ended, Jordan stood still, her eyes closed and her breach coming in quiet gasps. Her body was tingling, both from the feel of Tash leaning against her, and from the power of the blonde's kiss.

A very large part of her mind was screaming in her ear to run and run fast. There was a tremor in her stomach that had nothing to do with the kiss and everything to do with her fear.

But she could feel desire as well, and its seductive song held her in place even though Tash was no longer touching her.

She opened her eyes to see the blonde standing just a foot away, her hands in her back pockets, a gentle smile on her face.

Jordan cleared her throat and turned her face away. After a deep breath, she reached for her pack of smokes. Tash put a hand on hers and shook her head.

"Don't. Nicotine is a drug, and like all other drugs, it dulls your emotions, separates you from them so you can't feel. It's the same as running." Her gaze turned serious. "It's time to stop running, Jordan."

After a moment, Jordan left the pack in her pocket. She ran her hands through her dark hair and sighed. "Do you know what she did?"

Tash nodded. "She took you to Trab's bar and topped you. Humiliated you. Made you crawl. And once you had, she walked away from you. I heard."

Jordan squeezed her eyes shut. "Didn't know you knew anyone from there."

"Everyone knows someone from Trab's. Besides, word gets around." Tash moved closer to the wall and leaned against it, still facing her friend. "Magnum was there that night."

"She was?" The brunette's eyes widened before she looked quickly away. "She never said . . ."

"Why should she? You made it clear you didn't want to talk about it."

"What's to talk about? And why would Magnum want to hear it anyway?"

"Do you think you're the first one who's ever been humiliated? Or even the first to have been humiliated by Xochilt?"

"Well, no, but --" She stopped as the thought hit her. "Magnum?"

Tash nodded.

"Oh, no. Not a chance. I mean, have you really seen her? She's --"

"Had to put up with a lot. Had to learn a lot." The blond shook her head. "Look, most tops put in some time as bottoms. You did. Otherwise, they don't have any understanding of what their subs go through, and they could easily go too far in a scene."

Jordan shrugged and snorted. "Xochilt didn't."

Tash nodded, soberly. "I know. That's why she doesn't top people -- she breaks them." She took a deep breath. "And someone should show her the difference."

"Right. Like that's going to happen in my lifetime." Jordan took her lighter out and flicked it absently.

The blond looked at her closely. "You don't believe it can happen?" She crossed her arms and tilted her head. "Anyone can be broken, Jordan." Another shrug was her only reply. Tash sighed. "Well. We'll just have to see if I can't change your mind." Reaching out, she took the lighter away from the brunette and turned to head inside. "Coming?"

By the time Jordan realized that Tash was leaving, the door was already half closed behind her. With a curse, Jordan practically ran to catch the door before it slammed. She slipped inside, spotting Tash scanning the room. "Tash, what are you doing?"

The blond turned toward her for just a moment, and even in the vague shadows of the bar, Jordan saw her wink seductively. Then she was moving across the floor in fluid strides, purpose in her step.

Moving towards the one person Jordan didn't want to see.

Tash took up a position just down the bar from the darker top. Xochilt was sprawled in her chair, a young woman on her knees in front of her. Jordan winced when she noticed it was the woman she'd earlier planned on taking home. The young woman's shirt was already open and her hands were bound behind her. Her face was still wet with tears and one could see the red outline of a hand on her cheek.

It took only a few seconds for Xochilt to turn and notice Tash and her obviously belligerent stance. The blond had ordered a drink and was watching the darker top with a derisive grin.

"Something on your mind, Tash?"

Tash nodded, and her smile turned more seductive. "You."

Jordan groaned and turned away.

Xochilt raised an eyebrow and grinned, rising with confidence. She ignored the young woman still waiting at her feet and approached Tash.

"Been thinking about me, have you?"

"Yes." Tash motioned to Cleo for another drink and waited. Xochilt, obviously intrigued, took a seat next to her. The blonde top felt like rolling her eyes when she realized the other woman had left her conquest still kneeling on the floor.

"Been wanting my attention?"

With a laugh, Tash shook her head. "You are arrogant, aren't you." It wasn't a question.

"It's not arrogance. It's confidence. You should know the difference."

"A little too confident." When her drink was delivered, Tash met Cleo's gaze. Motioning with only her eyes, she drew the bartender's attention to where the girl waited. After a glance at Xochilt, Cleo nodded to Tash. Moments later she was helping the girl up from the floor.

"You never answered my question, Tash. Looking for a little attention?"

Tash's smile was gentle, but confident. "Are you?"

Xochilt laughed. "More like looking to give some." She picked up her own drink. "I'd heard that you sometimes get dommes and subs confused, Tash. Tops top. Bottoms take what a top dishes. That's it." With a shrug, she sipped and waited.

The blonde's smile never faltered. "See, that's what bothers me about this place sometimes. Everything's so rigid." With a shrug of her own, she met Xochilt's eyes. "I like it when things are a little more . . . fluid."

"Fluid." The red head did roll her eyes. "Next you'll be telling me you believe that bull about the bottom truly controlling the scene." She threw her drink back and signaled for another without even looking. Cleo's fellow bartender obliged. "A true top controls the scene. The bottom adapts, not the top. You have to be strong, Tash. Not . . . fluid." Xochilt said the last word in a sarcastic voice, the look on her face matching her tone.

Tash narrowed her eyes in thought. "Did you know that a green board is stronger than a dried one?"

Confusion showed on Xochilt's face. "What are you talking about?"

"Well, a green board is one that's just been cut from a living tree. It contains a lot of moisture, while a dried board is, well, dry. And while a green board is easier to mold into a shape, like for a guitar, it's also stronger than a dried board."

"Uh-huh." Sipping from her drink, Xochilt watched the blonde top. "And this is important, why?"

"Well, it's important in any discussion of strength. You said a top has to be strong, but not fluid. And I say there is no strength without fluidity. Without the ability to adapt, to change the scene to the needs of those involved, there is no strength in either top or bottom." She shrugged a little. "I can make the analogy with leather if you want."

"That's wood and leather."

"It applies to people as well, Xochilt. And dommes especially." For the first time in the discussion, she shifted position. "Look, I can prove it if you want."

"Oh, really. And how do you propose to do that?"

Tash realized she'd have to be careful reeling the other domme into the trap. "A contest of strength. Between you and I."

