Chloe’s hands gripped the seat as fiercely as the sides of a dentist’s chair. She was excited but she was, naturally, fearful. Chloe looked up at me as I raised the strap. I felt its weight rest over my shoulder and down my back, and gazed at her, measuring.
When I swung my arm down, and first deliberately hurt and marked Chloe with that strap, we’d both be different people. And after we’d done that, we’d do it again, and again, as it became something that we did: Jaime whips Chloe with a leather strap, you know, they do that.
I wanted to say something important but I could only think of clichés from the texts.
“All right, Chloe, you’ve asked for a good strapping” – at least that was true within the game and outside it – “and now you’re going to get it. I want you to be a brave girl for me. And … um … I expect you to stay in position. If you let go of the chair, Chloe, I’ll start the strokes again. Understood?”
Chloe was having trouble speaking. But she managed to say, hoarse-throated, “Yes, sir, I understand.”
“If you get up, I’ll start again and double the number of strokes. Do you hear me?”
Chloe heard me, sir. Not that the threat had any meaning. I hadn’t thought about how many strokes – I’d call them lashes, the next time I spoke of them – I was going to give her, so there was no number to double.
I hoped Chloe thought that all this waiting had been stylishly cruel, but it was time to stop thinking. I took a breath and swung the strap laterally through the air.