A leap of faith
The story you’re about to read is a work of fiction, delving in the themes of fetish and human sexuality, as well as alternative ways of life and display of love. This is a work of fiction with explicit sexual content and language, intended for ADULT AUDIENCES ONLY. All the names, not restricted to, but including, characters, businesses or places, events or incidents, are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. All sexual activity in this work is consensual and all sexually active characters are 18 years of age or older.
Do not proceed if these subjects are either illegal in your country of origin, or might cause you shock or discomfort.
This story was originally written as part of a set of stories named “Die Gummihaus”, which are set in the Real Life RubberMansion universe of stories, in which the games take place. This particular story was Chapter 3 on that series.
It’s funny how time flies. It does, whenever it wants to. And it wants to more often the older you get. Last week was the first anniversary of my consideration collar. It was a nice dinner at home, some play, much fun. Owner made sure it was a special night and I felt special. My mind eventually gets back to that bondage that seemed to take on forever, and Owner warming up my back with the flogger, taking me to that very special place where I just trip into eternal bliss and seem to lose track of time and space and just drift in submissive lust. I stop and catch myself playing with the loop of my collar, and try to focus back into work.
This is a very important project. Some representatives have been in contact for a while, and been here for a week now, as they want to hire the firm to tackle a new train station. Yet another train station. I won’t complain, it’s the kind of work any architect dreams about. High budget, and freedom to create as long as you can make it grand and incorporate their cultural references in it.
Right now my boss is on the third or fourth meeting in a week, in his room with the new clients, which is quite peculiar. Usually these meetings are cheery and by now it would have finished, and me and the others would have joined in to bounce ideas around, be assigned to what we have to do, and maybe later hit a put and get shitfaced while celebrating the fat paycheck. But they are so protocolar. There must be a dozen of them in there right now, and it’s hard to know who’s boss and who’s just tagging along for the international trip.
Anyway, I get back to the design of this water reuse system for an old building, as retrofitting old buildings into green standards is something I love even if underappreciated, when the doors of the boss’s room open and like a funerary procession, they walk out and without much more than goodbyes are out of the door. The boss looks at us with a face that makes the ones I make when I’m fisted look much happier and less painful. Well, as a matter of fact, they are happier, orgasmic as a matter of fact, but that’s not the point and let’s not miss the joke here. He comes to my little cluster and silently points a finger to me, and Paul, another colleague of mine, curling his index finger in a “with me” sign, he just suggests we join in his room.
“What’s wrong Adam?” I ask. Adam is never protocolar, he’s actually quite informal. And cheery. He is a real powerhouse, creative, outspoken and always positive really. And gay as an author I love once compared to a tree full of monkeys high on laughing gas. Seeing him with this face means horrible news.
“Nothing, nothing wrong, but we’ll have to have… some… minor adjustments to make here… to accomodate our new clients.”, he says in a tone of voice that makes me think I’m in a doctor, for a checkup, and he asks that “are you sitting? You want to bring someone in for me to read the test results out loud” sort of voice before you’re asked to pick if you want to hear the bad news, or really bad news first.
It’s me and Paul in there. We exchange glances knowing either we’re fired, or fucked, or both. We take the liberty of sitting down and keep each other company for the results.
“The clients… “, Adam went on with his newly found somber voice, “… are very conservative. To get the contract I had to reassure them that we can adjust and take a more conservative approach too. They see being conservative as the same as being professional, and there’s no way of changing that, we just have to accept our cultural differences and act accordingly.”
I shift on the chair, and Paul breaks sweat. Why is it that anytime you’re dealing with another culture, you’re the only one who has to make all the adjusting? Seems the standard when they have the paycheck and you need the money.
“It’s ok… we have been studying all their references and standards to respect during the design of the project. There won’t be any mishaps on that front.”, I volunteer. But of course, that’s not what he is talking about. That’s why me and Paul were reduced to “you and you, in the office”. It’s never good when you’re renamed into “you”.
“I know… but we must prove our seriousness. So… we must adjust our conduct a bit. Look, it’s hard enough for me to agree to all this, but it’s only a client. They’re going to put a team in here to work in tandem with us, for the duration of the project. Seems they want to keep an eye on us with a tight leash. But you both know it’s a big contract, and will be great for us. So, for that to work, we’re going to have to make their life here as easy as possible…”, Adam manages to say while almost sounding like he thinks this is a good thing, while me and Paul start getting apprehensive and waiting for being sacked. Then, Adam takes a moment to regain his breath for what comes next. This pause is horrible. And when it comes, it’s dry and painful.
