The Journey; Ep. 1
Jun 19 2012, 8:11 pm
'This must be how Alice felt in Wonderland', she thought to herself as she passed one half-naked body after another trying to get to ladies room at the back of the bar. The music was thunderously loud with base lines vibrating the floors and walls around her while overlapping voices strained to be conversational in spite of their yelling to be heard. Rachel couldn't hear a thing above the assault of noises, and was praying the sounds would be at least muffled in the bathroom.
In serpentine fashion, she slipped through the obstacle course of people dancing and talking, and the occasional spectacle of people walking their slaves like dogs through the club, or spanking them as others watched with keen interest. She burst through the door of the restroom in expectation of relief, like a drowning man breaks through the surface of the water.
'Why did I agree to come?' she asked herself, half under her breath.
Marie was adjusting the dark makeup around her eyes which was melting down her face with the sweat that coated her from dancing and drinking all night. Rachel looked up, surprised to see her friend.
"Hey Rachel! God, I'm sweating like a pig. Isn't this place a blast?", she inquired while dabbing her face with a paper towel as other women made their way out of the stalls and over to the sink. In the mirror, she could see Rachel searching for a diplomatic way to respond. She stopped what she was doing and turned around,
"What's wrong?" she asked.
Rachel sighed. "What are we doing here? This isn't us, Marie".
"Why? Because, it's different? Rae,we go to the same bars all the time. A couple of cosmos, some boring dance tunes and the even more boring guys. This is wild and completely out of control, which is what we need!"
"Fine. Then, it's just not me. These people have problems, Marie. They're out there on the verge of an orgy and hitting one another! You can't tell me that's the kind of excitement you want?"
Rachel was frustrated, and feeling betrayed by her friend. She felt flush with anger suddenly and realized just how uncomfortable she really was. But she could see that Marie was suddenly angry too and getting more and more defensive.
"Look, if you wanna leave, go. I never thought you were so closed-minded! Everyone here is over 21 and you knew this was an S&M club when I invited you! And no one is having an orgy Rae, they're just uninhibited", she sneered and pulled open the door. The pounding of the music spilled into the room and she turned back to Rachel and shouted, "No wonder Steve left you, Rae - he probably wanted to get laid once in awhile!"
Marie stormed back out into the club, disappearing into the crowded thrum, becoming one of them.
Rachel stood in the bathroom, mouth gaping at the harsh words of her friend and mortified by the eager attention of the other women at the sink, who turned giggling among themselves as they finished washing up. She closed her mouth and composed herself before heading back out into the club to go home.
Another defensive round of 'Twister' was required to make her way through the sea of leather, corsets, leashes and vinyl towards the atrium and the exit. She shuddered as she passed two people holding a third across a round table while his 'Mistress' hit him over and over again across his back with a flogger as others watched. 'Sick!', she thought as she finally pushed through to the semi-open area before the exit.
It was an enclosed patio setting with a glass domed ceiling and tables and chairs were arranged everywhere around a large, but shallow pool. There were lights in the bottom of the pool, illuminating the water from below and adding a dramatic quality to the whole affair. Plants intermingled with the pool and the tables to create a 'grotto' like affect, though it was impossible to swim there.
A few people had made there way out here to talk, as it was far more quite and intimate outside than in the club and as she passed the first table, she saw one couple entwined in a passionate kiss behind one of the larger potted plants. The woman was facing towards her and opened her eyes as the man began kissing down her pale neck and reached his hand up to pull down the woman's blouse, showing her ample breast as he pinched her nipple, firmly. She looked directly at Rachel and smiled as she winced slightly from his attentions and Rachel hurried away, shocked at the woman's unabashed lack of modesty. She was nearly to the door when a man's voice startled her and she spun around,
"Not what you expected?", he had said.
She hadn't seen the man standing near the table by the end of the pool, and almost gasped when she turned to see him. He was no more than 30, if that and dressed in 'normal' clothes. He bore no leather or collar, no piercings to speak of...he looked professional, in fact. He had on a pair of charcoal dress pants, a collared pinstriped shirt and a royal blue tie with a gold design. He stood over 6 feet with dark, brown hair which was short and not parted as if in that Hollywood, 'messy' style with the bluest eyes she had ever seen. He was clean shaven and had chiseled features that reminded her of a fairy tale Prince.
"I'm sorry. Did I scare you?", he asked. His voice low and masculine, but soothing and perfectly calm at the same time. Behind the words, she could hear the faintest hint of an accent that was being lost with the passage of time, though she couldn't place it.
Rachel smiled in spite of herself and laughed softly. "It's fine, really. I just didn't see you there."
"I see." The two stood for a moment just looking at one another until Rachel realized the man seemed to be waiting for something.
"Yes?" she said, feeling embarrassed.
"You never answered my question, is all"...
"You're question?" she asked, blankly.
"Yes. I said, 'not what you expected' because you seem to be leaving and you don't seem very happy. People either love 'The Box' or they are repelled by it.
"Oh, you mean 'The Pandora Club'", she said realizing the reference, "Yes. I came here with a friend who,...actually, I never asked how she learned about this place...anyway, she's in there having the time of her life and I'm going home. And no, it was not what I expected", she said remembering her disgust.
"So what was it you were expecting from an S&M club, if you don't mind my asking?" He never took his eyes off of her as he spoke and she found that unusual and comforting somehow. She grinned at the implication of his question; had she honestly thought to find wholesome entertainment in such a place?
"I don't know. Less, I suppose", she replied contrite and a bit embarrassed. He smiled at her, knowingly.
"I see." He leaned back against the wall, looking at the couple still making out and petting near the door to the club. "I supposed 'the box' is what people make it, to a point. For some it's a playground, for others a hook-up bar, for some an escape from reality and for some", he paused looking at Rachel, "it's a nightmare".
She shrugged, "And what is it to you?" He didn't seem to belong here, this stylish, handsome man she had met.
"For me? It's business." He watched her face morph into one of confusion and he smiled, extending his hand to take hers for a formal introduction;
"My apologies. My name is Nolen Raines, owner of the Pandora Club."
"Owner...I'm,...I didn't..."she took a deep breath and started over, extending her hand. "I'm Rachel Tierney, dissatisfied club-goer and rude guest. I didn't mean to offend you, Mr. Raines."
"It's Nolen, and you didn't offend me. However, as the owner I can't have you leaving dissatisfied, would you like to join me for a drink in my office, away from the noise?"
It seemed that Rachel could scarcely recall the club or why she was leaving, "I'd like that", she answered with a warm smile.
Nolen took her hand and led her through the door to the left of the coat check area and smiled at the girl working there. She lowered her eyes quickly and went back to her task.
To Be Continued....