A man burst into the studio and closed the door behind him. He was wearing all black leather, a biker's outfit with a long fringe on the back. His mane of blond hair was a mess and his beard was trimmed short. He clutched his bike helmet under his arm as he zipped his jacket open with an intensely troubled look.
Octavia was busy changing the sheets on the bed. She was wearing a form-fitting striped dress over dark leggings and her hair was up in a bun. She put the bed covers down and turned to look at him. In a carefully controlled voice, not wanting to provoke him, she said: "I was just cleaning up and going home."
He shook his head without looking at her. "I need you." His voice was hoarse, as if he had exerted himself recently. When he took the jacket with the long fringe off, it revealed a black t-shirt stretched tightly over his massive shoulders and drenched in sweat. The shirt had the word 'showpony' on it in a decorative font. He put the helmet and the jacket on the coat rack.
"That's not how this works, Blake." Her tone was firm and she crossed her arms, but she cautiously kept her distance. "You can't just expect me to be here at your beck and call. You're lucky I have time."
He rubbed his face and then finally looked her in the eye. "Please…" His jaw trembled and his eyes were moist and red.
"Have you been drinking?" She approached and touched his right shoulder.
He winced in pain and turned away with a guilty look in his eyes.
She sighed. "Drinking and fighting."
He replied under his breath: "One kinda led to the other." He stood there, his eyes on the floor, his body tense like a coiled spring, anxious and apologetic.
"I know how hard it is for you to ask for help." She reached up to cup his jaw, gently forcing him to look her in the eyes. "What do you need from me?"
"Stop me..." His voice cracked. He tried to swallow his tears and closed his eyes. "Before I let everything go to shit again."
With another sigh, she backed away and pointed at one of the chairs. "Sit down," She ordered. "And take off your boots."
He bent down to take off his boots as Octavia moved over to the counter and took out her phone to message Dan that she would be home later than planned. When she put the phone away and turned to look at Blake again, he was pacing the room like a caged tiger, wearing only his pants. The soggy shirt was on the chair and his cowboy boots lay under the chair. As he strode to and fro beside the bed, he rubbed his face and ran his hands through his hair, lost in his own distressed thoughts.
She crossed her arms. "I told you to sit down."
"I'm just so wound up." He muttered under his breath.
She frowned at him and asked pointedly: "Does it make you feel better?"
"No…" He finally stopped, staring at the floor again, balling his fists.
"Tell me what's going on, Blake." Her tone was carefully in the middle between worried and giving him orders, still afraid he might have an outburst.
He shook his head and wiped his mouth. "I can't… I just…"
"Shall I venture a guess, then?" She rolled her eyes and took a step closer. "You've been growing close with someone, they've been nice to you, they want you to be part of their family. And you pushed them away, afraid to get hurt again. You got drunk and lashed out and hurt them instead. How am I doing?"
He nodded silently as he reached up to rub his eyes. The silence was laden with guilt and pain.
"It's a miracle you haven't done the same to me yet." She said grimly.
"I would never!" He gave her a shocked look and came towards her, but she backed away.
"I have seen what you're capable of." She composed herself and drew up to her full height, which was still smaller than him. "I couldn't physically stop you no matter what I tried. So I need you to take the first step. Show me that you won't hurt me."
He hung his head and went down on his knees. "I'm sorry, Octavia. I would never lift a finger to hurt you."
"I want to believe you. But I haven't seen the other guy." She walked up to him and grabbed a fistful of his hair. "Look at me. Take a deep breath and look into my eyes. I have you now. You're mine."
"Yes." Frozen in place by her eyes, his mouth sagged open. He sat there staring up at her with his arms hanging down at his sides. He was drunk enough to be more suggestible than Octavia expected.
"And as you focus on me…" Her voice became soft and sultry. "Your vision narrows until you can only see my face and nothing else. Your thoughts narrow until there's nothing else but you in this moment looking up at me. Everything else falls away. Take a deep breath and feel yourself fall into my eyes."
His shoulders sagged as he breathed out and his eyes grew wider. The tension drained from his body as he sat there, blissfully enraptured.
She let go of his hair and softly stroked his fuzzy jaw. "I know you still have some pent up energy in there, even if you can't feel it right now. I know you want me to punish you. So, for this session, until you walk out that door again, whenever I slap you in the face, you go out like a light. As if you've just been hit with a lariat, you go down and you might even lose consciousness for a second. Whenever I slap you in the face. Like so." And she slapped him across the cheek.
