There is a large, lavish hotel room. Rich crimson and gold wallpaper, a huge bed, gilded chairs and opulent mirrors. Mr. McIntyre is standing in front of the largest mirror straightening his tie. He is in his black suit, the one he wears to big meetings. His shirt is harsh white, and he is wearing his cornflower blue tie. He is freshly shaven. His hair is parted neatly and slick. You can count the comb lines.
Marcy Peterson, his mistress, is walking out of the washroom in a slinky low cut black dress. Her black hair is long and silk soft, falling over her shoulders. Her lips are dark red and shimmering.
He towers over her. He stands almost six foot five and she, like me, is just over five feet tall. He leans in, and they kiss, at first tenderly, and then his hand is in her hair, pulling her back so he can kiss her neck hungrily. Her eyes are glazed with pleasure.
He picks her up and carries her to the bed. Standing over her, he takes off his jacket and folds it neatly over a chair. He then methodically rolls up his sleeves, exposing his hairy muscular arms. He loosens and removes his tie, she sits up on the bed eagerly waiting for more of his lips, but he pushes her down.
Picking up the phone he presses one button, and I answer.
“Abigail, I’m going to need some rope.”
“Yes, sir. Right away.”
There I am at the door, dressed in my mousy brown skirt and my beige top with my hair in a ponytail and my glasses falling off my nose. Two thick coils of rope in my hands.
I look down at Ms. Peterson. She’s a wicked girl and a wanton slut. I know why Mr. McIntyre wants me to tie her down. I can only imagine she will squirm away when his hands are too rough. I bet her hands dip down and play with her sex when she wants more, knowing that Mr. McIntyre is only giving her as much pleasure as she is supposed to get.
He would never need to tie me down.
I glare down at her, but she is lost in his eyes. I pull her so that she is laying in the right position and I unzip her dress. The fabric is soft and expensive. The smell of her hair and her perfume is delicate but heady. As I pull the dress off every inch of her is exposed. Her black underthings, her dark stockings and pretty garter belt, each is removed. I gingerly pull her underwear down, her hand going to my shoulder for support as I pull them off. Then I pull the pillows from under the covers and put them under her head.
I tie her up. I tie her tight for him. She’d better not get loose. I tie both of her wrists to the bedposts at the top of the bed. Then I tie a knot around her knee and slide the rope under the bed and tie the other end to her other knee, pulling the rope taut so that it keeps her down and keeps her legs apart. The last knot I make pulls her legs open wide, and she winces. I smiled sweetly.
“Sorry, Ms. Peterson.”
The near hypnotic way she looks at Mr. McIntyre melts away for a moment as she glowers at me, but then his smack across her face brings her back. It was light, but still, her cheek grew red from the sting of his large hand.
Mr. MacIntyre stands over the bed watching her squirm. As she moves her legs apart further and she raises her bottom in the air and her sex exposed completely. He clenches his fists and his jaw. I watch as he plans what to do first; plan how he is going to take her apart.
I rest on my knees after I tied Marcy down. Mr. McIntyre turns to me, and I undo the buckle of his belt and carefully pull it off of him. The thick leather slips around him loop by loop until it hangs in my hand, heavy and black. I hold it out for Mr. McIntyre, and with his eyes never even settling on me he takes it, folding it in half and snapping it once.
“I’ll let you know if I need anything else, Abby.”
And dutifully as always, I went back to my desk, hoping Mr. McIntyre knew I would do anything for him.
I placed my diary on Mr. McIntyre’s desk next to his newspapers.
When I went back to my desk, I sat up straight and proud. My heart wasn’t racing, though it was pounding hard in my chest. I felt alive and ready to see what was next. I’d gotten a glimpse into Mr. McIntyre’s life, and it was frightening and sexual and everything that my dreams seemed to hint at. I was ready for my next assignment.
It had been a Wednesday when I put my diary on Mr. McIntyre’s desk with all my dirty secrets open for him. All of my dirty dreams and forbidden fantasies. All the times I had to go to the bathroom and rub myself while covering my mouth because Mr. McIntyre had leaned over me while I typed a letter or chided me for taking too long at lunch.
On Friday I still hadn’t heard a word about it from him. He still had my diary. I saw him take it home with him on Wednesday, the pink and purple looking absurd under his arm as he walked out. I hadn’t been able to sleep much either night as I tried to remember what was the most embarrassing thing I had written.
He’d either forgotten about me, or he was letting me stew and think about it until it drove me mad. Both options were equally frustrating. Friday seemed to take forever. Mr. McIntyre came in late. He seemed a little angry. He was stomping around ordering me to fetch things. I was in such a tizzy I’d almost forgot about everything. Almost.
That’s when he slapped it down on the desk. My diary, looking the same as when he had me give it to him. I didn’t look up at him. I couldn’t, I just took the thing and put it in my desk drawer. He was still there, though, still looming over me waiting for something.
I opened my mouth, but my throat was dry. “Yes – Mr. Mc-”
“I think I’m going to need you on Sunday. For something non-professional,” he cut me off, but then paused.
“Sir?” what did that mean? I think I’m going to need you on Sunday? Need me to do what? Just – need me?
He looked down at me, but I couldn’t look up. I looked up to his square chin. His neck. The thick knot of his tie. My throat felt like it was tightening.
“I’m working on something, and I am going to need a typist. Someone to take dictation. Minutes, you know.”
“Minutes? Like a meeting?” I had no idea what he was talking about.
There was silence, and I added, “sir?”
There was the slightest tiniest smile across those lips. “Minutes, like a meeting,” he said, clarifying nothing.
“You are going to need to dress up a bit. I’m going to have Marcy go over to your place and drop off something suitable. She’ll do your makeup, whatever magic she seems to do. You can keep the dress,” he said, looked down at me.
For the first time in our relationship, he was doing something completely new. He was waiting for an answer. He was giving me the choice, because this was the next step. This wasn’t work, and this wasn’t the office.
“I’ll be there, sir.”
And that was the end of the conversation. From frustration to utter confusion.
Saturday was the longest day in the history of days. There was nothing good on the radio, and I was furiously cleaning my room. Marcy was coming back, coming to dress me, make me up, try and brush the mousiness out of me. I didn’t know what Mr. McIntyre told her. I didn’t know anything about their world.
Take minutes? Type? Where? Was it all a joke on me?
On Sunday I realized I didn’t know what time Marcy was coming over. Eloise was sitting on the couch knitting, her red hair in curlers and her giant glasses magnifying her eyes like a fly’s.
It was a half past noon, and I was about to bribe Eloise to go to a movie when there was a knock at the door.