By W.M. Achrya


Judge Turpin resigned himself as he took his lady’s hand on the dance set. Lady Margaret again. For all her new gowns, extravagant masks and underwear designed to be alluring, she was the same lazy but demanding middle-aged woman, the wife of a fellow judge, in search of some excitement.

The masked balls were a convenient arrangement, the masks providing a conventional anonymity and the option of indignant denial by the participants and their legal spouses both. In Lady Margaret’s case, her husband had in fact suggested that she take part and find her pleasures there so that the husband might feel free to pursue his downy-cheeked junior clerk.

Unfortunately for Judge Turpin, Lady Margaret had developed something of a crush on him. Although several younger men, both better-looking and more virile, frequented the events, Lady Margaret insisted that only Turpin, with his superior experience and skill, could fully satisfy her. Given her husband’s position, Judge Turpin understood that refusing her would be professional suicide. Reluctantly he admitted that the masked balls, originally a source of ultimate unrestrained pleasure, were turning into something uncomfortably like an obligation.

The dance in progress was a moderately complex lengthwise one in triple time that offered ample opportunities for gossip and flirtation. The judge and Lady Margaret were the bottom couple, weaving their way up the set, dancing with one of the remaining couples at a time. There were fifteen couples and the dance would be a lengthy one. Turpin braced himself and murmured something suitably flirtatious to his partner.

Another couple had joined the dance, not by stepping into the top of the set, but by engaging in conversation with a couple near the bottom and taking places next to them. The man was one of Turpin’s habitués, a younger son of the nobility, an excellent rider and fencer, very moderate in his drinking and gambling habits but with something of a reputation as a stallion. The woman – Turpin glanced at her repeatedly over his partner’s head. He could not place her; he might have met her before, but her disguise was very efficient. The stiff black brocade of her gown exposed very little of her figure; it was very high-cut at the neck, with padded shoulders and a silhouette that opened into an A from below the breasts. The cut of her dress and the elaborate hair style made him think of Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of Henry VIII, although she was wearing no religious trappings. The mask that covered the upper part of her face was black, matching the unrelieved black of her costume.

Lady Margaret was simpering at him and growing petulant. He looked into her eyes, focusing like a professional actor, and murmured a few sweet nothings to soothe her. She smiled under her pink and gold feathered mask as she swirled to his “improper” side, took the prescribed forward and backward steps and let him direct her to the proper side to begin the dance again, this time with the dark lady and her partner.

As they were changing places, Turpin and the stranger just locked eyes instead of taking hands. The woman was a good four inches shorter than he, but the Judge felt that she would be perfectly able to stare him down if she felt the need. She swung around him, cut across the set, her partner intercepted Lady Margaret and suddenly Turpin found himself partnering the woman in black instead. He heard a high-pitched squeal and giggle: the noble young stallion had put his arm around Lady Margaret’s waist and was murmuring something into her ear that the lady obviously found irresistibly amusing. Turpin thanked inwardly for unexpected blessings and focused on his new dance partner. Her elaborate rich ebony hair style was held in place by an intricate silver clasp set with corals and turquoises, the only detail in her costume that was not black. Her costume and mask, while unrelieved in colour, were richly trimmed with embroidery and silk braid. A row of small round jet buttons closed the front of her gown from the high neck to the silk-trimmed hem. Her skin was not the youthful English white-and-rose that the judge usually favoured: the olive tones did little to disguise the woman’s age, quite on a par with Lady Margaret’s. But her posture and the glint in her dark eyes betrayed a temperament very different from his simpering original partner.

The dark stranger was a very skilful dancer, matching her movements to his in perfect time but not waiting to be led. She was obviously familiar with this particular dance, as she made light conversation with him without missing a step or a turn. After a short while she began adding complexity to her dance, a more intricate step variation, a turn doubled or reversed, trusting her partner to meet her in the exact right spot at the end of the figure. Often she would just look into his eyes instead of taking his hand, at other times, quite intentionally, she brushed much closer to him than the dance required. At one occasion he could have sworn that she passed a hand over his buttocks. Judge Turpin, himself an excellent dancer and frankly tired of steering simpering virgins and huffing matrons around dance sets, found that he was enjoying himself immensely.

When they reached the top of the set, he felt emboldened by her approaches during the dance. Instead of leading her away demurely, he swirled her from the set, country-fashion, with an arm around her waist. He was rewarded by a low, throaty laugh and her side pressing against his in an eloquently encouraging way. Before he could make the next move in one of his usual seductive gambits, she turned to face him and, her hands gripping his upper arms, looked at him steadily.
“Ah,” she remarked with a smile, “as excellent a dancer as you are handsome, my lord.”

For the first time since his teens he was lost for words when a woman was involved. And, like an embarrassed teenage boy, he tried to salvage the situation by offering the lady some refreshments. She accepted gracefully. Her choice of drink was unorthodox: rough country cider, very dry, with the distinctive tang of over-ripe apples. She drank thirstily and with obvious relish, her eyes gleaming at him over the rim of the goblet like those of a child enjoying a tasty treat. A sudden image of her leaning over him with that expression in her eyes sent a shiver down his spine.

The room was crowded, the next dance lively and someone jostled him. Somehow the lady got in his way and, to avoid stumbling into her, he fell and sprawled gracelessly on a sofa. She leaned over him with another sly smile.
“Have you lost your balance, my lord?”
Her lips were so close to his face that he could smell the aroma of apples on her breath. He strained for a kiss, but in his awkward position he was forced to relinquish control to her. She leaned closer, their lips touched, parted, her hand grabbed the hair at the back of his head and she was kissing him greedily, possessively. Her lips and tongue explored, provoked, caressed, her teeth nipped and nibbled. He closed his eyes and surrendered to the sensations with the impression that the responses of his mouth were being weighed, measured and, blessedly, not found wanting.

