Broken Rules and Broken Doors

Some Tops are big on Rules, and some have almost none at all.  The Surgeon, for instance, only had a few for me: I wasn’t allowed to swear in his presence, I couldn’t wear pants (shorts were okay in the summertime sometimes, though–he loved my legs), and I had to ask his permission before I changed my appearance in any significant way, which meant no radical hairdo changes.  Oh, and he made me quit smoking almost immediately, which was actually one of the better things he ever did for me.

This one–Mr. Toast-for-Dinner, Esq.– was a big Rules guy, which didn’t bother me at all.  I like rules and thrive in structured environments, which is one reason I generally loved academia so much.  I’m also, believe it or not, generally a people-pleaser and don’t have any problems with authority I find uncorrupt and legitimate.

Well, one of his rules was that I wasn’t allowed to wear clothing in the house unless we had company over, or a repair person or the cleaning service was visiting.  The first thing I’d do when I got back to his place (if he was home or coming home) would be to go to my room and undress and either hang my clothes back up or put them in the hamper to be laundered.

One day, he called me ahead to let me know that a few of his colleagues were coming back with him to discuss some of the cases they were working on.  I put on a nice conservative dress, refreshed my makeup and hairdo, and, when everyone arrived, I tried to play charming and unobtrusive hostess: keep a low-wattage smile on my face, get everyone refreshments, and otherwise remain attentive but as unobtrusive as possible.

I was clearing the coffee tables and loading up the dishwasher when they left three hours later.  I was also, I must admit, playing on my phone.

“Margo,” he looked up from the papers he was going over with a neon yellow highlighter.


“Your dress.”

I looked down at myself, confused, and asked him if there was something wrong with it.  It was navy blue with a high neck and the hem was an inch above my knee.  Attractive, but not sexy–the sort of thing you could wear in a somewhat formal office environment.

“Why are you still wearing it?”  He put his papers down and rose to his feet suddenly.

I looked at the clock.  Yeah, company had been gone for almost 40 minutes.

“Sorry.  I’ll go to my room and take it off,” I said.

He started to walk towards me pretty aggressively, and, instinctively, I started to back up.

“Why did you forget?”  He didn’t scream, but his voice sounded angry.

“I was distracted!  I just forgot!  I’ll go take it off right now!”

Then I turned my back on him and started running down the hallway, to my room.

It could have ended there…but something happened.  He overreacted.  All of a sudden, I heard him start running after me.

I guess I overreacted too, because I freaked out.  I mean, I’m not used to men chasing me down, at least in the literal sense.   I got scared.  I panicked.

I ran straight past my bedroom to the end of the hall, ran into the bedroom there, closed the door, and locked it behind me.

I’d picked the worst possible room in the house to run to (but of course, I wasn’t thinking).  Every other bedroom had a heavy steelwood door with a deadbolt lock.  As it turned out, I’d just locked myself inside the bedroom that was used for guests who visited with children: it had two twin beds for kids, a crib…and the door was a light, cheap piece of shit you could buy at Home Depot.  The lock was one of those twist ones in the doorknob.

He was at the door not two seconds behind me, and I saw him rattling the doorknob.

“Margo, unlock the door,” he said.

“No!  Why the hell are you chasing me?  I said I’d take the dress off!”

The doorknob rattled, more violently this time.

“Open the door!”

“No!  You’re scaring me!”

He hit it.  Hard.  I jumped.

“I won’t allow you to hide from me,” he said.

(In retrospect, that is what really set him off: the fact that I tried to lock him out.  If I hadn’t done that, he probably would have just ripped my clothes off and given me a spanking and forgotten about it once I was demonstrably contrite.)

“Go away!” I yelled, backing away from the door.

There was a long pause…

….and then a huge thud against the door.  HUGE.

Another pause.  Then, the thud.

I recognized what it was almost immediately: he was backing up, getting in a few running steps, and launching himself shoulder-first into the door.

He was banging the door down.

I almost had a complete panic attack, because I’ve had men bang down doors to get to me twice in my life, and both times resulted in hideous experiences once they got in.

He hit it again.  And again.  And again.

How am I going to handle this…?

When he hit it again, he broke the flimsy lock and the door burst open.  He stepped inside and stood there, looking at me.  His hair was disheveled and half of his shirt had come untucked.

“What the hell are you doing?”  I asked, crossing my arms over my chest.  I tried to sound as composed as possible, which was difficult with all the adrenaline pumping through me.

“Why did you lock the door?” he yelled.  It was–is–the only time I’d heard him scream.