“Paul, I would like if Stanley would no longer stop by… it would be nice if you could remove his picture from your desk too. And not wear your piercings to work. And the same goes for Jenny, I love Claire, you know we all do, but it would be nice if she didn’t show up here anymore, or called. Sorry, but you know Claire and how she is, and she would shock them too much. Can’t risk the contract on that. Sorry to ask you guys this… ” and keeps babbling about professionalism, and keep family life outside, we should show the client we’re company first and company second and project third and family should not play a role in business, but the words just go past my head as I feel sick like I took a punch in my stomach and now am about to puke.
So my sister is not allowed here. I know they all think she’s my wife… I know it’s better that they think like this, because it’s easier to take than the whole truth, but somehow, something inside of me starts to boil at the total and I feel his complete disregard for my dignity as a human being as an increasing sensation of humiliation, in the worst sense. Anyway, the fear of losing the job strikes now and puts me on an edge, and I see Paul is there to keep me company. I feel like crying, but I hold my tears, wondering if this job is worth this. We nod in understanding of all we heard, and get up to slowly walk to the door and resume the day, and digest all this. Paul, being older than me, acts like this was sort of expected and won’t be the first time. But it’s a first for me, and he places his hand on my shoulder in a reassuring way. We turn and start walking out.
“And Jenny, that punk collar thingy you wear on your neck, it’s cute on a 20-something girl in college, but you’re over 40… you should start dressing more appropriately for the office, no more shiny black punkwear… I’d like you to stop wearing it from tomorrow on when here… how you dress outside of course, is of your own business…”, he says before I am out of the room. I guess it was clear to everyone it wasn’t just a punk thingy as I froze with one hand on the doorframe.
For a time I don’t know how long, I feel like my I’m falling down and I’m being swallowed by the ground. When I regained my senses I could notice, I was still there, standing in the doorway for I have no idea how long, and my fingers are holding the collar in a very protective way. I can’t control myself, am about to panic. I storm past Paul, who was asking me if I was alright, and go into the hall, all I know is that I want to get out of that place… I press the down button on the elevator… and when it’s not here already, I punch it a couple of times before running down the stairs, all the 12 floors. I run out of the building, breathless and covered in sweat, with my feet in flames from the heels… and sit on a bench outside to catch my breath, which doesn’t prevent the world from spinning… that’s the first time I notice there are tears all over my face.
The jerk! The Motherfucker! Doesn’t take much before Anna, the secretary my sister is mentoring, comes around and places her hand in my shoulder and sit by my side. We don’t exchange a single word, she just takes my head into her lap while I cry, my hand still covering my collar protectively.
Felt like forever before I finished crying… got a grip of myself again, and managed to go back into the office. Anna was kind enough to ask Adam if I could take the rest of the day off, something to which he did consent… and I got my things and decided to go home. I ride the elevator down this time… and head to the bus stop. I feel empty right now and not sure what to do. The phone rings, it’s Scarlet. I don’t take it. I start walking, just, anywhere, lost. The phone keeps ringing and I don’t even pick it up… I can’t speak to them right now, I’m lost and afraid and panic takes over… I just keep walking without a place to go.
I stop at a park across town. The sun has come down a while ago, and I’m still here, feeling lost. My cell phone is out of battery power by now, damn smartphones, my old crappy one would last days without a single recharge. I must have lost of how many times I felt the vibration, and then the sound of messages in my mailbox. I know it’s my family and I feel guilty, but I don’t know what to say. I feel like going home, but to which one? Where is home right now? My feet hurt, my head hurts, my tears are dry over my face.
The thing about the big city, I walked hours crying my heart out, and everyone looked, but not a single shoulder of comfort. I have never felt so much alone in my whole life. I look up to the cloudy sky, and amongst the darkness, I see a single star shine, and paying more attention, I see it’s companions. Te Punga. I get up and go seek a cab.
I give the driver the instructions he needs and he looks at me with a “Are you fucking me” look. I assure him I can afford it, and just curl down in the back seat and try to keep looking at the stars trough the rear window.
