The piece below is a coda to "Awakening - Isobel's Story". A different version of this song was referred to in part 10. The main protagonists of the story are sex workers and while that made it easier to weave sex into the story I particularly wanted to create characters who reflected the wonderful sex workers I have met down the years. Strong, brave, kind women who have made a choice despite conventional society looking down on them. They are professional and unapologetic - and in an age when we strive to create places where everyone is accepted on their own terms it seems that only sex workers can still to be discriminated against. I hope my story in a small way celebrated rather than maligned sex workers.
This version of Love for Sale is sung by Billie Holiday, who changed the way women vocalists were perceived and whose own life gives her songs a depth most interpreters can only imitate. She worked for a while as prostitute and despite enjoying some success as a singer she died at just 44 as a result of drug and alcohol abuse.
The song was written in 1930 by Cole Porter for a relatively unsuccessful musical and was rarely recorded. Holiday's take on it demonstrates her strength of character but like so much of her work the pain she had known can be clearly heard in her singing.
Isobel loves jazz and it seems right to bring things to a close with a Jazz reference. Thanks to everyone who has read this first attempt at fiction especially to those who commented and very special thanks to the amazing Marie Rebelle as well as May More and E L Bryne for their support. It's been a great learning experience but I should perhaps focus on my professional web pages for a while though it won't be half as much fun.
Let the poets pipe of love
In their childish way
I know every type of love
Better far than they
If you want the thrill of love
I've been through the mill of love
Old love, new love
Every love but true love, love for sale
Written by Cole Porter sung by Billie Holiday
Photo by Ethan Hoover at Unsplash
The chimes of her doorbell eventually roused her and she headed downstairs feeling a little the worse for the previous day and night's drinking. She knew that what she need was a run a to reinvigorate her system. She opened the door and her stomach lurched as saw the Hiker. Her body instantly confirmed that this man was important to her and her mind was clear that this could be her last chance to find out who he was. "Come in" she said opening the door wider only to be almost felled by Henry who seemed desperate to renew an old acquaintance.
Once they had all calmed down and brewed some strong coffee that both Isobel and Luna needed they sat down at the kitchen table. Eric began once more to explain who he was and what he did and he also admitted to knowing a great deal about Isobel's previous life. He explained that Luna's call to Monica had been traced to the village and he had been alerted and then driven through the night to the village and walked through the wood to the cottage.
He asked her how much she had now remembered and she explained that it was still very little but she had a very strong sense that he was someone she had known and who was important to her. She paused and then went on "And I seem to be a very sexual person - I am relaxed about what I do and who I do it with and I seem to be remarkably good at it too"
Try as he might Eric couldn't stop himself laughing "I can confirm that" he said. But the levity passed quickly and he finally asked her the question she had both longed for and dreaded "I can tell you as much or as little about your past as you wish. This life you now have cannot be taken away from you and you are free to go on living as choose but only you can decide if you want to know what led you here."
Isobel thought for a moment and then said "What I really need to do is take run so I can think more clearly". Eric replied saying that seemed a very wise course of action but he went on "I know you trust Luna - are you happy that I give her at least some of the information I have so she can help you make your decision?" She looked at Luna who said "Only if you want me to" and Isobel nodded her assent.
As she ran her body and mind began to work in harmony. This was going to be the day her life began again if she cleared away all the doubts and suspicions. But it could be that she had done things so terrible that the knowledge would make it impossible to be happy again. The longer she ran the clearer it became. She wanted Eric in her life and that could only happen if there were no secrets. She turned for home and increased her pace arriving back breathing hard and sweating profusely.
She looked at the two of them and then said to Luna "You are my dearest friend - I want to know what happened to me but should I?" Luna stood up and took Isobel in her arms. "You should and you must - we both know you will find no peace unless you do."
Isobel quickly showered and when she came back down stairs found that a bottle of Chablis had been opened and a glass poured for her "We thought you might need it" said Luna while Eric nodded assent.