“Because you’re acting like a crazy person!”

He stood there, blinking, like that hadn’t occurred to him.

I pointed at the broken door.  “You just broke down the door in your own home chasing after a terrified girl half your age!  You broke your own property!”

It was true: he’d completely lost control of the situation, which was what I was trying to impress on him, because he was a control-freak.

“You look ridiculous!”  I reiterated.

He looked at me, turned at the waist and looked back at the door, and then came back to me.

Then he turned around and walked out without a word.  He went to his bedroom and closed the door.

I ran back to my room (no long on the door), got my guns and my purse, bolted for another bedroom and locked myself inside.  I slept there overnight and didn’t leave until I heard him go to work in the morning.

We completely ignored each other for two days.  When I was in the house, I stayed in that bedroom with a deadbolt lock and didn’t come out.  It had a private bathroom and when he was at work I stocked up on snacks and water, so I didn’t have to leave when he was home.

After two days, he slipped a card underneath my door.  It was a polite request that I join him for dinner.  I sent him a text message saying that I would attend.

He cooked dinner and rapped gently on my door to let me know it was ready.  I’d deliberately worn the same dress I was wearing when he threw his temper tantrum.

“I apologize.  My behavior was very impulsive and out of character for me.  It won’t happen again.  I’m ashamed of myself,” he said at the table.

I don’t think that last part is true–I don’t think this man has any use for shame–but he kept his word about the rest of it: no doors have been broken down since.

Part II: Bath Time

I heard him running the bath in the second bathroom down the hall.  We’d spent a lot of time there, after dinner and before bed.   He liked to wash my hair and soap me down with a fluffy sponge and sometimes even shave my legs for me, which was kind of sexy because it was nerve-wracking (I was always worried he was going to nick me, though he seldom did).

And we would talk.

At first I thought it was just going to be an occasional romantic gesture, but when I saw that he was making a ritual out of it, I was slightly concerned.  The reasons for my concern are entirely my own baggage: bathtime with Dad was one of my (only) happy early-childhood memories of the man.  For some reason, he got a big kick out of it.  I had lots of bath toys and we always used Mr. Bubble:


He’d sit on the toilet lid or get a chair and we’d make statues out of the bubbles and bubble hats  and throw foam Nerf balls back and forth and splash around, fun stuff like that.  Sadly–but necessarily–that had to end when I got older.  I don’t remember how old, but I was still pretty little.  Dad said that he was sorry, but I was getting too old and it wasn’t appropriate anymore and I would have to bathe myself from now on.  I was sad and disappointed, but, on some level, I understood what he was saying.

So, this nightly after-dinner bath ritual struck me, at first, as kinda paternalistic (honestly, though, I do have to wonder if that was his entire motivation, but I never had the balls to ask if he was trying to deliberately do the boogie-woogie all over my Daddy Issues), and I wasn’t sure if I was going to be comfortable with it.  Additionally, my bathtime is my alone-time, and when I’m with him, I didn’t get much privacy.

Well, it turned out to be fine.  It was easy for me to get over my minor hangup, and he really seemed to enjoy doing it, and we’d have fun. It made me feel cared about.  I even let him take some photos of me in the water, as long as I was in poses that concealed everything, which I would normally never let a man do (one of them turned out so well that he blew it up, had it professionally matted and framed, and hung it in the hallway close to his bedroom).

Plus, it would put me in a nice relaxed mood for when he beat the snot out of me during the sex later.

Tonight, bath time was no going to be so much fun.

I worried that he was up to something when he told me he’d draw the bath himself–I was the one who did that.  He had a huge copper tub and it took forever to fill.

Finally, I heard the water turn off.  He walked back into the dining room and told me it was almost ready, go wait in the bathroom.

I stood up stiffly from the table and walked nervously to the bathroom.

The tub was full of water, all right.  As usual.

But there was something different.  Something…off.

I looked in the mirror above the sinks.

There was no condensation on the glass.  No steam in the room.

The water was not hot.

He strode into the bathroom carrying an enormous bag of cubed party ice from the freezer.  In front of my unbelieving, horrified eyes, he tore open the bag and dumped the contents into the water.  Then he balled up the bag and put it into the waste container.

“Bath time!” he announced happily.

I’d been through icewater torture once before: Heinrich & Co. made me sit in a steel vat of it while they interrogated me the first day of Abduction Weekend.  Believe me, that shit’s no joke.  It was horrible, and I was not eager to re-create the experience, especially for no fucking reason (Abduction Weekend had a point).