Xochilt raised an eyebrow. "What -- you want to arm wrestle or something?"

Laughing, Tash shook her head. "Maybe another time. I'm not worried about arm strength; I've seen you swing your whip." She took a last sip from her drink and pushed it away. "But I've never seen you take a whip. And that's what I'm talking about. Can you? Can you take a flogging without breaking? Are you strong enough to accept what you can dish out?"

Xochilt looked sharply up at this. "I'm not a bottom, Tash."

"Neither am I, but I can take a lash. I know that I won't break." She cocked her head to the side. "Can you say the same?"

"Why would I want to do that?" The expression on Xochilt's face was cold. "Tops top, Tash. I swing the whip. Why should I bottom for you?"

Again, Tash gentled her expression and smiled. "I'm not asking you to bottom for me. I just want to see this great strength of yours." She toyed with her glass. "If you show me yours, I'll show you mine." Knowing it was a corny line, her grin turned coy, and she glanced up at her fellow top to see if it had worked.

It had.

Xochilt laughed. "A contest is it?"


"And how do I win this contest?"

The blond head tilted again. "You just have to outlast me."

"And what do I win?"

"Winner gets to top the loser -- in public."

The red head raised an eyebrow as she watched the blonde's expression. She felt a flash of indecision, but the confidence in the other top's smile made her want to wipe away the hint of arrogance she found there. After a moment she nodded slowly. "Fine. A contest of strength. And how do you propose we do this? Whip each other till one of us yells uncle?"

Careful not to show the triumph she felt inside, Tash shrugged. "Something like that."

After initially turning away Jordan let her curiosity get the better of her. She found an empty bar stool and moved it against the back wall, hooking one booted foot on the rung as she sat down. Then she watched the other two tops. Their voices had lowered, so she couldn't hear the conversation, but that was okay. After bottoming for two years for Xochilt she knew the woman's body language well enough to see annoyance in the dipping of one shoulder, which turned to interest as her back straightened. Then came surprise as her shoulders came back and her heels came off the floor, and finally curiosity as her arms crossed and her head tilted. Jordan didn't even have to see her face to know the expression she would have.

Knowing Xochilt the way she did, she wasn't surprised that the girl had been left in position on the floor. Jordan noticed the unspoken command from Tash to Cleo, and watched the bartender help the girl to a bar stool at the end of the counter, far away from the two discussing tops. The fact that Xochilt either didn't notice or didn't care was something Jordan had expected.

Tash, on the other hand, was somewhat of a mystery. She was turned to face the taller top, giving Jordan a clear view of her face and eyes, yet there was little hint to what she was feeling. She'd turned in her seat, her right arm on the bar and her weight leaning to that side. Her left hand rested negligently over the back of the bar stool, giving Tash the appearance of being at ease. She didn't fidget, or drum her fingers, and when she sipped her from her drink, her hand became still again afterwards.

Xochilt's hands were never still. Jordan watch the redhead's fingers as they ran circles around the top of her drink, then drummed silently on her own thigh, before slowly stroking her chin in contemplation.

Then Tash was smiling a coy smile, and Xochilt was nodding. Another minute and Xochilt turned to call Cleo, who went scurrying back to the bar. Tash used that moment to catch Jordan's eye and wink.

Jordan gave her a hesitant smile.

Cleo left the bar to carry out her instructions. Soon, Elly, Chevy, and Magnum had gathered with Tash and Xochilt. Jordan felt a little embarrassed as she realized that she was the only heavy top in the bar that had been excluded. It made sense, when she thought about it, but it still made her feel a little depressed, like she was being purposely excluded.

When Xochilt glanced towards her, Jordan swallowed hard. But Tash smiled and shook her head, then met the dark woman's gaze. She appeared to give the redhead an explanation, which made Xochilt shrug. The taller top turned her attention from Jordan, but Tash held the gaze a moment or two longer before turning to the other women surrounding her.

Not knowing whether to be upset or not, Jordan felt a small sense of relief pass through her. With no idea what was happening, she could only sit and wait.

"Does everyone understand?" Tash looked each of her fellow tops in the face. Each of them nodded, serious expressions on their faces. Elly, her top hat and cane in hand, shifted her gaze from Tash to Xochilt. Tash turned to look the redhead in the eye. "Xochilt? Any questions?"

The taller top glanced back toward Jordan, a half smirk on her face. "I'm surprised you didn't invite your little pet along."

The blonde smiled, her gaze drifting toward the dark woman watching at the back of the club. "There are many lessons to be learned tonight, and Jordan's is just as important. But hers will come later." She captured and held Jordan's attention, then looked back at Xochilt. "Do you have any other questions, or is the contest acceptable?"

Xochilt raised an eyebrow, but after a moment she nodded. "I accept your challenge, Tash. Are you sure you're up to it?" She crossed her arms over her chest. "I can't wait to correct your attitude and teach you the truth about tops."

"And what is that truth, Xochilt?" Tash let herself smile at the other woman's arrogance. "That everyone who bottoms is strictly a bottom and you're the only top out there?" The smile became a grin. "Everyone has a bottom inside them somewhere. Let's go find yours."

Elly raised her eyebrows and motioned toward the stage. "Ladies?"

The redhead rolled her eyes, but followed Elly's pointing cane.

Chevy and Magnum had already set up for the contest. Two spreader bars, wrist cuffs attached on either end, had been hung from the overhead beams that covered the stage. Ankle restraints had been set out next to the eye bolts that protruded from the floor. When secured, the two contestants would be spread eagled, facing each other.

Tash let the others get a few steps ahead of her, then motioned to Cleo, who stepped over quickly.

"Is the girl okay?"

The bartender nodded. "Her name's Kelly, and she's confused as hell."

"Take her over to Jordan. Tell Jordan I said she's to take care of the girl, but no one tops Kelly tonight. There's going to be too much energy flying for a novice to get involved."

Another nod, then Cleo headed back to the bar and Tash moved on to the stage.

It seemed to Jordan that the whole bar had collectively inhaled, but not exhaled, as preparations began on the stage. When Tash and Xochilt began disrobing, the inhalation became a gasp, one that she shared with all the other patrons.

She did have enough sense to note the gigglers were quickly heading to the exit, and a small part of her smiled.