His eyes rolled up into his head and he toppled over onto the floor, where he just lay for a second before blinking and shaking his head. He reached up to touch his cheek, as if his jaw hurt from the impact, and then he slowly pulled himself up to a sitting position. "I deserved that," he mumbled.
"I'm just getting started." She stepped towards him and pressed the tip of her shoe down on his sore shoulder. "You think you can just walk in here at all hours and expect me to deliver the punishment you crave?"
He groaned, trying to crawl away from her foot. "I'm sorry, Octavia. I just didn't know who else to turn to."
She released him and took a step back. "I realise that. And I'm glad you came to ask me for help when you needed it. I just want to make sure you know how getting a date with me is supposed to go."
He scrambled to his feet and nodded fervently. "I check in with you to see if you have time. We discuss what I want. Payment upfront. I know how it goes. I just…"
"Good." She walked to the middle of the open space of her studio, so she would have room to slap him around. "Now tell me what happened that got you so upset."
His shoulders tensed and he immediately averted his eyes again. He pressed his painful arm against his belly, as if it was a familiar injury and he knew how to support it without a sling, but he didn't reply.
"If you're going to be like that…" She beckoned him with two fingers. "Come over here."
For a moment, he hesitated. He inhaled and licked his lips as if he was going to speak. His eyes glanced at the door, but then he shuffled towards her.
Again, she grabbed his hair. "Look at me, Blake. Look into my eyes."
He held his breath, trapped by her hypnotic gaze. One tear streaked from the red corner of his eye down his cheek into his beard.
As the words formed in her mind, she knew this was a risky move. But she knew him, she knew how to handle him, so she decided to take the risk. "I want you to remember what you've done wrong. It's been on your mind, hasn't it? You can't seem to forget about it. Remember it now, in every excruciating detail. I want you to feel in this moment like you did it to me. You did that. To me."
When she let go, he turned away and shuddered. His eyes searched the floor and the walls for something he could safely look at, anything but her. Maybe he was looking for a way out.
"Stay here." She grabbed his wrist so he wouldn't go anywhere and she gave him an accusing look. "How could you?"
His jaw clenched and he stared off into the distance. Octavia knew that look of anguish, only one thing would relieve his pain now.
"How could you?" She slapped him on the jaw, swinging her arm dramatically but barely touching him with her fingers. She didn't need to. He fell to the floor head first, until his reflexes kicked in to catch him.
He grunted and stayed down on the floor, bracing for some kind of follow up move. It took him a few seconds to realise where he was and that there would be no follow up. He swallowed and as he pushed himself up from the floor, he finally spoke. "I was drunk. I didn't know what I was doin'."
"Get up." She replied sternly.
He frowned as he rose to his feet. The suggestion was falling apart, it didn't make sense because he would never do that to Octavia and she would never be in that place. But he was also still reeling from that hit.
"You wouldn't have done it if you hadn't been drinking. Am I right?" She pointed at him, goading him to approach her. "You're a drunk and an idiot."
He nodded and gave her a subdued look. As soon as he made eye-contact, she slapped him in the face with her other hand, and he crumpled to the floor again. With a heavy sigh, she sat down on the floor beside him and gave him a push to roll him over on his back. He stared at the ceiling in a daze.
"Tell me you're sorry." She said softly as she laid her hand on his chest.
"I'm sorry." He closed his eyes as he muttered under his breath. "I'm such a fuckin' idiot."
She caressed his skin, grateful that she could do something to help. "I forgive you, Blake. I know that you'll face the consequences of what you've done when you walk out that door again. You're going to have to own up to it. But I know you're strong enough to do that, and I forgive you."
He reached up to rub his eyes. "But what if I don't forgive myself?"
"Don't make me mind control you." She patted his hand.
He laughed softly. "This was… I can't thank you enough." As he sat up, he took her hand and raised it to his lips to kiss it.
"Don't be a stranger." She poked him with her elbow. "I'd love to see you sometime when you're well and you just want to have some fun."
"See me?" He wiped his eyes and then gave her a cheeky look. "Or fuck me?"
She grabbed him by the hair and gave him a long kiss. He blushed and embraced her gratefully. When the kiss was over, she rose to her feet and leaned on the bed. He grinned sheepishly and jumped to his feet in a flashy way.
"The showpony shirt suits you." She said with a smile.
He shrugged. "This is what you get when you force me to the ground. The reflexes kick in."
She smiled. "I'll tell you what. If you don't have any injuries the next time you're here, then yes."
"No injuries?" He gave her an incredulous look. "That's denial!"
She shook her head. "That's incentive to take better care of yourself."
"Fair." He walked over to the chair to put his shirt back on. "Do you need any help making the bed?"