“Nope,” I said.

“Get in.”

“I don’t want to.  This is cruel and unnecessary.”

“It’s my prerogative.”

“It’s not safe.”

He reached into his pocket and took out a mechanical egg timer he’d brought from the kitchen.  “You can do ten minutes.  That won’t hurt you.”

“Don’t make me do this,” I said.

“Margo,” he said, lowering his voice, “Do you really wish to turn this into a more serious confrontation?  We can put all of this behind us in ten minutes.”

What this boiled down to, for me, was: Do you want this punishment, or what’s behind door #3?  Because it’s not this, it’s going to be something else, sooner or later.  He wasn’t going to force me to get in the water.  He wasn’t going to pick me up and dump me in, though he was certainly strong enough to do that.  I could tell him to fuck off, get my purse, and go hole up in one of the spare bedrooms that had a deadbolt on the door.  He (probably) wouldn’t try to stop me.

But then…then I’d have to wait.  For the other shoe to drop.  And, almost certainly, unless he had a change of heart after sleeping on it…he’d be plotting.

Because it’s not over…until it’s over.

Be as stoical as possible, no matter how much it hurts.  Don’t break down, don’t beg, and don’t panic.  Don’t give him the satisfaction.

“This is a stupid thing to do for a man who needs my trust,” I said, and started to undress with my back to him.  “Later, you’ll feel like an idiot.”

I looked over my shoulder to check his reaction.  One thing that most of the men I get involved with have in common is that they think they are the pinnacles of human perfection in this world.  They are not used to being called idiots.  Rebukes to their judgement really throw them for a loop.

His mouth was open–I’d bet anything he was going to add more time to the timer as a penalty–but he seemed to think better of it and didn’t say anything.

I approached the tub and looked down at the water.  It was deep, with a layer of ice cubes bobbing merrily on the surface.

“Start the timer,” I said, and stepped into the bath.

It was freezing, but not so painful on my legs.  It was when I lowered myself into the water that the shock of the cold hit.  I yelped and hissed in breath.  Couldn’t be helped.

My skin broke out in gooseflesh all over and started to flush red almost immediately.

He pulled up a chair and sat, crossing his legs.  Front-row tickets to the show.

How can I describe it for you…?  Ten minutes in icewater feels like a very long time.  Long enough to suffer, but not long enough to go numb.  I started to shiver violently and when he handed me a bar of soap I had difficulty holding it; it kept squirting out of my shaking hand and I’d have to rummage around on the bottom of the tub to find it.  The ice cubes clinked against the copper walls.  My nose ran and my teeth chattered.

He watched me intensely but didn’t speak.  He didn’t need to.  I knew him well enough to know what he was experiencing: he was aroused by my distress and playing it cool for the time being because he needed to be in control of the immediate situation.  The sexual overtures would come later, when this was over.

He didn’t tell me to wash me hair, which was a small mercy.  Most of my hair got wet anyway, but I would not have wanted to drop my head into that water.

The bell on the egg timer chimed.

Very carefully–because I was shaking all over–I grabbed the edges of the tub for support, stood up, and stepped gingerly over the side.  I didn’t let go of the tub because I was having trouble straightening my legs and I was concerned about whether I’d fall down.

He watched me get out and then finally stood up and fetched a big fluffy towel from the rack.  He started to rub me dry with it.  I wanted to snatch the towel out of his hands and tell him that I’d do it myself, but, like I said, I was still unsteady and I also didn’t want him to hear my voice while I was still shivering.

“Brave girl,” he said.  His voice was gentle now.  “Can you walk?”

I shook my head.  Snot was still running out of my nose.  I wouldn’t look at him.

“Here,” he said, and wrapped the towel around my torso.  He bent, put his arm under my knees, and scooped me up.  “Let’s put you under the blankets.”

I hadn’t wanted to go to his bedroom, but I’d already capitulated on so much, and was in such a sorry state, that insisting on going to my own room seemed like a lost cause.

He carried me down the hallway and put me into “my” side of his bed, covering my damp, shivering body with the white down comforter.  When he covered me, I turned on my side away from him, looking the other way.

He left and came back with hot tea and a big bottle of water for me, laying them on the nightstand table.   Then he lowered the lights with dimmer switches and sat on the edge of the bed by my body and stroked the top of my head, which was peeking out from under the blanket.

“Where I was born, we heard stories about trolls who kept treasures of gold underneath the ground.  They guarded their treasure very jealously.  You are like a rare treasure, kept beneath the earth.  There are not very many like you.”