The rest of the audience was focused on the stage where the two tops, now dressed only in their underwear and bras, were being secured to the cuffs. When Magnum stepped forward to place a collar around each of their throats, Jordan let her mouth hang open. She knew the collars were a safety precaution during a whipping, but the sight of her former tormenter wearing one made her stomach jump. She couldn't tell if it was from fear or from excitement.

Xochilt glared at Magnum. "Is the collar really necessary?"

The leather wearing top just grinned. "I know you only make slaves wear them to remind them where they belong, but this is a safety collar. Chevy swings a mean whip, and I wouldn't want her to wrap it around your throat and do any damage."

The blonde bit her lip to keep from smiling as Xochilt rolled her eyes and submitted to having the wide leather collar buckled around her neck. When Magnum stepped over to put one on her, Tash couldn't resist smiling and winking. Magnum's grin and wink back were her signs of support for the blonde top.

Jordan was surprised to see Cleo approaching her, towing behind her Xochilt's earlier prey. Remembering her own desire to take the girl for the night, she felt a little embarrassed as the bartender tugged the young woman in front of her.

"Mistress Jordan, this is Kelly. Kelly, this is Mistress Jordan." As an aside to the novice, she said just loud enough for Jordan to hear, "She's a domme, so remember your manners." The girl flushed, but nodded. Her gaze turned toward Jordan, but never made it to her eyes.

Cleo leaned over and whispered in Jordan's ear. "Mistress Tash told me to bring her to you. You're to watch over her, but no one's to top her. Tash says there's too much energy in here tonight."

The dark top nodded, her eyes taking in the frightened stance of the young woman and the nervous way her eyes kept darting to the stage. "I'll take care of her. Thanks, Cleo."

The bartender lowered her head, then gave the girl a hug before heading back to the bar.

Jordan pulled over another chair and motioned for Kelly to sit in front of her. The girl hung back a moment, looking worried. After a moment, Jordan reached out and took her hand.

"It's okay. I'm not going to do anything. No cuffs, no slapping, nothing. Just sit here. Trust me, Kelly. You'll be fine."

Her shoulders hunched, but she slowly edged up to the chair, facing Jordan. Her entire demeanor reminded the top of a frightened rabbit, and Jordan imagined she could see the girl's heart beating frantically in her chest.

"No, don't face me. Just sit." She pushed the chair a little farther away and patted the seat. "Face the stage."

Kelly turned around and straddled the seat backwards. The tension in her was obvious, and she flinched as Jordan pulled the chair closer to her own and placed a hand on the girl's shoulder.

"Easy. It's all right." She rubbed the girl's back gently. "Hell of a night already, huh?" Kelly nodded. "Well, it's gonna get kind of interesting. But no one will hurt you. I'll watch over you. You can ask questions and talk to me if you want."

On the stage, the preparations appeared to be finished. Xochilt and Tash had been restrained by both ankle and wrist, facing each other. Jordan estimated that there was less than two feet separating the two tops. Magnum had stepped aside, but was still on the stage. Chevy had unclipped her whip and stepped behind Xochilt. Elly was approaching the microphone.

The voice was so soft Jordan barely heard it.

"What's happening?"

She leaned forward and whispered in Kelly's ear. "I don't know, but I think we're about to be told. Let's see what's up."

Elly made sure the microphone was on and cleared her throat. As she spoke, her very slight English accent came through.

"Ladies, a good evening to you all. We have an especially wonderful treat for you this night. There has been a challenge issued and accepted. The lovely Mistress Tash," she motioned toward the blonde domme, "has issued a challenge of strength to the ever so delicious Mistress Xochilt, who has accepted." There was a definite buzz throughout the room and she paused a moment to let it die down. "The terms, as agreed upon by both ladies, are these: The contest is to see who can outlast the other. Winner will top the loser publicly at a scene to be performed in the future at Trab's bar. There is no safe word, and the only way for the contest to end is for one of our contestants to call for mercy. At that point she becomes the loser, and the challenge is over."

Again there was a rise in conversation, only for it to lower again as Elly lifted her hand. "Each of our dommes will receive constant punishment by either myself or the wonderful Chevy; Chevy will use her whip and I will wield my cane-" Someone yelped in the audience and Elly smiled. "Yes, it's nice to see you too, dear." There was laughter for a moment. "As I was saying, I will use my cane for the first set, and then switch to my wooden paddle. Every twenty strokes, Chevy and I will switch positions, thereby being certain neither contestant receives too much of a good thing."

She motioned for Magnum to step forward. The leather dyke did, her arms folded across her chest, creating an imposing figure.

"Every contest needs a judge, and ours will be the oh, so charming Magnum. Her job will be to guarantee fair treatment for both of our ladies, and to confirm the end of the contest. Any breaks in the competition will be called by Magnum solely for the purpose of checking the health of everyone involved." This was something she and Chevy were both grateful to Tash for remembering. Everyone knew the people receiving punishment would be in need of attention, but most people forgot that the top could be just as exhausted.

"Magnum, I believe all the participants are in place and we are ready?"

Leaning in toward the microphone, Magnum nodded. "We're just waiting for you, Mistress Elly."

Elly beamed. "Then let the punishment begin." She placed the microphone back on the stand and moved it aside. Removing her black coat, tail and all, she took up her cane and bowed to the audience, and then to Magnum, who took one last look at both contestants, and then at each participant.


As the first strokes fell, Jordan felt Kelly jump. She squeezed the shoulder gently, and let her other hand brush through the girl's hair. "It's all right, Kelly. There's no need to be afraid."

Kelly turned her head as far as she could without taking her eyes off the scene. "Is . . . is this . . . happening because of me?"

Jordan smiled, but shook her head. Kelly had been rescued from Xochilt's clutches by Tash's perfectly timed challenge, but the dark top knew it hadn't been the blonde's main intent. "No, Kelly. I think -- I think it may be happening because of me."

That brought the young woman's head around to stare at Jordan, who just smiled, her hand squeezing the girl's shoulder again. "Just watch. I'll tell you about it later, if we get time."

Kelly nodded and turned back to the stage.

Jordan sat back and wondered how and why Tash had set this up.

She also wondered what would happen between them if Tash lost.

And what she would owe her blonde friend if the mighty truly fell.