She was not in the least surprised and not a little pleased to learn what her former profession had been but wondered why she had decided to move on. Eric explained that what she had told him was that it was not about giving up her profession but merely a desire to slow down by moving to the countryside where she would have more time to spend with Henry, her books, her jazz and the occasional man or woman who met her exacting standards. It seemed that her commitment to sexual freedom was deeply rooted and she was perfectly happy about that.
Once he began to explain about the incident with Ethan and Cassiopeia she was much less happy. As he took her through the decision she made and what then happened she began to shake and Luna took her hand. Once he described Agnetha her memory began to run ahead of him - her friend had saved her. She demanded to know about Agnetha's well being but was reassured that she was back in New York and still scaring men shitless.
Eric told her that he understood how much of a shock some of this must have been and began to take his leave but Isobel wasn't going to risk losing him once more and suggested that he take Henry for a walk while she prepared some lunch and spoke to Luna too of course.
"You have strong feelings for him" she said and Isobel began to feel that she might be betraying her friend if she admitted just how strong but she underestimated Luna. "We've become close these last few months - and had a lot of fun too. I want us to go on being friends but we aren't about to fall in love though I think you and Eric might just have be doing exactly that." Isobel was about to protest but stopped herself as she realised that she wanted Eric in her life not just to fuck but because he made her feel good and safe.
Once lunch was over there was a silence which was broken by Luna. She said she was going to walk to the village and head for home but when Eric offered to go with her and drive her to the station she rather too quickly changed her story. "I was also thinking of dropping in on Mostyn just say thank you for a lovely time yesterday". Eric was about to ask who Mostyn was but before he could they both began to laugh. Finally Isobel said "Give him my love and don't do anything to him I wouldn't do" at which point they erupted into laughter again.
Once she had left Isobel moved and sat beside Eric "This is perhaps the strangest question I have ever asked a man" she said. "My body tells me that it had sex with you and enjoyed it but my mind cannot recall when or where. Did we fuck?"
"No, we didn't" he said and Isobel began to feel a strong sense of disappointment well up within her but his next words would change her life for ever "We made love all night before you went to Ethan's place. It was thoroughly unprofessional of me but I have thought about that night every day since and hoped that it could happen again."
Isobel kissed him on the lips for a long time and then took his hand and led him to the stairs pausing only to distract Henry with a bowl of food. Once they were in the bedroom he told her about the conversation that preceded their first time together. Her confession to him about the sort of sex she usually enjoyed and his desire to simply make slow and gentle love with a beautiful woman. Unprompted she once more whispered "I can do that too".
Cassiopeia, the Queen of Aethopia, was the wife of King Cephus. She was beautiful but vain and guilty of hubris in saying that she and her daughter, Andromeda, were more beautiful than the daughters of the sea god Nereus. This angered Poseidon who caused the lands to flood. Later he punished her further by binding her to a chair in the heavens, so that she would revolve upside down half of the time.
Cassiopeia in Greek Mythology and the Constellation
Photograph from Pinterest Photographer Unknown
It had been a difficult night and Isobel felt soiled in every sense but was surprised when the door opened and it was Cassiopeia who entered and released her. The woman was impossibly beautiful, perfect skin, perfect hair and a perfect body clothed in latex. She dropped a package on the bed then knelt to unfasten Isobel. "Clean yourself, Slut, and after the nurse has examined you put these on and wait". The voice betrayed no accent and no emotion and remembering she was to be silent Isobel resisted responding other than by nodding her head.
The nurse entered and after helping Isobel shower began to apply oil to her body. Isobel was puzzled at first but once the parcel was opened understood. It contained heavy latex bands with 'D' rings attached which the nurse helped her to place around her waist, thighs, ankles, upper arms, wrists and finally her neck were put back on. Finally she was helped into a pair of 4 inch heels. A moment later Agnetha entered and clipped a lead to the neck band whispering as she did "Last night I fucked that little bastard's ass-hole until it bled!" and Isobel had to work hard to suppress a smile.
Once she was spreadeagled in the lab sensors were applied again but this time her piercings were wired to an electrical device. She hadn't seen Ethan's face but when she heard him say "I'll start with 25 today" she remembered Agnetha's comment upstairs and wished she hadn't shared it.