I pay the cab driver while Scarlet and Shade run trough the gate and hug me. And then Scarlet gives me a hot hard slap across my face telling me never to do that again. She doesn’t hold back, and she’s strong enough to almost toss me to the ground with that one. They also have dried up tears across their faces. I feel like crap and start crying again. They tell me Owner is on my apartment waiting for me and will be furious when they tell I’m here. I only say I had to come home, I had to feel home. But as they explain what is going on, I see Owner is indeed furious. Not because I didn’t go there or came here, but because I ignored my family’s phone calls, because I roamed without saying where I was, and shielded myself from them. That instead of turning to them, I ran away from them. That’s why Owner is furious. And shame grows fast in me.
We walk inside, and Shade phones our Owner and passes me the phone… I can hear the screams and the painful words. I am so ashamed I don’t even want to remember them, but they will be carved in my soul for a long time. I don’t say anything, there’s nothing to be said. I just nod, and pass the phone back to Shade when Owner tells me to, and she nods once more, says a few things, and ends the call saying Owner is on the way home, and I should wait here.
By now, Scarlet comes out of the kitchen with another of her helbal teas, this time a much nicer one than usual, even sweetened with honey, and we all sit on the sofa… and I start telling what happened, to their nodding faces, saying they already knew, Anna had phoned in and filled them all in what happened. I keep crying, feeling so lost, and now feeling I screwed up so badly for showing so little trust in them, but it doesn’t really matter anymore.
After a while, we all fall into silence, looking into the center of the room, some bad blood has been spilled into this family and we need Owner to sort this out. I say I love them, Scarlet reminds me it’s more than just love. Shade is holding out a lot, I can see in her eyes, she’s holding a lot of pain and anger but not speaking a word. I’m actually scared of what goes inside her eyes right now. Scarlet says she can understand more or less, but is still hurt I did not take her calls. She’s the only one still making some conversation with me, which makes me all the more apprehensive.
But even this small conversation that goes nowhere falls silent when we hear the engine of Owner’s car on the driveway and the front gate opening. My heart starts to pound faster and faster as that engine comes closer to the house, and I start crying when it shuts down, and the car door opens, and closes with a huge violent toss. Shade is already by the front door opening for Owner to come in, and I look into those eyes, so hurt, and dried up tears too, something I never expected to see in those eyes. Such a misfit ornation to something that so far only had love and tenderness and understanding for me.
I feel unworthy and kneel down, looking down… I can’t look into those eyes anymore, and tears start rolling down my eyes once more. Owner walks right past me and sits on the big chair… and asks me to take off my skirt, and lay down, over my Owner’s knees. I do so, the belt is removed, and Owner takes of the glove and picks up a paddle that has been positioned there early today. I think some consideration on what to do to me has already been on the way. This is going to be a hard one.
“This my dear… is for you to remember to never ever do this to your family again…COUNT!” and starts beating hard. And harder than I ever took. This is not to discipline or to train, but to punish and takes me over my pain threshold into sheer pure white blinding pain. I count for the first few strikes… but after a dozen I can’t voice the numbers anymore, just being a mass of painful tears and snot and screams. When it’s over, I’m told to stand, which I barely can… and then to kneel… so we could talk… which I do, despite the pain still burning down and deep.
Anna phoned ahead of me and filled them into everything that happened into the office. Hurts me a bit to think right now she’s a more reliable source of information than myself. I am crying, but not from the pain in my derriere. I don’t feel my butt right now, to be honest. And I’m not a natural masochist, so, so much pain all in one go is just pain for me, which Owner is fully aware of. Was just the pure, cold, harsh punishment it was meant to be. I keep crying and sobbing and burst all out. The panic. The fear of my collar being taken away from me. The assault on my dignity as a person. The anger of not being able to scream the name of my family, and having to pretend Scarlet is my wife and not my sister. And having to hide this collar is the token of love of my Owner, and the sign I’m Owner’s property.
Owner just nods, a tear or two running down that usually sweet and always wise face. My sisters move to each side of the big chair, and Owner just tells me to follow into the dungeon. I haven’t been here in a couple of months, I almost forgot it was part of the house. My sisters help me up and down the stairway to what was once a basement. Owner now walks to a cabinet and turns to me with two things. In the right hand, a key to my current consideration collar. On the left hand, a very serious looking metal collar, just like the ones my sisters wear.
“You know, last week I ordered this for you… we were getting prepared for your final step into this family. You earned it over the course of the last year, and put it all to crappers in a single day.”.