Xochilt had, in Elly's words, magnanimously given Tash first choice of which top she wanted working on her to open the contest. To everyone's surprise, the blonde had chosen Elly herself. There were two reasons: first, she knew that Chevy had a seductive way of using her whip to cause just as much pleasure as pain, and this would cloud her thinking if she started with such mastery. Pain, on the other hand, would force her to concentrate on what she wanted to accomplish, rather than what she was feeling.

The other reason for letting Chevy start on Xochilt was to let the denim clad top hook into the redhead's libido, stirring it, even as the pain was accepted. The same hook that Tash had wanted to avoid, she wanted set firmly in her opponent's mind.

As the first few strokes fell, Tash worked hard to keep her eyes open. She let the pain wash over her, accepting it, but working to convince herself that it wasn't important. What was important was to watch Xochilt, and keep her focus on the other woman. The redhead had clenched her teeth and would tense with each blow. Her hands were tight on the spreader bar, as if she was holding on for dear life, while Tash concentrated to keep her hands relaxed and merely curled around the cold metal. As she counted the strokes, Tash watched, waiting for the opportunity to begin the seduction.

Jordan's eyes, like everyone else's, were riveted to the stage, but her gaze never rested on one participant for long. They moved from one player to another, from Chevy's lazy but powerful swing, to Elly's precise strokes, and from Tash's open eyes to Xochilt's clenched jaw.

While she knew there were stylistic differences between the cowboyish Chevy and the Victorian Elly, it was fascinating to watch the two of them. Elly stayed in one position, her arm extending back and swinging forward to bring her long slim cane to bear on her target. Each blow to Tash's ass appeared to land within an inch of the last; each swing propelled the blonde victim forward while each back stroke gave her time to prepare for the next blow.

Chevy, on the other hand, played Xochilt's back as if it were a canvas that she was painting. Jordan watched with interest, and a little envy, at how easily the denim-clad woman uncurled her own body to bring the leather strap behind her only to bring the whip forward with a whistle, the followthrough leaving her partially bent forward only to uncurl and strike again. Each woman seemed unhurried, the strokes falling slowly, in a measured pace, yet each domme swung at the same time, with the crack and thud falling merely a millisecond apart.

It was easy to hear the blows, as the entire club had fallen silent to watch the spectacle. Even straining her ears, Jordan heard no more than the clink of ice in glasses or the occasional hushed whisper. Every other sound came from the stage, from either captor or captive.

She could hear, now, the quiet gasps that mingled with the sound of the falling whip and cane. It was almost impossible to tell which sound came from which bound woman, but Jordan narrowed her eyes and concentrated on what her eyes could see. From her position most of Xochilt's face was hidden, with only part of her profile showing, but Tash's was angled slightly towards her, and Jordan could see the concentration on the woman's face. She could see tiny signs of pain, now; occasionally Tash closed her eyes, or pulled tightly on the bar that kept her hands apart. Every once in a while the blonde's head would go up and back, and her mouth would open just a little, as if she was giving a soft gasp. Yet, even as still as the club was, Jordan couldn't match what she was seeing to the sounds she was hearing.

Though she couldn't see the redhead's face, Jordan did notice the rigidness in Xochilt's stance. She was still holding onto the bar tightly, the tendons in her arms standing out in relief. As the blows fell, she seemed to pull away, and the muscles in her jaw would stand out even further. The small gasps Jordan had been hearing turned to short hisses, and she could match them perfectly to the squirming of the redheaded top.

There was a slight tug on her sleeve and her head, if not her attention, turned to the young woman in front of her.

"That has to hurt, doesn't it?"

Jordan smiled, her eyes still focused on the stage and its players. The voice had been a soft whisper, and she replied in kind. "Which part?"

"The cane? The whip would hurt too, but . . ." The girl shivered even as Jordan stroked a hand down her back in a soothing motion.

Jordan noticed Tash lean forward and appear to speak to the redhead, but she couldn't hear the voice.

Refocusing, she glanced at the young woman practically sitting on her lap. "Each hurts in a different way. But you knew that, right? Isn't that what you wanted?"

The girl turned wide eyes on Jordan. "That? No! I . . ." Her words trailed off as she turned back to the stage. "I . . . I've never . . . I mean, I've thought about . . . and . . ."

"Shh." Jordan stroked her back again. "Hush. You and I will talk later. Right now, just watch, okay?" Pulling the girl a little closer and softening her whisper, she started telling her about what each stroke felt like, how there was a small rush of air just before the blow fell, and how each little pain built on another in a never ending chain.

Letting the silence fill her mind and still her thoughts, Tash waited and watched. Even as her mind dealt with the pain of Elly's blows, she noted the clenched jaw and tense face of her fellow domme. She could hear the faint creak as Xochilt pulled on the bar over her head. Letting her own pain flow through her, she opened her mouth to take deep breaths, keeping her own stance as relaxed as Xochilt's was tense. Tash heard the redhead begin gasping, saw her start to squirm just a little.

Then she was tightening her jaw and hissing her breath, and Tash knew it was time. Taking a tight hold of her bar, she pulled herself forward as much as she could without moving her feet.

"Open your mouth." There was no response to her whisper but she kept trying. "Xochilt, listen to me. Open your mouth. Take deep breaths. Breathe. Come on. You can do this. Open wide and breathe." The lips opened a little, but the jaw remained clenched. "Open your mouth. You're only hurting yourself -- by tensing so hard. Relax your jaw. Open your mouth to breathe."

The blows stopped for a moment; it was time for Chevy and Elly to switch sides. Magnum stepped forward and looked at both bound women. "Tash, are you all right?"

She nodded and smiled, taking a deep breath in preparation.

"Xochilt, are you all right?"

The redhead said nothing but nodded. Her eyes never opened. Magnum leaned a little closer.

"Tash is right, you know. You need to breathe better or you'll never get through the cane." Then she winked at Tash, and moved back to her spot on the stage and motioned for the two tops to begin again.

The first blow pulled a moan out of Xochilt. Her head went forward, but she finally opened her mouth to take a deep breath.

"Good. That's good." The whip blows moved sensuously down Tash's back, and it wasn't just the pain she had to put into the back of her mind. "Breathe now. Deep breaths, Xochilt. In and out, through your mouth. Don't clench. Just gets worse if you do." She let the next few blows fall without comment. Xochilt squirmed again, and Tash almost smiled.