Ethan began without any warm up and silenced Agnetha's objections. He delivered 12 hard strokes and Isobel struggled to stay still and silent. As he delivered the 13th she cried out and he stopped. "Gag the slut" he instructed. Agnetha obeyed but took the chance to whisper "Hang in there" but Ethan screamed at her "Do not speak to the slut"
The remaining strokes were more brutal and Isobel was shaking uncontrollably by the end as tears coursed down her face. Cassiopeia now approached and quickly inserted probes in both her anus and vagina which she connected to the equipment she was using. For the next few minutes she worked the controls and it became clear that the sensations Isobel was now experiencing were not painful at all. Agnetha knew that her friend could exercise extraordinary control of her body and wasn't surprised when she began to show signs of genuine arousal. "Allow me to help" she said approaching Isobel without waiting for an answer and placing a finger on her clitoris. Within a few moments the orgasm was on its way and Isobel began to spasm and pull against her restraints.
"Take her down for now" Cassiopeia instructed and with help from the nurse Agnetha obliged and they set about doing what they could for Isobel's bleeding bottom. On the other side of the room Cassiopeia was now allowing Ethan to apply sensors to her body and also place a metal headband on her.
Cassiopeia's voice made clear her dissatisfaction moments later. "I can't feel anything - you need to create a stronger reaction" she told Ethan who in turn instructed that Isobel be spreadeagled once more. "You can't do anything more to her arse today" Agnetha told him and the nurse concurred "There is already a risk of permanent scarring". He seemed unconcerned as he selected a whip which he began using on Isobel's back but after a couple of strokes he stopped and told them to gag her again. Seeing the severity of the strokes Agnetha decide that 25 would have to be the maxim regardless of the 100 stroke agreement.
The marks on her back were deep and raw as the 25th stroke was delivered. Agnetha signalled that he should cease and told him that was all she could take that day. He seemed reluctant but stepped away however Cassiopeia pushed him aside and grabbed a different whip from the rack. Agnetha quickly realised that this was a metal whip that would tear flesh to shreds. She screamed "She does not consent" but Cassiopeia turned towards her and calmly said "Keep out bitch or I'll use it on your face". her lack of emotion was chilling.
Agnetha had no illusions about an intervention by Ethan and prepared to intervene physically. She moved towards Cassiopeia intending to use her martial arts skills to ground her only to be hit harder than she imagined it was possible for a human being to hit another. Nevertheless she picked herself up and went again only to be felled by a punch to the jaw that saw her unconscious before she hit the ground. By the time she came round she realised that she too was now restrained and the woman was already using the whip on Isobel. It was with an odd mixture of fear and relief that she saw Isobel's head slump forward and realised that she had passed out.
Ethan was now sitting at the desk and using the controls while Cassiopeia struck Isobel again and again. The blood that ran down her body merely confirming that she needed medical attention and very soon. At that moment the door to the lab opened and before any of them could react a stun grenade went off.
Isobel slowly returned to consciousness and found she was lying face down in a hospital bed. She turned her head and saw that there was a man in uniform sitting beside her. "It's me" said Eric "Don't try to talk yet - they are going to put you in an induced coma while your back heals but I told them I needed to speak to you first - sometimes rank has its privileges and they agreed." After he had reassured her that Henry was fine and that he, personally, would take care of him he explained what had taken place and that Agnetha's cry of "She does not consent" was the pre-arranged signal for their intervention. He also reassured her that Ethan was under arrest and facing serious charges though Cassiopeia had not been affected by the grenade and somehow evaded his team and disappeared without trace.
He went on to explain that the funds she had been offered for the work with Ethan had already been transferred to her account and as far as he could see it was clean money so she would be able to keep it. They had discussed the cottage when he visited her flat and now she could buy it.
He went on to make her an offer. It was very likely that the weeks in a coma would effect her memory in any case and he could arrange for her to receive an additional drug that would enable her to wake up, healthy in the cottage ready to begin a new life in safety with a new identity but knowing nothing of what had happened in the past few days. This sounded blissful but before agreeing she needed know that Henry would be waiting there for her. Eric leaned forward and kissed her brow "Have no fear - Henry will be with you there" he said. A doctor then spoke to her and said he was going to give her an injection. She managed to mumble "Thank you Eric" as her consciousness started to fade but as it did she realised that she hadn't said she also wanted him to be part of her new life and now it was too late.
