Chapter 48: 48
Beth wrapped her fingers around the metal bars of the cage. Tensing her arms, she lifted her body
weight off her ass and right leg, which was curled under her. When she couldn’t hold herself up any
more, she relaxed, the crosshatched bars that made up the bottom of the cage settling painfully into
Though she’d been careful, the slight movement was enough to set the cage rocking from side to side,
the ground of the dimly lit playroom five feet below her shifting dizzyingly. Beth closed her eyes until the
cage stilled again.
Madame Cat had said that today they were going to play the checklist game. Since she was collared,
Beth had known who her partner would be, but she’d harbored a small hope that whatever her letter
was would include things that might be more interesting and pleasurable than her normal play with
Those hopes had been dashed when Madame Cat had put her into this uncomfortable contraption.
Shaped like an old-fashioned domed birdcage, it was just tall enough that Beth was able to sit upright,
but the diameter kept her legs bent at awkward angles. Currently she had her right leg half under her,
foot sticking out between the bars, her left leg folded up so her thigh was against her bare breast.
Beth sighed and laid her cheek against her knee. The cage meant Madame Cat had drawn the letter C
in the game. Beth had a very good memory and was fairly certain she knew exactly what lay in store.
The rules of the game, and of the club, meant that Madame Cat couldn’t do anything that Beth had
indicated was a hard “no” on her checklist, but Madame Cat was creative—she could probably find a
way to come close without crossing the line.
Whatever anticipation and hope Beth had when her Mistress had announced that this weekend was
devoted to the game died as she sat curled in the cage repeating the “C” section of the BDSM
Checklist in her head.
* * *
“James, darling, how are you?”
James stood as Madame Cat, a lovely African American woman, breezed into the Den. She wore
slacks and a silk blouse, which was far from her normal leather and chains Domme wear.
His confusion must have shown on his face, because she smiled as she leaned in to kiss his cheek in
“I know, not the ideal attire, but I can’t stay long.”
James frowned. He’d assumed that he and his partners would spend the weekend playing the game. It
was slightly annoying to know he’d come all this way for essentially nothing.
Cat shook her wrist until the slim gold watch was perfectly positioned for her to check the time. “I want
to be out of here by three. Hopefully I can beat the traffic headed south.”
“I was unaware we were operating under a time limitation.” James kept his voice as mild as he could.
The weekend did not have to be a total loss—there would be plenty of people here to play with later,
and he never had trouble picking up a willing sub for the weekend.
Madame Cat frowned. “Didn’t Master Leo talk to you?”
“I spoke with Master Mikael earlier.”
“And he didn’t explain?” Now Madame Cat’s voice held the same hint of irritation that his did.
“He gave me this.” James held up the envelope. “All it has is your name and a checklist for your sub.
He said the rest of it was up to you to explain.”
“Ah, well.” Cat settled back in her chair. “I’m afraid today is my last day at Las Palmas.”
“I’m moving to DC. Given my new position, it’s best to cut ties with Las Palmas.”
James nodded. He’d heard that Madame Cat did something involving politics, which had always
seemed incredibly dangerous to him—a secret life as a Domme would be a wonderful political scandal.
“I’d thought to have more time,” she continued, “but my flight leaves at 7. I’m only here to uncollar
James stiffened. “You’re ending your relationship?”
“Yes, which is sad because Beth is so delicious. She’s quiet and obedient. Everything I could want.”
True regret pinched the corners of Cat’s eyes.
James tapped two fingers on the arm of the leather and wood chair. “And my role is to play therapist to
your sub and distract her for the weekend?”
Cat’s face showed her displeasure with his tone, but James didn’t care. He had no desire to spend his
time dealing with the emotional messes other Doms made of their subs.
“Hardly. Beth and I are not some great love story. We are more business associates than lovers. When
I told the overseers I would be resigning my membership, they told me they were announcing a new
game and suggested I uncollar Beth as part of it.”
James sighed. Plucking the envelope off the side table he took out a glossy photo of the submissive in
question. Beth was striking rather than pretty, with brown hair cut in a ruler straight line just above her
shoulders. Her eyes were equally brown, and seemed large in her fox-like face.
He recognized her, though they’d never played. Beth was one of those subs who was always around,
an excellent and obedient assistant in scenes focused on others. She was most often seen playing with
Doms who preferred a stricter version of BDSM play than James used. If he was remembering
correctly, Cat’s favorite thing to do was to use her as a footstool, pushing Beth more into the realm of
“slave” than “submissive.”
“If you must know, you’re not the Dom I would have picked for Beth.” Though Cat’s tone was neutral,
James could detect the slight derision in her words, could tell that she thought his type of domination
was too soft.
“And Beth is not the sub I would have picked for myself,” he responded curtly. But when James looked
at Beth’s picture, all he could think about was what Master Mikael had said, his implication that while
Beth was obedient, she was also “closed.”
One thing James couldn’t resist was a puzzle. It was why he was so good at figuring out people’s
emotional states, at “fixing” subs—he liked taking clues and piecing them together into a complete
“I have her waiting. I’m afraid I didn’t have time to tell her anything other than this weekend was for the
checklist game.” Madame Cat rose. “Shall we?”
Tucking the photo back into the envelope, James stood and motioned for the Domme to precede him.
