“He’s got a trademark.”
Fancy was washing my hair at the time. Her short nails sent shocks through my nervous system every time she lathered; it felt good.
“A trademark. He’s got a way, with a weapon.”
“And you’ll be experiencing it tonight, my love.”
Fancy dunked my head under the cold bathwater without warning.
Men aren’t my style, not usually. I like women, tall and flat chested, voluptuous, potbellied and luscious. Fancy was perfect – squashy in all my favourite places, rich and endless. She tasted like the sun in winter and looked like a dream. Fancy is my love. Fancy dressed me in a pink frock with lipstick red love hearts on the fabric, and turned me this way and that before the mirror to make sure the seams were straight. She was wearing a tight white shirt and tuxedo trousers, her cloud of dark hair wrapped in a scarf.
I rested my head on her shoulder.
“I don’t want to go.”
“You’ll like it when you get there.” allowing me to hug her, she inhaled the lavender scent of my hair and pinched the top of my arm. “We’d better go.”
‘There’ was an unimposing building in the centre of town, and down some slightly too steep stairs to a room that was never lit by anything but candles and oil lamps. The heat was welcome, and we eagerly surrendered our coats to the sweet-faced boy behind the cloakroom counter.
Friends were there, smiling and deep in conversation, with large glasses of wine or liquors in their hands. Fancy held my arm and walked me to the bar where she ordered a gin martini for herself and a glass of lemonade for me, then we waited for people to come to her, which they always did.
Aaron leant in for a kiss.
“Looking delicious as always, the pair of you.”
He cuffed my ear; try as he might, Aaron could never sexualise me. Said I was too young. He was born the year the the Beatles had their first number one and eyed anyone born in the 1990s onwards with suspicion. It made him hard to like. He adored Fancy though, and they laughed a lot together. Hearing her laugh was my favourite thing.
As 8pm approached, the flow of bodies began creeping towards the parlour door, always kept shut to make sure the bar tab was covered and everyone a little lubricated before the night proper began. Fancy held my hand tightly so she didn’t lose me to the wave of guests; when the crowds parted and we were inside, my insides fizzed and clenched with anticipation.
This room was darker still, with lamps highlighting the decadent brocade of a couch or shiny leather surface of a bench. Layla was already buckling Stephen into something that might have been a couture strait jacket. They liked to show off.
In a corner, Miriam and Amy were bent over with their hands behind their heads and their skirts tucked into their belts, being inspected by Mademoiselle and Aaron with interest. I watched Mademoiselle avail herself of some black latex gloves and insert one finger abruptly into Amy’s cunt but I couldn’t hear the alarmed moan escaping her lips over the heady strings and bustling noise of temptations being pursued. Besides, my eyes finally alighted on the furthest wall, where there was a smaller bench, the kind you might knock up of a weekend as a DIY project, big enough for one – for me. And behind it, Tom, watching us.
Fancy pushed me forwards and watched me walk up to him, clasping my lemonade in both hands, and ducking my head as I murmured my polite greeting.
He took the glass off me and set it on the mantle behind him.
He pointed at the bench, and I curled my body around it obediently, just as Fancy had directed me to. She didn’t move from her position; she felt very far away as he pushed the flouncy material of my dress out of the way so he could see my bare backside.
“Right or left?” He called out.
“Left.” Replied my love, sipping her martini, looking beautiful.
He pressed something cold and flat against my lower back.
“This will not harm you. Who do you belong to?”
“Fancy Xavier.” I replied evenly.
“Good girl. This will bite, but nothing more.”
The first slice was excruciating – I made to rise from the bench but he pressed me down with his large left hand.
“Oh yes; I lied.” he whispered in my ear “But struggling will only make it worse. You know that.”
Sharp-flat pain sharp-flat pain sharp-flat pain. Each time he made contact with my skin I felt as though it might be the the one that saw me off. There was one final thud of impact and then nothing. It seemed over too quickly. Suspiciously quickly even though I lay there with tears streaming down my face.
In my peripheral vision I could see him picking up a Polaroid camera from further along the hearth, then stepped behind me again.
“Why don’t you come and admire my handiwork, Ms X?”
I recognised the tinny clatter of her stilettos on the wooden floor and my cunt dripped. Soon she was close, her voice melodic and clear over the harsh throb of pervert’s voices.
“You do such beautiful work.”
“Look how clear the lettering is. How do you manage it?”
“A magician never reveals his secrets.”
“Shame. Girl, look at your backside now.” She knelt beside me and kissed my ear, holding the photograph in front of my face. There was my own left buttock, much reddened, but pale in comparison to the neat, blood-speckled lettering towards its upper third – FX in a serif font, and just above, a small, perfectly formed heart, already turning purplish.
“The heart fades, alas. I can top it up next week though. The lettering will scar if you tend to it properly.” he said from somewhere behind me, but I was lost, not listening, staring at the image of my vast expanse of skin, in the presence of my Miss.
Contented. Owned. Loved.
“And now everyone will know you are mine.” She whispered. “For always.”