Isobel and Luna are still trying to discover more about her past
And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep ... tired ... or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
From the Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock by T S Eliot
The discovery that she had been a sex worker didn't really surprise Isobel. It had never crossed her mind that there was anything to be concerned about as her friendship with Luna had developed and while she couldn't bring memories back her body kept telling her that sex was something that really mattered to her and something at which she was very good!
The name intrigued her though - Isabeau was close to the name she was currently using and she wondered if either or even another variant was her real name. She and Luna had talked about what she should do so long that Isobel almost missed her train and on the spur of the moment Luna offered to travel back with her. Once the feeding arrangements were in place for Patches they grabbed an Uber and dashed to the station and on to the train.
Isobel continued to be conflicted about how much she wanted to know about her past. She was afraid that it might paint a picture of someone she wouldn't like but then again how could she move forward without knowing what had led her here? Luna seemed sure that her friend did need to know but understood her doubts.
By the next morning they had a plan. Luna would phone Monica and ask for an appointment and mention Isabeau in passing. To do this they needed to walk to the village and decided to have lunch at the village pub. It was quiet when they got there and Luna made the call from the car park while Isobel placed their orders.
Luna reported that Monica had sounded a little surprised when Isabeau's name had been mentioned and she had pressed Luna on when they had met. As agreed she had told her that it was more than two years ago and while this seemed to satisfy Monica, she nevertheless continued to ask questions. Finally she had agreed that Luna would visit her in London in a weeks’ time.
There seemed little else they could do now but relax and Isobel had just ordered a bottle of the House wine to go with their lunch when the old man she had fucked, and who she now knew was a retired civil servant called Mostyn, walked in. Isobel greeted him cheerfully and Luna whispered "Is that the one?" Isobel smiled and said "Would you like to meet him? In fact she had little choice as he was already heading their way and in her usual impetuous way Isobel invited him to join them.
She was pleasantly surprised to see how well Luna and Mostyn got along although she was aware that even in casual clothes Luna's stunning figure was very noticeable and seemed to have caught his eye. A little later Mostyn went to the bar to get himself another pint of Bluebird Bitter and a glass of wine for each of them as their bottle had lasted barely half an hour. "Do you think he would fancy a duo" Luna asked prompting laughter from Isobel. Before she could answer he was back but later Isobel wondered if he had noticed Luna's wink at her.
The conversation flowed easily and as Isobel drained her glass she turned to Mostyn "The wine here is OK but I was wondering if you had any more of that Pomerol at home - I told Luna how good it was". He looked a little anxious but despite this Luna leaned forward and took his hand and looking into his eyes said "Isobel told me that she had a rather special time when she visited you and I am quite jealous about it" Now he had the look of a rabbit caught in the headlights that knew it needed to be elsewhere urgently but had no idea how to get there.
After what seemed like an age he took a deep breath and said "Actually I've just tracked down an original vinyl of "Jazz at the Hollywood Bowl" and I was looking forward to playing it this afternoon - I don't suppose you would be interested in hearing it?" - Luna was about to make clear that she certainly wouldn't but before she could do that Isobel said "Oh yes please - I've only ever heard it on CD and I love Ella Fitzgerald's take on 'Love for Sale' - you always say that should be your theme tune haven't you Luna?" and for once Luna was dumbstruck.
They whiled away the afternoon listening to the jazz and drinking yet more wine and Mostyn was about to go for another bottle when Luna told him to sit down. "Look Mostyn you have been very sweet but we need to be honest with you. Isobel and I are planning to have sex with each other very shortly. We can go back to the cottage or we can do it here. We would be very happy for you to join in but don't feel under any pressure."
They were all more than a little drunk by now and even Mostyn had seemed quite chilled but even so his response surprised her. "Do you ladies know something? I've fantasised about having two girls at the same time since I was a young man and never had the chance so if you think I am going to send you back to her cottage think again - and as for you Isobel you will find I am a little better prepared than I was last time".