And, like myself, reader, you may make of that what you will.

Don’t Keep Him Waiting

(The blog’s been quiet because I burned the hell out of my hand and upper arm in the kitchen fire.  The injuries hurt like hell and also prevented me from typing.  I still can’t make a fist with my right hand and I had to take last week off from work because I look like a leper.  The wounds are improving daily, however, and they shouldn’t scar.)


It was 12:45 PM and I was in a cab going from his place near the Flatiron Building to the Upper East Side to meet him for lunch.  He’d made a reservation at a special place and wanted me to meet two of  his friends for the first time, who would be dining with us.

Well, I’d been in the cab for almost an hour and we’d just managed to pass Times Square.  Traffic was an absolute nightmare; the street might as well have been a parking lot.  I was freaking out because the reservation was at 1 PM and kicking myself for not taking the subway–I’d decided on a cab because it was hot and sticky outside and I knew that if I took the train I’d sweat all my makeup off and ruin my hairdo by the time I arrived.

On top of that, I couldn’t text him and let him know what was going on because my phone was dead. 

Now it didn’t matter whether that the cab had AC: I was sweating it out anyway.

After half an hour, we’d gotten to the East Side, but were still only halfway there.  I was panicking and knew that I needed to contact him and explain–there was no way I could just stand him up in front of his friends.  He’d kill me.

I asked the driver if I could use his phone.

“Sorry, no,” he said, which I felt was pretty fucking rude, given the fare I was running up.

Ten more minutes.

I saw a Radio Shack, told the driver I’d get out, and bolted for it.

Inside, I bought an overpriced phone charger and begged the staff to let me use an electrical outlet.  They could tell I wasn’t lying when I said that it was important.

Once I had power, I sent him a text explaining the situation.  By this time, I was about 40 minutes late for lunch.

He wrote back: Forget it.  Just go back to the apartment.  I’ll meet you there. 

(I would later learn that his friends had to cancel last-minute because of an emergency at work, which meant he’d been sitting at a table alone 40 minutes.)

I apologized profusely and took the subway back to his place.  I changed out of my dress and went to the kitchen to make a sandwich, because I still hadn’t eaten.

I was two bites into it when he walked in the door.

“I am so sorry about this afternoon.  The traffic was horrendous and I was stupid not to make sure my phone–”

He walked right up to me, snatched the sandwich right out of my hand, and threw it in the garbage can.

“If you won’t eat with me, you must not be hungry,” he said.

I stood there, blinking in surprise, letting it all sink in.

Finally, I sighed and nodded.  I understood: he was pissed and punishing me for it.  Okay, fine.  Personally, I didn’t think it was fair–the traffic wasn’t my fault, and I’d left in plenty of time–but, well, that’s life.

I guess I’ll have to wait till dinner, I thought.

I picked up a glass and went to the fridge to use the water filter.  I’d been in all that heat and I was very thirsty.

“No,” he said when I put my hand on it.

“No water?” I asked.

He shook his head.

I put the glass away and checked the clock.   Only about five and a half hours until dinner–unless he was working late or coming back to town completely jetlagged, he was a pretty consistent dinner-at-8 guy.  And when I was there, we always ate together.

Five and a half hours of thirst.  Not fun, but I’ve had worse.

“Stay in the library,” he said, and walked out.

I thought of dashing to the fridge for a bottle of water and immediately decided against it.  Better to wait.

I got my laptop and played on the internet for a few hours.  He came in to check on me every now and then.

Thirst isn’t fun.  I can ignore being hungry.  It’s much harder to ignore being thirsty.  My mouth was dry and it felt like my tongue was swelling.

Then I got a “bright” idea: the next time he poked his head in the door, I asked him if I could take a shower because I’d sweated on the subway all the way home (he’d taken one; I’d heard the water running).

“Why?  So that you can drink from the faucet?  No.”


I kept waiting, and at about 7 PM, he came back, and this time he was happy.

Oh thank God it’s over, I thought.

“I’m making shrimp scampi for dinner!” he announced, smiling.

“Great!  Do you want me to help you in the kitchen?  Set the table?”  About half the time, he wants me to help him make dinner.  He’s a good cook, and he teaches me things.  Other nights, he prefers to do it alone–besides torturing women, I think it’s how he relaxes after work.

“No, I’ll do it myself.”

Soon, I could smell the cooking and started envisioning a plate of shrimp and a few big glasses of ice water.  With condensation dew on the glass.  And a wedge of lemon.