"Hurts, doesn't it?" There was no answer, but Xochilt's face tightened a little more. She kept her mouth open, though. "But you're doing well. Breathing through it. That's good." Tash gave herself a moment to acknowledge the excitement she was feeling, then promptly ignored it. "Pain is annoying. But it's not going to kill you. Relax and breathe, Xo. You're doing so well."

One of Chevy's blows reached around the side of her chest to just tag her breast, and Tash took a deep breath as a flash of arousal mixed with the slice of pain. The feeling made her voice a little deeper, a little more raspy.

"Let the pain cleanse you, Xochilt." Stroke. "Let it wash through you -- take everything else away." Flash. "Just pain and heat. Each blow causes pain." Breathe. "Pain throbs -- turns to heat." Stroke. "Every new pain builds. More pain, more heat, more sensation." Flash. "Until that's what you are -- what you've become." Breathe. "Just let it happen, Xochilt. Become the pain. Let the heat melt you."

The last stroke of the set, harder than the rest, caught Tash by surprise, and she gasped, the first evidence of her pain or discomfort since things had started. Jordan narrowed her eyes in a sign of sympathy.

Xochilt, on the other hand, actually cried out, though it was momentary, and quickly cut off.

The switch between the tops took a moment longer than last time, as Elly laid aside her cane and picked up a paddle. She took a few practice swings before stepping back into place, this time behind Tash as Chevy moved into position behind Xochilt.

"Are they just gonna keep going?"

Jordan nodded. "Until someone calls it quits." She hoped like hell it wouldn't be Tash.

The paddle was normally something Tash had little problem with, but this time it was being applied to an area already throbbing from the cane. Even so, it was more of a solid pain than the teasing of Chevy's whip, and she had no problem putting it aside to concentrate on what she'd started.

She watched carefully, seeing the look of discomfort ease on Xochilt's face even as she bit her lip. Tash almost smiled. After the intensity of the cane, Chevy's whip was a much more sensuous feeling. Even if it was flitting back over the same territory as earlier, the pain would be lessened by comparison with Elly's strokes as well as the buildup of endorphines in Xochilt's body.

But the arousal was beginning, and that was what Tash was looking for.

"That's it, Xochilt, relax into the whip. You already took this, you know what to expect, you know how good it will feel. Let her take you. You can feel each stroke all the way through your body. It's almost like she's whipping you from inside, stroking you, filling you with her whip." Xochilt arched her body backwards after the whip slipped around to land on her inner thigh. "Good girl. You're doing so well, just let go and feel."

Tash took a breath, gathering herself as Elly continued to paddle her. Her own arousal was growing, but she didn't know if it was from the partly forgotten feeling of her body being punished, or the pleasure of seeing Xochilt start to lose herself.

"Open your eyes, Xo. Open them, come on."

After another moment, the redhead's eyelids fluttered and finally opened. Her pupils were dilated, and she was blinking rapidly.

"Good girl. Now, look to your right. Just turn your head and look."

Carefully, Xochilt did so.

"You see those people?" Her eyes closed, but Xochilt nodded. "They're all there for you, Xo. Just for you. They're watching you, watching as you let go and just feel. Just be that ball of sensation, Xochilt. They're all out there, and they're proud of you."

The last stroke of the round fell, and while Tash felt it as just another solid blow, Xochilt twisted in her bonds and muffled a cry against her arm as Chevy's blow snaked around her torso to land fully on one already stiff nipple.

"Easy, Xo. Breathe. That's it, just breathe."

Jordan couldn't help but notice that Kelly was squirming and looking down at the floor rather than the spectacle on the stage.

"You okay?"

The younger woman nodded, but her head stayed down.

"I figure you're either really turned on or really turned off. Can you tell me which?"

Kelly turned partway to look at the top behind her. "Both?"

Jordan smiled. "Turned on, but a little frightened, and not sure you should be feeling aroused by this?" A nod. "You're not alone, Kelly. Half the audience is turned on. The other half is way beyond that." She slipped her arms around completely around the girl. "Don't feel guilty for enjoying this. Look at Tash. Every once in a while you can see just a little smile on her face." Jordan laughed softly. "She's not feeling guilty, and I can guarantee you she's sharing your arousal -- or you're sharing hers."

Turning back to look at the stage, Kelly narrowed her eyes, trying to focus on Tash.

Jordan smiled and shook her head. Kelly, as she'd planned earlier in the evening, was hers for the taking. But Tash had said no, and that was that. Jordan wondered when she had started taking orders from the blonde top, but didn't question the order itself.

If nothing else, Jordan knew, Tash had already conquered one top tonight.

They had switched again, and this time Tash was worried. It seemed to her that Chevy had decreased her power but was being even more selective in her locations. Time and again, the whip landed in a sensitive location, and Tash would have to pause in her monologue.

"It's just pain, Xochilt. You can get through it. Just--" Tash stopped for a small gasp as Chevy landed a blow on her inner thigh, very high up. "Just let it flow through you. Let it fill you."

She swallowed and tried not to react when she saw a single tear roll down Xochilt's cheek. "I'm so proud of you, Xo. So proud. So is Elly. She's smiling. Looks so happy, cause -- you're taking everything -- she has to give. You're doing well, Xo. It's just pain. Let it flow, baby. Just let it flow." Listening to her own words, Tash took a deep breath and tried to let the pain and arousal flow through her.

It worked only through the next two strokes. Tash hoped she could hold out until the next switch when the pain of Elly's paddle would cut through the haze of the arousal starting to fill her body.

But suddenly, she wasn't so sure.

For the first time, Jordan heard gasps coming from the blonde on stage, and she frowned slightly. It seemed to her that Chevy had changed strategy, and instead of a relaxed swing, she was pushing the pace, giving Tash less time to react and prepare. She was also landing her blows in much more sensitive places, striking different areas on the blonde's breasts, and inner thighs. Tash, also for the first time, seemed to actually be in some physical discomfort, though her reaction was still less obvious than Xochilt who, by the way her eyes were squeezed shut, seemed to be on the verge of tears.

Kelly was still squirming, and her hands were clenched in her lap. Every few minutes Jordan could feel the young woman's hips move, rocking forward and back. Then they'd stop, and Kelly would hold herself rigidly still, as if afraid Jordan had noticed.

Which, of course, she had.



"You want to come, don't you?"

The girl froze.

"It's okay. I can tell. It's okay if you want to. Do you?"