Intrigued by this Isobel led the way upstairs and invited him to explain but he just pulled out a drawer and started rummaging. First, he put a box of condoms on the bed, then both a large and a small vibrator and finally a butt plug. Isobel flung her arms round him and shrieked - you dirty old man - I love it!" Breaking away he returned to the drawer he said "I don't suppose either of you know what to do with this" pulling out a leather paddle. After the two girls had stopped shaking with laughter Isobel suggested they take a moment to be serious.
Once they were all seated on the bed, she explained that Luna was a professional sex worker and that they were fairly sure that Isobel had been too in her past life. She then went on to explain that her back was badly scarred and he surprised her by saying "I noticed that the first time but as you hadn't said anything, I thought I shouldn't either."
Then it was his turn to tell them something "After the amount I have had to drink today and bearing in mind my age I greatly doubt I will be performing like a stud." - It was Luna who responded first by saying "Don't you worry about that - we know lots of other way to have fun!" and with no further ado she began to strip and urged the other two to do the same.
It seemed Luna was determined to take the lead that afternoon and before long Mostyn and Isobel were lying side by side holding hands while she fingered Isobel with her left hand and masturbated Mostyn with her left. "I think that cock is plenty hard enough" she said straddling him and slowly impaling herself on it while directing Isobel to sit on his face. She could tell by the look on her friends face that Mostyn's tongue had found the spot first time and for the next few minutes they worked in harmony until Isobel began to approach climax and work her own clitoris. She came and they disentangled themselves. "I'm next" said Luna lying down and instructing Isobel to use her fingers while Mostyn wielded the large vibrator. She was close and Isobel knew that a finger in her anus would finish the job so happily obliged.
So that only left Mostyn and he was told that if he took 6 on the backside with the paddle he could choose what happened next. He happily took six really rather gentle stokes and then asked "Which of you is the best cock sucker?". After they had stopped giggling they both agreed it was was Isobel. He then sheepishly asked if Luna would finger him while Isobel worked her magic and not very long afterwards Mostyn fulfilled a lifetime's ambition.
Find the next part of the story here
PAIN has an element of blank;
It cannot recollect
When it began, or if there were
A day when it was not.
It has no future but itself,
Its infinite realms contain
Its past, enlightened to perceive
New periods of pain.
Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
Photo from Pinterest - Photographer unknown
The car arrived at 9.00 am as she had been told it would and though she was reluctant to leave Eric she knew he too needed to be on the move so she steeled herself and headed out. Agnetha was already in the large limousine with blacked out windows and after hugging her she used her professional name and said "Dear Isabeau, I have been given clear instructions - I am to collar you, remove your underwear and blindfold you. I'm afraid you are also required to be silent from now on and only speak when asked a direct question. Finally will be referred to as Slut during the stay - a shame because your given name is so much prettier - now do as you are told."
Agnetha was not someone whose instructions were taken lightly. They had met in New York and worked together a few times when Monica put them in touch with a client who wished to be "persuaded" by an attractive woman he would meet in a bar to submit to an erotic BDSM session before "discovering" that he had in fact been kidnapped in order to satisfy the needs of a woman who was going to subject him to to a punishment caning that would leave him bruised and bleeding.
After that first time they had discovered that they enjoyed each other’s company and developed such a good understanding that they worked together again whenever the chance arose. Agnetha was 6ft tall, perfectly proportioned and Isobel had once been on the receiving end of Agnetha's cane in order to satisfy a switch client and therefore knew just how skilled she was - it had been painful and produced clear markings but with relatively little damage done. She really hoped that most of her punishment would be delivered by Agnetha rather than Eric over the coming week. Nevertheless, as the silent journey continued, she found she was dreading what was to follow once they arrived.
After what seemed like hours they reached their destination and Agnetha led Isobel into the house while the chauffeur followed with their luggage. They were shown to a lounge and Agnetha was told to take a seat. Moments later Eric entered the room alone carrying a leather case. He welcomed Agnetha and said "Help me prepare the slut please". Isobel bridled at this but knew that she needed to play the part of the submissive and do it well. The case was opened to reveal a number of straps with D rings attached. Isobel was quickly stripped and the straps placed on ankles, wrists and around her waist. "Please take her into the next room and secure her there" he instructed.