I feel more tears come from my eyes as I mumble how sorry I am, and that I never intended to hurt them, but I was lost in panic and fear. I was afraid my collar would be taken away from me, or I would lose my job. Owner just nods.
“Well, we were planning this special ceremony and a party with our friends for you, make a big thing, take pictures for the family album, but you never have things the happy way, do you Snow? Well, here’s your choice. You can leave this family, I will unlock you, and you go back to your job without having to worry about Scarlet showing up anymore, or your collar causing social discomfort. Or, you can accept us, in all we are, and yourself, in all you are, for the rest of your life. I’m not happy you ran away from us instead of seeking us for support, and making us feel so much pain for that, but I guess your bum will be a nice reminder never to do that again for the next weeks. And I know that didn’t come from lack of love, that did come from excess of fear. But that must never happen again, and for that, you must choose now.” Owner said, then went silent, one object on each hand.”So, my dear Snow, what is it going to be?”
Between sobs and tears, I silently point with a shaking finger to the collar, and owner comes to me, unlocks my current one, and places the new metal one around my neck, and locks it in place, making sure the words “SNOW” are right under my chin, over my heart. Inside, I could not see, had the inscription “Bound by love, forever, till the day I die”.
“There, there…now, this one no one else can take away from you”, Owner says in my ear, and embraces me. My sisters come closer and embrace us too, too many tears and pain, something that won’t be washed away any soon, or any easy, but at least I feel we took the first step.
After a while, Owner goes for a shower, and I stay in the dungeon with Scarlet for a while, still crying. Shade is upstairs ordering some chinese food. I’ll have to spend some time with her at some point, to have an honest talk and let all she felt come out. I know she’s still hurt. I keep mumbling I’m sorry, but Scarlet just says she knows… and confesses I’m not the first one to do it. Shade did something similar and so did Scarlet. And there was yet another girl, Serenity, who despite her name, in an incredible display of turmoil, chose the freedom long before she was even considered for permanent collaring, when her birth family got aware of Owner and her lifestyle, and she opted for a common life. And now she’s married and have two kids, living as a housewife somewhere else. She still pops up in parties occasionally, but she would never be able to face Owner, and opts to stay away from the family, and that’s why I never got to know of her. Sans husband, Scarlet made sure to add. “There’s only so far you can run away from yourself, little one, and that’s never so far you can’t find your chaser by looking in a mirror”.
I hold the front of the collar hard… feel how solid it is… and yes, I know this one can’t be taken away from me by the likes of Adam. No matter what.
Owner leaves us on the entrance of building while going to seek a parking spot for the car. Shade and Scarlet go with me inside, for support and something else, because I asked them to, because I’m tired of lies, because I want everyone to know who I am. We all walk into the office as a proud family and greet Anna. Me and Shade in business suits, hiding our rubber bodysuits underneath. Scarlet, as usual, with a pinstriped latex suit. She always has to take the cake. Business-like glasses and her hair in a very strict bun. She’d made many man squirm in their seats now.
We go past Paul, who is sitting on his picture less, flower less, toy less booth, and straight into Adam’s office. Adam is seriously disturbed by seeing me just walk in, while he’s discussing something with the client head of the project. I ask for a minute to talk to him in private. Considering everything yesterday, he consents, but instead of asking the client to leave for a minute to discuss things with me, he leaves his office and go with us into the meeting room instead. He is so lost, and doesn’t even know it. I couldn’t help notice the photo of his puppies with his husband of 20 years is no longer on his desk as well, and he is wearing an unusually plain black suit. A nice expensive suit, but shocking as it’s not the normal T-shirt with a lumberjack ( yeah, bear ) shirt on top for which Adam is notorious for when not in a meeting somewhere else, which he would go back to as soon as in his office. He sold out his dignity for money. I won’t.
I can see he is shocked when he sees that leather collar that bothered him was replaced by a solid stainless steel one, and that both Shade and Scarlet have matching ones. I guess right now his mind is doing a lot of adding operations, that are needless as I regain my dignity, word by word. I say I’m sorry I misled them into thinking Scarlet was my wife, when we are actually sisters in a bigger poly family. And introduce my sister Shade, which he could contact if he later on finds himself in legal problems with the client. Which I would think is more than likely. I tell him he has no longer to worry about the leather collar, or Scarlet showing up at work, because I would be leaving. I made it clear I no longer think that project would be fruitful to my career, and personal life for me is a big thing.