She got a single solemn nod.

"Then do it."

Kelly turned to stare at her.

"Do it. Don't be afraid." Jordan waved a hand at the people around them. "We're in the back. While this is going on, no one's going to look back here. No one will see you." With her arms still around the girl, she squeezed gently. "It's okay. You can do it."

Kelly's eyes glanced around, her body starting to tremble a little. Then she shook her head, and whispered, "I can't, Jordan."

There wasn't a great deal of conviction in the girl's voice, and Jordan smiled, knowing the indecision that filled Kelly. "Okay. That's fine. But if you change your mind, that's okay too." She pulled the younger woman even closer, resting her chin on one thin shoulder. "If you really want to, if you need to, you can. You know that. I'll be here to hold you, and you know it'll feel so good. It'll be so good to just slip your hand in your jeans, reach down with your fingers. And it would be so hot, watching the stage, feeling yourself getting wetter with each stroke. It would be so good . . ." She let her voice trail off in a breathy whisper barely three inches from the girl's ear.

As the two tops on stage switched position again, Jordan felt Kelly shift. In the almost silence she could just hear the lowering zipper of the girl's jeans.

Tash was immediately grateful for the force of Elly's blows. The first one raised her from the haze, the second one cleared it away, and the third one helped her focus on her task.

Which was to finish the seduction of Xochilt before Chevy got another chance to turn the tables on the blonde.

The redhead seemed to be half heartedly pulling away from the whip, but also twisting into it. There was a mixture of sweat and tears on her face, and her teeth continually worried at her lower lip.

"It's so seductive, isn't it. Feeling the whip caress you. Letting it make your body sing. It feels like it's sewn your skin to your clit, and each stroke, each touch, makes it harder to resist."

Xochilt's hips jumped as the tip of Chevy's whip landed in her crotch.

"That's where you need it. That's what you want. You want to come, Xo, don't you . . . you can feel the -- need building. You need to come. You need to come -- in front of all these people -- don't you?" Tash licked her lips, letting her own excitement fill her, as Xochilt gave a tiny nod and tossed her head back. "But you can't come yet. Not yet. Because you're not ready." She knew she was taking a chance, but hoped it would pay off. "You're almost there. You just have to give in. Just let go. Give in, Xo. Then you can come, and it'll be over. Just give in. Say the word, Xochilt. I'll let you come."

Another strike on a nipple pulled a sob from the red head. "That's it. Just give in. You're so close. Say it, Xo. Say the word."

The audience, sensing the tension was peaking, began murmuring.

"Listen to them. They want you -- to let go. They want to see it. Give in, Xochilt. Say the word. You need to. You're already -- hearing yourself say it. Knowing how good -- it would feel. If you say it, you can come. It'll all be over. You can rest. But you need to say it." She heard another sob from the taller top, saw her twist her hips even as the whip fell. The count was eighteen.

"Xochilt. Say it now. Say it now and come."

And on nineteen, her hips rocking against the air, Xochilt came, screaming for mercy.

Tash sighed and let her head drop.

Jordan could feel the orgasm building in the slight body she held in her arms. She'd been alternating between concentrating on the stage, and whispering encouragement in Kelly's ear, but now that she was close, Jordan knew she'd need some support to get there, and some approval afterward.

"Good girl, Kelly. You're so close. Reach for it. You can do it. Come for me."

There was a buzz in the crowd, and Jordan looked up to see Xochilt twisting in her bonds. She almost lost her focus, but kept murmuring, even as she watched the slow break down of the woman she feared most.

"That's it, Kelly. Touch yourself and come for me. Come, now."

She felt the younger woman begin shaking, heard the gasp and cry, felt the arch of her back.

And heard Xochilt call for mercy at the same time.

It was over. Tash had won.

Even as she supported Kelly's limp body and whispered comfort to her, Jordan watched as Magnum and Chevy stepped up to support Xochilt.

Both tops were released, but whereas Tash seemed able to stand with a minimum of support, Xochilt seemed to sag as soon as her wrists were freed. She was obviously still sobbing, and had seemed to close in on herself.

"Easy, Kelly. Good job. You did great. Just take it easy now."

Kelly, too, seemed to close herself off, pulling her shoulders in and dropping her head in embarrassment. Jordan reached around and gently pulled her chin to the side so she could see the girl's face.

"Look at me." After a moment, Kelly obeyed. "You have nothing to feel ashamed of. Nothing. Do you understand me?" A nod. "Then stop pretending to be a turtle and relax." She leaned forward and gently kissed the younger woman. "You are beautiful and you deserve all your pleasure. Understood?" Another nod and a hesitant smile; Jordan winked at her and let the girl rest gently in her embrace.

The two quietly watched the stage, where Tash was bending down in front of Xochilt, her hands on either side of the redhead's face. The blonde appeared to be speaking intently, but Xochilt, still looking dazed, merely nodded every few moments. Finally Tash straightened and directed a question to Magnum, who nodded. The two women shared an easy smile, then Magnum turned toward the microphone even as Elly and Chevy began helping their two victims back into their clothes.

"Since I'm judge, I get to make the announcement." Magnum grinned as she addressed the crowd. "Tash wins. Be there in two weeks when she'll top Xochilt on stage at Trab's. And give them both a hand, everybody, that was a hell of whipping they each took."

The bar seemed to erupt with cheers and whistles and clapping. When they quieted down, Magnum spoke again. "Thanks for your patience and support tonight. Everybody go get drunk or something. Show's over."

There was laughter and more clapping before the music, which had been silenced for the stage show, began to pump through the club again. The crowd, still energized from the scene they'd just witnessed, headed to the bar or flowed onto the dance floor, where they blocked Jordan's view of the stage.

Feeling a little awkward, Jordan simply held Kelly, wondering what was going to happen next. Even though she couldn't see the stage anymore, she could see the heads of people, and she noticed Magnum talking to someone off stage and pointing her direction. A minute later Terence appeared out of the crowd, carrying two bottles of water.

"Hey Jor."

"Hey Ter." She took a bottle from the leather clad woman. "This is Kelly."

"I know, Tash told me." Terence handed the second bottle to the girl and offered her hand. "Terence. Good to meet you."

Kelly managed a smile as she wiped her fingers on her jeans. "Tash knows my name?" Jordan had to hide a smirk at the embarrassed flush that covered the younger woman's cheeks as Terence, rather than just shaking, lifted Kelly's hand and bent over it.