Once Isobel was secured Agnetha used the pretence of checking the bindings to whisper in Isobel's ear "I will take care of you" before re-joining Eric in the lounge. Eric began to explain what he had in mind for the next 7 days. It was his intention to mix business and pleasure it seemed. The business was to be a series of experiments examining how the human body responds to both pain and pleasure. He would be using electronic equipment to measure physical reactions in great detail. The pleasure was indulging himself by attempting to take the submissive beyond her limits physically and mentally. He required Agnetha to coach him during this so that he could refine his skills with the whip and cane as well as learning more about psychological dominance techniques. They would be joined by his lover, Cassiopeia, for most of the sessions and he expected Agnetha to also teach her how to inflict pain effectively.
"We want you to deliver a preliminary whipping immediately so we can get some base line readings about the slut's response's to pain" he said heading toward the other room. Agnetha was surprised to find a woman whose stature was similar to her own already there and realised that there must be a second door. The woman was busy attaching sensors to various parts of Isobel's anatomy and ignored their entry until she was satisfied with her work. "Give her fifty strokes today, 25 with the cane to her arse and the 25 with a whip to her back." she said directing Agnetha to a collection of canes, whips and floggers racked up on the wall. "I prefer to use my own tools" she said.
Once Agnetha's case had been brought to the room she began her work. She prepared Isobel's behind using a leather paddle and once it was warmed up moved on to the caning. Marks quickly appeared and such was her skill that they rarely intersected. Isobel was taking this well so far but began to struggle to avoid crying out as they moved into the final 5 strokes. Once these were delivered the nurse who had been waiting quietly examined Isobel and applied liberal quantities of ointment before stepping back and nodding to Agnetha. This time she gagged Isobel and chose a single tail whip. As she began she could see Isobel pulling against the restraints as the whip bit into her flesh but she seemed determined not to show how much pain she was experiencing. Again, on completion the nurse applied ointment and stood back.
It had been hours since Isobel had spoken and the pain demanded that she vocalise - and somehow this denial seemed only to intensify her pain. As she tried to regularise her breathing she heard Ethan say to Cassiopeia "Do you want to fuck her or shall I?" before catching a response “You may while I observe". Without being asked Agnetha spread and lubricated Isobel's cunt and as an afterthought also lubed her anus. Ethan stepped forward his cock now in his hand and thanked her. He chose her cunt and carefully inserted himself then held her by the shoulders. As he began to thrust, he softly said "I hope we haven't hurt you too badly my dear. Perhaps I can make you come and take your mind off the pain."
All the women in the room heard this but their reactions differed greatly. Isobel felt repulsed and had to work even harder to keep her cunt loose while Agnetha merely felt a little soiled by the notion of someone apologising for her work. But Cassiopeia reacted most strikingly telling at Ethan to stop snivelling and treat her like the slut she was and now fuck er annally. The nurse gave no indication of how she felt at all. Despite her disgust Isobel thought she should at least give the impression of having an orgasm even with the his cock now thrusting into her anal passage. She did this well enough to fool Ethan as he expelled his cum into her but she didn't fool Agnetha or, of course, the sensors recording her physical responses.
Agnetha was asked to take "the slut" away which she willingly did accompanied by the nurse. Back in the bedroom she whispered to Isobel "Assume we are being overheard" as she began to prepare her for the night. Once she had emptied her bowels and bladder and been cleaned more ointment was applied. After she had been secured and made as comfortable as was possible in the circumstances Agnetha gently kissed her forehead and whispered "Try to sleep - tomorrow is going to be a big day."
Agnetha returned to the lounge where she found Ethan alone. "Cassiopeia is processing the readings in the lab" he said. "and I want to talk to you alone - what would I have to do to be able to fuck you?" Agnetha smiled "25 strokes of my favourite cane then a pegging - If you can still get a hard on when I've finished you may stick your tiny dick in my cunt. Many have tried but few have managed it but you're welcome to try. If you are serious we'll start with your enema"
Moments later he meekly followed her out of the door.
Find the next part of Isobel's story here