She wished she didn’t care about what was going to happen next. It would be so much easier, getting fired, if she didn’t like this job so much. Despite what had just happened a bit ago, this was a place that she enjoyed waking up in the morning to come to. And okay, she wasn’t into this whole role-playing thing, but she wasn’t adverse to it either. Keegan’s hand rested on the small of her back. He wasn’t exactly pushing her, but he wasn’t going to let her wriggle away either. She could have bristled him off, but she didn’t mind the warm touch either. Which was weird, but whatever.
They stopped in front of Jakob’s office. Keegan stepped in front of her, tipping her chin up to make eye contact.
“That…up there?” His free hand pointed to the ceiling, indicating the 2nd floor. “Was not your fault. But tell me, here and now, why were you up there to begin with.”
She really wanted to handle that young woman herself, but in all likelihood, she was lost in the crowd by now. The fucking bitch.
“Someone came and told me that there had been a pee accident in the 2nd floor bathroom.”
“I’d like the answer to that question as well.”
Jakob’s voice came from behind the pair. “But in my office, please, and not where someone can overhear this. Rumors fly around here like fucking sparrows. Mandy…” he shifted his hand, indicating that she should enter. Though she would have preferred to sit in the chair, she was steered to the couch. When the two men sat down, she felt dwarfed.
She was not going to fucking cry. A shiver ran through her nonetheless. Keegan rose, and moved to the cabinet on the far side of the office. He pulled out three ornately carved glasses and a tall square bottle. He poured a generous dollop of liquor in each, then brought them back.
She took the proffered glass, but turned it around in her palm. Keegan tugged the heavy leather-clad chair closer to the couch and sat in it, recognizing the lingering effects of shock on her face. She had gone pale again.
“I don’t know. I just …. don’t. She came to sit after Keegan left, and told me about the pee and she was kinda demeaning and it made me mad, so I just jumped up and left. Figured it would only take me a minute to clean up, which it would have. I was almost done when…”
“You know that the 2nd floor is heavy sceneing on Saturday nights. You should not have been up there.”
“I know. You can fire me but–”
“Fire you? Why the fuck would I do that?”
“Well, isn’t this place built on obeying…submissive/Dom…all that shit?”
Keegan leaned forward, lifting her glass.
“Drink. Just a sip.”
“I don’t drink. Alcohol is gross.”
“A sip, kitten. Please?”
To see the giant man cajoling her almost made her giggle. With only a little eye-roll, she took a sip. The amber liquid slid like fire over her tongue, burning a trail from lips to her belly. A pleasant glow began to thaw her, warming her from within.
“Happy?” She quirked her head at him.
Her lips curved a tiny smile at his droll tone.
“Why are you such an asshole?”
And where the fuck had that come from. She lifted the glass, studied the contents.
“I was born breech, so the asshole came out first. Stayed, too.”
It was obviously an old joke between them because they grinned, but she exploded in giggles. She took a quick sip of the drink, embarrassed to be giggling, and a single drop slid down the wrong way. Coughing brought tears to her eyes, and Jakob began pounding on her back.
Eventually the coughing wound down, but not before the mortification suffused her. Geeze. Way to go, choking on your bosses finest booze.
“Sorry…” she wheezed…”told you I didn’t drink…”
Somehow their positions had reversed, and now Keegan sat beside her rubbing her back in gentle circles, while her boss sat in front of her.
“Okay, let’s cut to the chase here, Mandy. One. I am not firing you. I AM fired up that one of my guests saw fit to ambush one of my employees. That is unacceptable to me, and to any of my crew. It is especially heinous to me since you are not a practitioner of the lifestyle…” There was a pregnant pause, an unspoken ‘yet’.
“Secondly, what happened to you up there was assault. You are more than welcome to go to the police and file charges.” He held up his hand as she began to shake her head no.
“Fine…we’ll handle it in-house then. Just know that in my opinion–and mine is the only one that matters here–what happened to you was a violation and I fully support your taking legal action if that is your decision.”
He paused. His face fell into stern lines, and Mandy knew that the Asshat Dom was in deep shit with Jakob…maybe even worse than if she had gone to the police.
“However, for the moment our guest, who was more than a bit drunk, will have an immediate suspension of his membership until some key issues have been resolved. He has had other incidents in the past. I won’t tolerate someone repeatedly crossing the line here. What happened tonight goes way beyond any prior grievances I’ve gotten about some over-zealous beatings. Sometimes when people are involved in a scene, things can and do go awry. But this? This crosses a line for me. If he’d try raping–real non-consensual sex, not a scene that had been previously agreed to–and to one of my people, what says he’d not try to ambush some unsuspecting newbie? I can’t tolerate that sort of thing, not when I know how much courage it can take to come in for the first time to get the flavor of a BDSM club. To the outside world there isn’t a line between abuse and sexual deviancy –yet it does exist–and I’m not going to let some half-assed Dom wannabe put people at risk for permanent harm–physical or mental. No, best he take a break and get a refresher on the rules.”
“Third, I want a description, to the best of your ability, of the woman who sent you on that errand. That was not mischief, that was malicious, and she too will be dealt with. You can talk to Keenan about the specifics–I’m certain he’ll recognize your assailant–for she is equally to blame.”
“Last–to reiterate–you are not going to be fired–I value your contributions here far too much and it would be more than unfair of me to blame YOU for being assaulted–but I would abjure you to avoid the upper floors on weekends. This does not say that what happened was your fault…but it is best to limit the areas where those sort of …scenarios…could develop, however unintentionally.”
He turned to Keegan.
“I want increased signage…something before someone goes up, and I think we’ll have some sort of ticketing or pass system so that a newbie doesn’t get caught up and go up. The community comes under fire enough without having someone else be harmed who isn’t seeking that.”
“Sure, I’ll work out the details tomorrow…for now I have Harry keeping an eye on who goes up there.”
“As for you, Mandy, I am going to have Keegan escort you home. Sleep. The whiskey will help with that. Unless you choose to bunk here for the night. There’s a small room in here where you can rest undisturbed if you like?”
“I–I guess I’ll … I don’t know. I…I’m okay.”
She wasn’t, not exactly. But she wasn’t bad either.
“I guess I’ll just go home.” She needed time to process, and a good cry. “I can drive.”
“Not with that head for whiskey,” Keegan helped steady her as she swayed when she rose. She opted to not protest, just let herself be bundled into his car and driven home. He helped her unlock her door, helped guide her into her bedroom. She was asleep in seconds, and never felt him slip off her sneakers, nor even stirred when he tugged off her jeans and shifted her under the blankets.
Snapping off the bedroom light, he made his way to the kitchen to find a snack, and turned on the small tv in her living room, and settled in to watch the nature channel. He could ignore the hard bulge in his jeans, but not the festering anger that one of his girls had come so close to harm. Sitting vigil in her apartment, knowing she was in a nice warm bed and half-naked, was a small price to pay in penance.