"Tash knows everybody." She kissed the back of the girl's hand, then took a breath and grinned, one eyebrow rising to her hairline. "Somebody enjoyed the show, huh?"

Kelly's head dropped and she pulled her hand back, her shoulders closing in again. Jordan remembered why she could only take so much of Terence. "That's enough. Kelly's off limits. Tash's rule."

Terence shrugged. "It's cool. Besides, I come with a message from the winner."

"So give me the message and get lost."

"Easy now, don't get all on edge. Though if the little one got off and you didn't, well --"

Jordan started to rise, reaching for her whip.

"Anyway, Tash said you're to wait here for her. Drink your water, relax, and wait." She shrugged again. "Don't ask me why. She just said to tell you that." Ter grinned again. "But I gotta go. Mags and Tash and Chevy were talkin' and I think Mags and I're takin' Xochilt home, if you know what I mean." She tilted her head and squinted at Jordan. "Maybe I'll make her squeal like you did that night --"

"Or maybe you'll be the one squealing."

Jordan was bristling with anger, but she had seen Magnum coming up behind her submissive, and managed to force herself into her chair. Now she merely raised an eyebrow at the leather clad top. "Getting a little mouthy, isn't she?"

After throwing an evil look at Jordan, Terence looked at the floor before glancing at her top. "I'm sorry, Ma--"

"Shut up. Out to the bike with you. You and my whip are gonna have a long talk tonight about your manners."

"But --"

"Go, or you'll spend the night on floor."

Not looking at anyone, Terence left. Jordan watched her, anger and embarrassment at war inside. She had heard from Tash that Magnum was there that night; she hadn't even considered that Terence would have been with her.

"Sorry, Jordan. Her ego's gotten a bit bigger since I let her do a few scenes on her own."

Jordan shrugged and uncapped her bottle. Just before she drank, she looked at Magnum. "Is it true? Tash asked you to take Xochilt home tonight?"

Magnum shook her head. "She was gonna, but I told her that would be a bad idea with Terence's new schtick. Chevy's takin' her home. Tash doesn't want Xo alone tonight."

"Sounds like Tash."

"Sounds like a good idea, too. She's really wiped out." Magnum glanced at the younger woman. "Kelly, huh?"

Kelly nodded, but didn't say anything.

"Kelly, this is Magnum. She's a top, so be nice." She leaned forward and whispered. "Terence is just a bossy sub, so you don't have to be nice to her. Ever."

"I heard that." Magnum grinned at Kelly. "Jordan's just a pain, don't listen to her."

"Ah, bite me, Mag."

"Jordan, don't tease the top." Tash, her face still a bit flushed, but a smile on her face, stepped up beside Magnum. "You might not like the results."

Jordan lowered her head, the implication in Tash's words hitting her full force.

With a smile, Tash held out a hand to Kelly. "Hi, Kelly. It's good to meet you."

Kelly tensed, and Jordan felt her insecurity take control. She nudged the younger woman and whispered again, this time quietly. "It's okay, Kel. You're safe."

Slowly, the younger woman put her hand in Tash's, watching the top's fingers close gently around it. Tash gave a slight tug. "Come on. Let's talk for a moment, just you and me, okay?"

Nodding, Kelly turned, trying to get off the stool. She'd forgotten how little room there was between the two chairs, however, and nearly fell until Jordan put a steadying hand on her back. "Easy, Kelly. Hang on." Jordan pushed Kelly's chair forward, and the girl smiled gratefully at her as she climbed down and once again took Tash's outstretched hand.

Jordan leaned back, arms folded across her chest, watching as Tash lifted Kelly's chin so she could look into the girl's eyes. There was obvious awe and admiration on Kelly's face, and Jordan realized that Tash would be the perfect top to bring Kelly into the scene. That extraordinary aura of calm that surrounded the blonde would carry the young girl through the first steps of pain and pleasure, teaching her to find solace in the whip and love in restraint. For a moment, she was jealous; then it disappeared as Tash glanced at her and smiled.

"Tash is a beautiful woman, isn't she?"

Startled, Jordan turned her head to find Magnum looking at her with a small smile. She'd forgotten the other top was there.

"Yeah. Tash is beautiful." Jordan lowered her head, not certain of her own standing with Magnum.

"Yeah. And a hell of a domme." She grinned. "Chevy and Elly didn't top Xo tonight. Tash did."

Jordan's eyebrow rose.

"I know. She was getting whipped too, but you know how calm she is. She barely showed anything until the end. And all the way through, she just kept goading Xochilt, talking to her, about pain, about arousal, about being filled. When Xochilt came it wasn't just cause of Chevy's whip; it was Tash's voice." She paused and grinned. "Hell, by that time I was ready to come just from hearing her voice."

Jordan nodded. She'd heard that voice earlier in the evening and knew how mesmerizing it could be. And how arousing.

"Listen, Jordan." Magnum moved a little closer. "I was there that night. At Trab's. And I want you to know, you don't need to feel any shame about it."

This time the dark head went down. "I --"

"You nothing. Jordan, Xochilt was wrong, not you." She gently put a hand on Jordan's shoulder. "And I've got a lot of respect for you making it through. Like Tash says, anyone can be broken, but not everyone can stand up afterwards and walk away, and that's what you did. You shouldn't be ashamed of that night, Jor. You should be proud."

Her eyes closed, Jordan still felt lightheaded as she listened to Magnum. Part of her was flying high, feeling proud that she had earned the top's respect. Another part, however, was feeling shame for a totally different reason. Tears dripped from under her eyelashes as she raised her head. "Mag, I'm not a top."

Magnum chuckled. "No. You're not a pure top, Jor."

Jordan flinched slightly, remembering how many times she'd gotten angry and been insulted when someone had simply implied that.

"But I never thought you were purely a top, and you were NEVER a bottom."

Dark eyes opened, letting more tears spill down her cheeks. "What are --"

Holding a finger to Jordan's lips, Magnum silenced her. "You're a switch, Jor. At least, that's what you should have been." She sighed, glancing toward the door. "It's what I've been trying to teach Terence to be, but each time I give her a little taste of power she tries to use it to hurt people. I think maybe I should just keep her as a bottom." Looking back at Jordan, her mouth turned in a crooked grin. "Sorry, thinking out loud. You? You're a natural switch. You love to bottom, but you have a natural ability to put people at ease and make them trust you. Look how easily you took Kelly in." The grin turned slightly evil. "Even I could smell pussy on the girl's fingers; I'm just not as crude about it as Terence was."