He just nods, silently. I said if he didn’t mind, I’d like to pick my personal things from my drawers, and hand him my letter of resignation. Shade wrote it herself, it’s all very legal. He picks it up, reads it silently despite his lips moving, and dryly says he is very sorry to see me go, because he had hopes I’d be one of the main assets in the office in the future and a possible project leader. We shake hands, just in time for Owner to arrive at the meeting room door and say on that very nonchalant way of taking over a room.
“You must be Adam, heard a lot about you. Nice place you got. I’m here for my girls.”
Yeah, right on the liver. Owner is not to go for amenities. Even less when there’s a feeling some asshole threw a bunch of crap in the overall direction of our family. But I have to take the blame for much of the crap tossed around. It’s not all on Adam, but I must say, felt good to see that. I go to my desk with a bag, and toss in the few personal things I still had there. Just a few books and a coffee mug. I’m not one for having a messy workstation.
We leave, and Scarlet blinks a sassy eye to Anna, just before we walk out of the office and into the hall. Yeah, a lot of people got up to see us walk out. Felt good.
As we get into the car, Owner said Scarlet and I will be dropped by my old apartment to pick my things, because I move in today. Apparently, they had one of the rooms ready for me, for a month now, under my nose. I should pick what I need for the night, and go home. Then Owner will drop Scarlet at her job, and go on with the day as usual.
I’m not sure if my career ended today, or starts for real today. All I know is that in the crossroads of life, I think I took the right turn. It’s never easy, it’s never without a price. But I’m happy I have my dignity back. I won it, I earned it. And most of all, it’s great to know I have a family to count on in the hardest of times.
Aroha anei te punga a whanau.
It’s been a few months since I left that office. Life has been much more colorful, and much more interesting since then. Shade did forgive me, but not forget. She never does, with anything. Scarlet saw it as part of my growing into a better person, and is proud of the path I took. My career did not end as I was afraid of, and even if some doors closed for me, my family helped me get my own private firm going from home, and started very small, with a few commissions from friends, that helped me build a portfolio and then get going. Even if there are good and bad moments, there’s very little you can’t achieve with the love and help of friends and family. That’s the biggest treasure in life, and I’m sorry for those who are not fortunate enough to have it, or don’t see what they have.
Also, it helped me take my photography out of the back burner and back into my life. It’s tricky being a photographer and architect, as both are so time consuming to get new business flow in, but at least I do it well, and it’s great to share the office at home during the day with Scarlet. And yes, work gets done, even if sometimes we do take a break. Maybe I’ll never get those big commissions I always dreamed about, or the big fat million dollar contracts which lead to winning prizes, but I’m happy, and I do what I love.
Paul and Anna have been keeping me up to date with gossips on the old job. Eventually, Paul left too, and is now on a smaller firm where Stanley can stop by with bagels loved by the whole staff every now and then.
Seems the client were impossible to work with. They kept setting unachievable milestones and objectives for the project, and get angry at Adam when they fail, and like we all know, shit only rolls downhill. And those clients to work in tandem became like ghosts, checking everyone at every second for everything. Nothing got done without their approval. They made Adam fire “the laziest” ones, including two talented interns.
Paul left when he couldn’t take the sleepless nights and constant non-paid overtimes. The final drop was when he took his vacation time for a long planned trip with Stanley, and the client project leader said he would not be allowed to leave, because it was considered lazy and incompetent to abandon a project for family leisure. Paul took the hint Adam no longer made any calls, and that’s when he walked out. Anna is still there, Adam raised all paychecks to avoid more people walking out of the firm, and as a secretary, she says she doesn’t have to handle that much crap, and will hardly find any places that pay this good.
But if I could see if I had opted for staying, my life would be an increasing shit pile for nothing, because eventually, the client decided to walk out of the firm and take the project to another firm. It seems someone did the wrong math on Adam’s name and birth date, or they got his birth date wrong and later he gave them the right one, something of that sort, and it seems that instead of being a person of very favorable luck for this project, he is a person of incredibly incompatibility with the horoscope of the chief client, which would explain why they were having so many problems working with us and why so many incompetent people were in this project. I don’t buy that, I personally believe they found someone to do it cheaper and faster from that point on.
I can’t help to feel sorry for Adam, but it was his choice on which path to take, and he made it his decision to walk down this one.
As I made mine.