Title: IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT
Beta: The Wicked Beta of the West
Date: December 29, 2000
Rating: Pretty PG
Archive: You know who you are.
DISCLAIMER: These are the property of CC, Fox and 1013, but considering what they are doing to them this season, I decided to liberate the guys.
DEDICATION: To my poor old Honda Accord which picked today of all days to die.
IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT
I remember the first time they came into the bar.
Not together. Separately.
But they left together.
It was only around the third time that we realized they were playing a game. A bit dangerous, even considering the kind of place we run.
My partner and I run a leather bar.
Not one of those noisy, pseudo weekend-yuppies-getting-their- thrills leather bar. Not one of the really rough ones either where the smell of oiled leather, male sweat, booze overlays the odour of blood.
Nope. Our customers are the ones who are into the life style as a...a vocation. They are doms and subs who want a place to relax without having to worry about people's reactions. Or that someone might come over and start some rutting ritual over some pretty toy.
No, we're a nice place to spend an evening in public.
I guess you could say that we run the equivalent to a family restaurant.
One with nice, clean, safe rooms upstairs to rent if you want to play. We get a lot of out of town visitors who come to D.C. for conferences, meetings. Who don't want to worry about the noise coming from their hotel room.
Our customers are mainly male, though we don't discriminate. I mean, hell, both of us are women. And no, we're not lovers though we do love each other. But we couldn't live together. I mean, she lives with a herd of small dogs and I have a cat that is twice the size of one of her "pitous".
But we both had a similar idea about a business and so far it's been working well. We've about to celebrate our tenth anniversary and we haven't killed each other yet. Which in business, I am given to understand, is as good as it gets.
As I was saying, they came in separately and left together.
Not that they did it often. We only saw them maybe once every six to eight weeks.
We're pretty discreet here. I mean, we don't ask our customers for their business cards. If they become regulars, we usually get to know them by name, if they care to introduce themselves. Most do. As I've said, we're discreet.
The ones who aren't real regulars, but whom we recognize, we name ourselves.
Like with these two.
One of them was easy.
I mean even I could recognize the cut of those suits he wore. And the name suits him too. He's tall, slender, with a nice pair of shoulders for the build. Intelligent eyes, mobile face, in spite of a nose that must have made his life miserable as a kid.
And as sensual as the material those fancy suits of his are made from. You know what I mean: you have to fight off the urge to stroke your hand along it just to feel it against your skin.
Not surprising that he attracted the attention of some of the doms who were hanging around, just looking for a relaxing evening.
Not that he strutted for them. Hell, all he had to do was walk in, with that loose-hipped walk of his, and he had eyes following him. All the way up to the bar where he'd ask for a beer, a bowl of peanuts and take them to a small table where he could look over the room.
He never stayed alone long.
The other one was completely different.
First of all, no suits for this one. Leather and denim.
Sexual, not sensual.
It took us that entire first evening to figure out that the left arm wasn't real. Not that it was obvious, he knew how to hide the fact real well, but my partner is in a wheelchair and she's more sensitive to things like that than I am.
He attracted a different crowd. Subs who were between masters, subs whose masters allowed them to play elsewhere.
Not that this one went out of his way to attract them any more than the other did. But, hell, it was like having a sex magnet in the place.
I mean, even one or two of the doms offered to buy him one of those vodkas he nursed all evening. Not that he accepted. He never accepted no matter who offered to buy.
We called him Vodka.
We were a little surprised that first time, when, after not even looking in each other's direction, Vodka finished his drink -- which by then had to have been mostly ice melt -- stood up, walked over to Armani's table and whispered something in his ear.
Armani looked interested. He smiled to the two men who had been sharing his conversation and peanut bowl all evening, rose and left with Vodka.
There were some disappointed looks in the place, but nothing beyond the norm. It happens sometimes.
The second time they came was about two months later.
My partner was handling the bar that night. "They're back," she told me when I came ask her about one of the invoices.
I was doing the monthly books. I like playing with numbers but I hate dealing with orders. My partner's just the opposite, which is why we work well together. Mind you, there are times I find myself questioning some of her purchases.
I should explain, we supply not only rooms, but toys as well. I mean, doms on business trips to the Nation's capital don't always want to drag around another case with their sub's toys. We provide a variety of clean, sterile, vacuum packed implements approriate for a variety of play. Not as good as the stuff at home, but fine for the occasional trip out.
And we get a lot of foreign visitors, a lot of Brits, French diplomates who have learnt to rely on us. Even a few of the German ones. As I've said, we're discreet.
"Who's back?" I really wasn't paying attention to the crowd: I wanted to ask her why we were paying for watermelon-flavoured lube all of a sudden.
"Armani and Vodka."
I looked up and sure enough, there was Armani holding the attention of one dom who had recently released his sub because the guy really always wanted to be in control...
What? You think bartenders in leather bars don't get their ears bent off with the customer's private troubles?
Sheesh! Get real, eh!
Anyways, this dom was on the look-out for a new pet and he was giving Armani a serious once over. Armani didn't seem to know what was going on. Else he was very good at ignoring the tolerant look the dom was giving him, listening him run on about the reproductive system of little green men.
Or were they grey?
And Vodka was at another table, with a couple of toys who were just taken by his cold green eyes...
What? I didn't mention the colour of his eyes before? Oversight on my part. Let me tell you, he had a pair of green eyes a cat would kill for.
And Armani's weren't bad either.
Hazel. But the kind that changed colour depending on the mood he was in.
So we watched them and sure enough, at one point, Vodka went over to Armani's table, whispered in his ear and they left together.