Jordan smiled and wiped her eyes. "I swore I'd never bottom again."

Magnum shrugged. "So? Just think of it as a gift. Something you'd only give to someone you absolutely trusted. Someone you find beautiful. Someone -- who can top you with her voice." She nodded over to where Tash was hugging Kelly, who clung to her. "That would be a mighty precious gift. And I know someone who would cherish it."

As Jordan watched, Tash pulled back from her hug with Kelly and reached up to wipe tears from the girl's eyes. Moving slowly, the blonde leaned forward and kissed the girl, her hands cupping her cheeks while Kelly's landed on Tash's hips.

When they broke apart, Kelly's eyes stayed closed, and she was smiling. Tash laughed and kissed her forehead. She left the girl leaning up against the wall, and walked back over to where Jordan and Magnum waited.

"Mag, thanks for all your help tonight."

Taking the offered hand, Magnum bowed slightly and kissed Tash's fingers. "It was my pleasure." She stood. "I feel like I've been takin' lessons from Elly. I gotta get outta here before I start thinking a top hat looks good on me." She moved forward to hug Tash, then turned to Jordan. "Think about what I said. No shame, my friend."

Jordan nodded, and shook her friend's hand. "Night, Mag. Whip Terence good for me." She winked and got a cuff to the side of her head before Magnum left.

Then it was her and Tash facing each other.

"You okay, Tash?"

The blonde smiled. "Yeah. I'm fine. Don't know that I'll sit comfortably for a few days, but I'm okay."

Jordan nodded. "I hear Elly swings a mean cane."

Tash raised an eyebrow. "You've never been caned?"

"Oh, I have. Just not by Elly."

"Uh-huh." The blonde took a long look at Jordan. "Thanks for watching over Kelly. I was worried about her. A novice in here on a night when there's a top showdown -- that could have been dangerous for her. A lot of energy flying around." She paused. "I hear you talked her into touching herself. Is that true?"

The tall woman squirmed. "Well, she wanted to. It wasn't a bad thing. I just encouraged; I wouldn't call it talking her in to . . ." She saw one blonde eyebrow rise. "Okay, fine, yeah, I did. Is there a problem with that?"

Tash crossed her arms, a serious look on her face, though Jordan could still see a smile twinkling in her eyes. "I said no one was to top her. Wouldn't you say that's what you did in a way?"

"I -- well, no . . . I never touched her."

"But you coerced. You manipulated. You used her arousal against her." Tash tilted her head. "You used the energy between the two of you to get her off. Isn't that what tops do?"

"I --" Jordan stopped to consider. "Okay, when you put it like that . . ."

"So you admit you disobeyed me?"

"Um . . ."

Tash pulled her wallet out and took a card from it. She handed it to Jordan. "This is my address. You'll be there for punishment tomorrow night, eight o'clock. Don't be late." She put her wallet away. "For the rest of the night, I want you to talk to Kelly. No touching, for either of you. Not each other, not even yourselves. No topping. Is that clear?" Jordan nodded. "Take her somewhere for coffee. Talk to her, answer questions, tell her about you. And about Xochilt." Her head tilted again. "Tell her the story you don't want to tell anyone, Jordan. And don't think I won't know if you don't because I will. Understood?"

Jordan nodded again, still looking back and forth between the card in her hand and the woman in front of her. "I -- will." Carefully, she put the card into her front pocket, pulling her hand back out slowly. "Should I bring anything tomorrow?"

"Just you." Tash turned to walk away, then turned back. "And Jordan?"


"No smoking. Not tonight, not tomorrow, not tomorrow night. Smoking keeps you from having to feel things, and I want you to face everything you're feeling. No running, no hiding, no smoking. I'll know if you smoke, I'll see it in your eyes, I'll smell it on your skin, and I won't even let you inside." She cocked her head. "You can face everything you feel and get everything you want, and need -- or you can keep blowing smoke up your own ass to hide from what you really want." Tash shrugged. "Your choice, Jordan."

Then she turned and left. Jordan watched until the door to the club closed behind her.

Glancing at the horizon, she could see light starting to pierce the dark sky. It would take a while for the sun to fully appear, but already the few stars you could see from New York were winking out in the brightening dawn.

She would have expected such a night to end with a bang, but it hadn't. It had ended with a long conversation, a pot of coffee, and breakfast at Denny's with Kelly.

The two had parted as friends, and maybe something more was starting. Jordan felt uncertain about a lot of things, and Kelly was one of them.

Tash was another.

Absently she took out a cigarette and only noticed what she was doing when the smell of the lighter hit her nose. She jerked the flame away before it actually touched the tobacco. Angry at herself, she pulled her arm back and heaved the lighter out into the dark of the early morning.

She never heard it land, nor the cigarettes that she pitched after the lighter.

For some reason she felt freer. She knew it would be a long day, and she'd probably have to start looking for nicotine patches or gum or something, but she'd now gone almost six hours since that last cigarette on the back porch of Siren's, and she wasn't feeling too many ill effects yet.

Besides, Tash had given her an order.

As she started down the stairwell from the roof to the top floor, she thought about how one night could change things. At the beginning of the evening she'd been certain in her own status as a top, certain in her fear of Xochilt, certain that she should stay away from Tash. Now she was wondering what her own status truly was, and had watched the mighty Xochilt fall, not to a whip, but to the sound of Tash's voice. Strangest of all, Jordan was hoping to experience that same fall.

She took the elevator back down, passing members of the cleaning crew as she got off the conveyance. Stopping by the lobby, she waved at the security desk and Tony, then headed through the door.

Getting to her bike, she stopped and stared. Her cigarettes had landed directly in front of the motorcycle. The top had flipped open and several white sticks stuck out the top like little hard ons.

With a small smile she stepped past them and got on the bike. Gunning the engine before backing up, she glanced back one last time.

Then she put the bike in gear.

After all, there was much to do before showing up at Tash's that evening. First a good sleep, then maybe a hair trim, a new pair of pants.

And a gift for her new top.

A shiver of anticipation ran down her spine, and she accelerated into the growing light.

The End

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