“Dinner is ready, Margo!” he called from the kitchen.

I practically ran to the dining room.

It looked how it always looked, unless he was in a big hurry to get back to some work project: tablecloth, cloth napkins, two candles.  He was already seated.  Beautiful, aromatic plate of scampi, rice, glass of white wine, and water.

I pulled up to my place.

There, in the middle of the plate, was…a single piece of toast.

You son of a bitch, I thought.

“Please, sit down,” he said, gesturing with his hand.

I stiffly took my seat.

“You know, I think I lost my appetite,” I said.

“But I cooked for you!” He laughed at his own joke (it was true–he had, after all, toasted the bread).  “It would be rude not to eat.  So eat.”

Get it over with, I thought.

I picked up my toast and took a bite.  It was unbuttered, dry, and crunchy, and chewing it took forever in my desert of a mouth.  I couldn’t produce any saliva.  It scratched going down.

He sat there and ate his meal, happy as the proverbial clam, no doubt getting lost in self-congratulation at what a witty and clever fellow he was.

“This wine really matches the dish perfectly,” he said.

If I’d had cutlery, I just might have stabbed him in the hand with my fork.

I got about halfway through the slice of toast when I couldn’t take it anymore and  meekly asked if I could have some water.

“Of course!” he said, rising from his chair.  He went to the cabinet and selected a wide, shallow soup bowl, which he filled with water from the sink and carefully carried to me.  Then he took his chair.

I stared at it.  What the hell was I supposed to do with it?

I looked at him.  No feedback.  He just watched me and ate his food, smirking.

I reached out to grab the bowl in both hands–I guess I was supposed to tip the water out to drink, and hope it didn’t spill out the sides of my mouth and down my chest.

“Don’t use your hands,” he said, sharply.

“Well, hell, can I at least have a straw?

“No,” he said.

The bowl was shallow and had a flared rim.  There was no way to drink the water without literally putting my face in it.

Should I have been stubborn?  Refused?  My dignity was already gone, and I was thirsty.

I bent my head to the water and slurped at it.  It took a few slurps to get a mouthful of liquid, and they were loud.  The human face is not designed to drink that way.

When I sat back up, I felt water running down my chin.  He hadn’t given me a napkin, so I wiped it with the back of my arm.

“Better?” he asked.

I didn’t respond.

“Well, wetter, at least,” he said, and chuckled.

I finished my bread, took a few more noisy slurps of water, and asked to be excused from the table.

“No,” he said.

So I had to wait for him to finish his food and clear the table.   He blew out the candles, came up behind me, and put his hand on my shoulder.

“Ready for bath time now?”  He always gave me a bath after dinner unless he had really important work to do.  It was part of our nightly ritual when we were together.

Was it over?  Finally?  Was he done; satisfied?  I was angry but I was more than willing to let bygones be bygones if it meant he was finally going to forgive me and relax and I wouldn’t have to be stuck in this house with an unpredictable sadist anymore.  If he was happy with me again, well, hell, what’s a little Humiliation by Toast?  I’ve had a fuck of a lot worse, believe me.  In fact, I’ve done a fuck of a lot worse.

I pulled back my chair to stand up to go draw the bath, as usual.

He gently pushed me back down into the chair.

“I’ll do it tonight,” he said.

Uh-oh, I thought.

TO BE CONTINUED (it’s not pretty)




Update on the Grease Fire

Well, my landlord called me back, and I had the good sense not to apologize, which is my nature.  I mean, I cooked these corn dogs (even if I only pretended to eat them, because of my eating disorder), on med-low heat.  I turned my back for 2 minutes.

The handyman (landlord’s in another state) came and said, concerning the oven: “This is a cheap piece of shit made in China.  It overheated because it’s not wired professionally.”

(I immediately made a note of that, and the time, in the VERY UNFORTUNATE case I have to take my landlord to Small Claims Court.)

I still have blisters on my right arm and my right upper arm.  They have started to drain.  During session, I will cover them with non-stick gauze and neosporin.  I will also wear gloves and TRY to wear a shirt with sleeves unless a client requests something more risque, like a corset.

If he asks, well, it’s just a little white gauze on my upper arm, and I’ll tell him the truth and rip out my cell phone: it was a common grease fire.

I’m worried that jerks are going to assume I burned myself making crystal meth (HAHAHA!!!!! WRONG ADDICTION, MORONS!) but I really don’t care.  Half of landlords have souls made of coal dust and assume the worst, anyway)

Wish me luck.