The toys were very dramatic in their sighs: the dom more restrained.
Still, his evening wasn't a total loss. He went home with the two toys and started showing up after that with one of them in tow.
The third time, we knew what was going to happen. And some of the regulars had also clued in by then. I think they tried to guess which newcomer would end up at whose table. Maybe even placed a few bets.
Around midnight, Vodka left his table, went over to Armani's. They went through the usual script, got up, left.
And this time too the dom at the table ended up with the sub at the other. They didn't become an item, but they played around for a few weeks.
That happened the next time as well.
So, whenever they came in after that, it was sort of understood that the doms who hung around Armani were in the market for some new toys while the subs who gravitated to Vodka were up for grabs.
One or two good relationships came out of that understanding.
This went on for about a year. Once, one of the doms who had found himself a new pet thanks to them sat at the table with Vodka, discussing training methods. Another time, one of the subs whose dom had died suddenly got drunk at Armani's table, poured out his heart to the guy who certainly looked as though he was listening to him.
All in all, they weren't much trouble. And every time, sometime between midnight and one, Vodka would excuse himself, walk over to Armani and they would leave together.
We got used to them.
So, why am I telling you this story?
Well, one night something did happen. Took all of us by surprise, and let me tell you, that's not easy to do in this bar.
It was one of those busy nights. Storm outside, heavy rains. The place was filled with doms and subs who were hoping that the wind would drop and that it would be safe to drive home.
Vodka and Armani were each holding court at his table.
My partner and I were both tending bar, we were that busy.
It just happened that I was looking out the door window to see if the wind had dropped when the door opened.
The guy who stepped in was big. Not big big. I mean we have some mountains here who are regulars. But had shoulders that even the wrinkled suit couldn't hide.
Not that the suit had been tailored to hide them.
In fact, I was willing to bet my share of the night's take that the Hugo Boss had been tailored especially for that body. For the shoulders, the chest, that waist and those hips.
And he wasn't particularly young. Had lost most of his hair. Wore wirerims.
He looked around the room as he wiped the rain off them with a pristine handkerchief.
Put them back on.
By then, he had attracted a bit of attention. One or two of the top level doms looked him over and gave him a nod. That type recognizes each other no matter what they're wearing or where they meet.
He gave them a slight one back, still looking around the room.
And his gaze stopped on Vodka.
Growing colder as it stayed there.
My partner looked over at me with raised eyebrows, asked a question with her shoulders. I shook my head.
The Boss man waited until someone at Vodka's table noticed that they were garnering attention and pointed it out to the man holding court.
Vodka looked up, drink on the way to his mouth.
It never got there.
The Boss man pointed a finger at him and then to the floor by his feet.
I swear, the speed at which that man moved was a lesson to any training sub.
One moment he was at the table, the next, he was on his knees at the Boss man's feet, ass high in the air, hands clasped behind his back, forehead on the dirty wet floor.
I mean, whodda thought that he, of all people, was a sub! All this caught the attention of the people at Armani's table.
Now I know the light in this bar is pretty garish. That it distorts colours.
But I swear -- and my partner will back me up on this -- Armani went green.
And all the Boss man had to do was point his finger to the floor and Armani was there, pant legs sopping up the water feet had brought in throughout the evening, hands behind his back, forehead on the floor.
The whole place went quiet.
The Boss man looked down and waited, it had to be a good minute. Then he spoke.
"It's a good thing that I decided to leave the conference on an earlier flight to avoid the storm."
He waited a breath, then added, very cold, "Isn't it?"
I mean the two of them answered at exactly the same time. Except that they didn't sound very sincere in their agreement.
The Boss man rested his fists on his hips. "I'm giving you a five minute head start to get back before I do. When I get there, we will discuss the kind of things you two get up to when I'm out of town."
Armani looked up, his hair dripping with the dirty water it had soaked up. "But, Master..."
"This is coming out of your five minutes. Are you sure you want to use up your time here?"
Vodka was out the door first, followed closely by Armani.
The Boss man took a deep breath, shook his head. He came down to the bar where my partner and I were staring, our mouths open.
"I'm sorry if they behaved improperly," he said.
"Not at all," said my partner. "They were never a problem."
"Excuse me," I got his attention as he turned to go. "They never stayed later than one. They never drank too much. And they never left with anyone other than each other."
Well, I mean, I didn't want him to think that he had a couple of sluts on his hands. And, in a way, I hoped he realized that they were a compliment to him. They probably deserved some discipline, but I didn't want him to think that he had to punish them severely.
He looked at me, then my partner. He nodded. "Thank you."
The dom who had been watching from the bar commiserated, "They must be a handful."
One of the Boss man's eyebrows hovered just over the top of his glasses. "Yes," he admitted, "they are."
The dom nodded in agreement. Then he added, "But well worth the effort."
There is nothing like a slow grin on a dom's face. And this one made the Boss man look a hell of a lot less cold.
The dom gave him back an understanding grin of his own.
And, with a nod to the two of us, the Boss man left.
I can tell you, that night was a subject of discussion for some time after.
Armani and Vodka, did we ever see them again?
Yep. They're regulars, all three of them.
Sometimes Armani and Vodka come on their own and they play that game they've always played. It works well with new-comers, amuses the regulars.
But often they come with the Boss man.
He sits at a table with a couple of the other doms and they talk sports and things like that.
Those visits, Armani and Vodka kneel very nicely at his feet, wait until he asks them to get him another beer, or more of those peanuts Armani seems to like so much.
Yes, they're a fine example, all three of them, of the kind of people we like to attract here at the bar.