Just as Natasha had told her she would be, she was made to greet James, on his return, naked, collared, leashed and cuffed.
She was at the same time devastated and trembling with pride.
Two weeks ago she had been the gauche girlfriend, always saying the wrong thing, not knowing how to act with his intellectual, arty, assured friends, with their quick, clever conversation and ironic laughter. She had been certain that sex with her had begun to bore him, been sure she was about to lose him.
Now, the woman-friend he had brought with him (she had met her before, and been intimidated, sure that this girl would be her replacement at James’ side) is silent, staring, round eyed, while James and Natasha discuss how easy it had been to ‘turn’ her.
Now, she is the centre of attention, but she doesn’t have to worry about speaking (’only when you’re spoken to, and then very simple and direct’), or whether she is dressed appropriately (’you’ll always wear what you’re told to - which will often be nothing’), or how to act (’pretty, sexy and vulnerable - move slowly and neatly - always do as you’re told with a little bob of your head and pleasing little smile to communicate how happy you are to oblige').
And James sounds pleased - appreciative. She can feel herself flooding with gratitude, even as she blushes. Even as she understands that she has indeed been replaced as girlfriend, that she occupies a different category now - a more functional one.
Her heart beats, rapidly. She isn’t going to be able to resist this, she understands.
She doesn’t seem to even want to.
Natasha is telling them how devastating she finds the whip, how softly sweet she is after a session, her face stained with tears, how eager to please, how devastated by the urgency of her own sexual response to abuse.