* * *
Beth lifted her head from her knee when the door opened, but kept her gaze down. There were two
sets of footsteps, the click of heels which she recognized as Madame Cat’s, and then another set she
thought sounded like a man’s. She closed her eyes when spotlights flicked on, the bright white beams
focused on the cage.
Her eyes were still closed when the crop struck the bottom of her right foot. The blow was unexpected
and painful. Beth sucked in a breath and jerked, then wiggled around until all her body parts were in the
“You’re such fun, girlie.” Madame’s words were soft and regretful, at odds with the harsh blow.
Beth opened her eyes, focusing on the ground. She could see her Mistress’s feet. Madame Cat was
wearing fashionable, shiny, cream colored stilettos and ankle length gray slacks, nothing like her
normal wardrobe. Beth had noticed the clothes when her Mistress had locked her in her collar and
placed her in the cage, but Beth had assumed that when she returned she’d have changed. The fact
that she was still in street clothes had to mean something significant.
“You know how much I’ve enjoyed our time together.”
What was going on? Beth didn’t pause to try to figure it out, knowing waiting too long to reply was
disrespectful. “Yes, Mistress.”
“I will miss our time together. I doubt I’ll have the opportunity to play with a sub again, let alone one as
obedient as you.”
Questions were poised on the tip of Beth’s tongue, but she held them back.
“Lean forward so I can reach your collar.”
This time Beth was so startled by the command that she didn’t react in time.
“Beth.” Madame’s voice was sharp with warning.
Grabbing the bars, Beth struggled to shift her position to obey. She was finally able to get both legs
under her so she was kneeling with her feet and ankles sticking out of the bars, her upper body bent
Madame Cat pulled a chain from around her neck, the small, shiny key to the padlock on Beth’s collar
glinting in the light.
“I’m leaving Las Palmas, and can no longer be your Mistress. As of this moment I am removing my
collar from you.”
Despite all her training she was so surprised she looked up, but the lights prevented her from seeing
Madame Cat well. Now? It was all over now? She didn’t realize her Mistress was planning to move so
Beth dropped her gaze, hoping her breach hadn’t been noticed. Plus it allowed her to hide her
expression, which she feared would show something Beth herself didn’t understand yet.
It wasn’t the loss of the collar, or of her Domme that upset her, but her Mistress’s departure meant the
end of her time as a submissive, the end of yet another failed attempt to interact with other people in a
Madame Cat stuck her hands through the bars, stroking Beth’s cheek, then slapping it lightly. “I will
miss you, girlie.”
Intellectually Beth knew that Madame Cat wouldn’t really miss her—she’d miss having a perfectly
obedient sub, but still, those words, that hint of connection, were the one thing that had kept Beth
Madame Cat unlocked the collar, then gently pulled it off, slipping it out through the bars of the cage.
Beth curled her fingers into fists. Without the weight and symbolism of the collar around her neck, the
cage suddenly felt foreign and intimidating, as if she really were some captured creature rather than a
willing participant in a dangerous but controlled game.
“I didn’t lie to you.” Madame Cat toyed with the collar as she spoke, the metal clanking softly. “This
weekend really is about playing the overseers’ game, about exploring the letter C.” Madame Cat
laughed. “It almost sounds like a children’s game if you say it like that.
“What you don’t know is that you and I were not the only ones assigned to this letter. We have another
Though her gaze was focused on the floor, Beth saw Madame Cat check her watch. “I have to leave,
so I’m going to turn it over to him.”
“Him” must refer to the other set of footsteps Beth had heard.
“I got to play for two of the items. Collar and cage.” Madame Cat gave the cage a gentle push. Beth
quickly grabbed the bars and closed her eyes as she swung through the air. Her weight shifted along
with the cage, alternately forcing her body weight painfully onto her knees and lower shins.
“The rest of the letter C I leave to him.” Mistress Cat grabbed the cage, holding it still just long enough
to reach in with the other hand and give Beth’s left nipple a hard pinch. Still holding the tip of her
breast, Mistress drew the cage forward and then let go. As it swung back, Beth’s nipple stretched then
pulled from her Mistress’s grip. Beth let out a little hiss of pain, which seemed to be what her Mistress
wanted. Madame Cat sighed regretfully, then stepped back and without another word walked out of the
playroom. Leaving Beth with an ease that was anything but flattering.
Beth closed her eyes as the cage swung, quickly sorting through what had just happened, and trying to
assign a feeling and conclusion to each thing, a technique she’d developed to help herself process
events and conversations.
She was no longer collared. The timing was surprising, though the event was not. She felt…resigned,
or was it relieved?
She was still a member of the club, and because of that was still subject to the rules of the game. This
negated her plan to leave the club as soon as she was uncollared. She felt irritated at having her plan
She was not alone in this room. The “him” Madame Cat had referred to had been assigned to the letter
C by the checklist game. She felt excited.
Despite her resolution to end this part of her life, the idea of playing with a new Dom was thrilling. The
unknown, the possibilities, the hope of experiencing the feelings and physical pleasures that other subs
talked about, was enough to have Beth’s heartbeat speeding up and her skin tingling.
Her eyes were still closed when she heard the man move closer. A moment later the cage stopped
swinging, then warm hands covered hers where she clenched the bars.
Please, oh please, she thought. Let this time be different.