here for an explanation of this series and here for an index to it.)
She had arrived at last just where she needed to be.
Jeanne kept repeating it to herself, trying desperately to quieten the frantic beating of her heat: I have arrived at last just where I have always needed to be. I have arrived at last. . .
Was it, in the end, really so strange that that place, and that position, were kneeling, clad only in a long, gauzy initiate's robe of white, in front of the order's Master of the Lash?
Surely it would not seem strange to anyone who could have read through the record of her dreams and fantasies over what seemed to her the whole of her life: the longing to kneel, to be marked, to be owned, to be hurt by those who claimed the right to hurt her even as they declared their intention to prize her and care for her. Surely the braided lash in the Master's hand was only the symbol of the deepest reality of her life: that she should be given the great gift that he was now about to bestow upon her.
The lash, in the Master's hand, approached her. She closed her eyes, and prepared to kiss the back of that hand that would at last make her feel the things for which she had yearned for so long: the bite of the leather upon her bare bottom, her thighs--even within her open thighs, upon her sex, where they had also assured her they would whip her tonight.
And then. . . beyond the Master of the Lash, in the darkness, she knew he waited: Blaise, the man who had brought her here, the one who would rip the robe from her, and tie her to the block, and watch her whipped; Blaise, in whose power she would be left when the Master of the Lash departed, to be done to according to his will; Blaise, who would take her back to their life of suburban joys and sorrows when this initiation was over, marked forever, nevertheless, as an initiate into his ways.
And they would return, Jeanne and Blaise, a wedded pair, to the order's house, to re-enact these rites. For she had arrived at last just where she needed to be.