Suddenly her hand and mouth were gone; he opened his eyes and saw her looking down at him, scrutinising, musing.
“You make me dizzy, my lady,” he stated the obvious.
“I do?” Her hands moved in a strangely purposeful manner, probing around his half-mask, below his jaw, at the back of his neck along the spine. “You would not be ill, by any chance?”
She sat down next to him, took hold of his wrist and felt for his pulse with a steady, professional grip.
Confused, he attempted to revert to flirtation: “If I were, would you agree to be my physician?”
Her semi-provocative tone matched his exactly: “You are past physicians, my lord. In my opinion your condition calls for a surgeon.”
He stood up and offered her his hand with a slight bow.
“I bow to your expertise, Mistress Surgeon.”
“I intend to hold you to that, my lord.”
She rose, beckoned to a servant and said a few words to him that Turpin could not discern. As she turned her attention back to the judge, she brushed her hand against the front of his breeches, so briefly that he might have imagined it; so precisely that it made his breath catch.
Their eyes met and locked, just as they had in the dance.
“A patient in your condition should be in bed,” she noted.
Looking steadily into her eyes, he replied by another slight bow.

The servant returned with a small package wrapped in black brocade and tied with braided silk cords. The woman took it from him and looked expectantly at the judge, who gestured for her to precede him as he might for a true physician. With the servant leading the way, they left the ball-room and mounted the stairs to the judge’s bedroom.

--- --- ---

Once they reached his bedroom Turpin excused himself briefly to relieve himself.
He returned in his shirt sleeves, the shirt unbuttoned at the throat, his cravat gone.
The woman had been busy with her satchel at the bedside table. When she faced him, he saw, over her shoulder, a small pile of white cloth, possibly concealing some other objects – he fancied he discerned a glint of metal.

The woman showed no embarrassment when faced with a man whose clothing was in disarray. With perfect composure, without the slightest hint of coyness or professional flirtation, she asked him where she might retire to. He directed her. Before closing the door behind her, she said: “Meanwhile, remove your clothing, please.” With a small grin to himself, he reached for the top button of his breeches.

On her return to the bedroom she looked at him and frowned. He stood in the middle of the room, clad in his underwear, a glass of claret at his provocatively smiling lips.
She took the glass out of his hand, set it down on the table and said: “All your clothing, please. Your shirt and drawers as well.”
He reached towards her as if to touch the top button of her gown, with a flirtatious smile:
Well, then, what about you, my lady?”
She did not need to swat his hand away. She simply drew herself up and said coldly:
Would you undress your surgeon, my lord?!”
He lowered his hands, took a small step towards her and murmured in his most seductive tone: “Oh... I want to...”
She cut him off.
What you want is of no importance now. You get what you want rather too often, I believe. Your power is unrestrained and you might profit from some degree of restraint now and then. I wish to give you not what you want but what you need. The sole question is whether you are man enough to receive it in the spirit in which it is offered.”

He knew that he should be seething with rage. Who was this female, to tell him what he needed, to question his right to wield power? – But what he felt most of all was arousal. This was new, a degree of arousal that the etchings in his personal library or having his way with some young English rose fresh from Warwickshire had never brought him.
He took a deep breath and set to undoing the remaining buttons of his shirt.

In a forcedly casual tone he asked: “Do you wish me to remove my mask as well?”
No, not at the moment,” she said. “Just now these masks allow us to be our real selves, without the masks that we wear in daily life.”
Again to lighten his own mood, he made an attempt at social conversation.
What does your costume represent, Mistress Surgeon?”
What does it suggest to you?”
Catherine of Aragon,” he blurted out before embarrassment could stop him.
A religious zealot?”
No, not that. A strong, determined, mature woman. Severe but passionate.”
Thank you, my lord. I see that we understand each other. So... how about you? Do you have the courage to entrust yourself to my strength and determination for a while?”

The shiver that ran through him was part arousal, excitement, part genuine unadulterated fear. The security at his masked balls was rigorous, the admission only in the company of one of his usual guests. Still, she might have cheated someone… she might be a murderer, out to avenge a brother, lover, husband, whom he had sentenced to the gallows.
But the heady sensation was like a fiery wine, coursing through his veins and making his whole body feel more alive than it had in many years.
Wearing only his mask, he stood straight and spread his arms, declaring with quiet irony:
Mistress Surgeon, I am entirely at your mercy.”
Excellent.” There was a new, husky quality to her voice.

She reached up to run both her hands through his hair, along the sides of his face, below the jaw, halting here and there, continuing down his neck, shoulders, chest. Her touch was sometimes a caress, sometimes the earnest probing of a genuine surgeon, feather-light touches alternating with firmer pressure irregularly, unpredictably, alerting the nerves of his entire body, eliciting a gasp here, a shiver there. When he tried, once again, to take the initiative and draw her into his arms, she extricated herself with firm, quiet determination.
Arms along your sides, please.”

He complied. Strangely, the cool, impersonal command sent another wave of arousal through his groin. With an effort he held himself still as she continued exploring the planes and curves of his body, his arousal growing with the meticulous care she took to avoid his genital area.
The experience intrigued him. He had never before showed himself completely naked in a fully lighted room to anyone, not even his physician. Being scrutinised in considerable detail by a woman who was fully clothed felt somewhat embarrassing, but above all intensely erotic.

Obviously the judge was being judged. To his relief, he did not have to wait long for the verdict. She faced him, standing just far enough to look into his eyes without straining her neck.
Excellent,” she repeated. “You have an exquisite body, beautifully responsive. This may turn out... very rewarding.”
The husky, vibrant tone of her voice surprised, almost shocked him. There was undisguised lust in it, as raw as if they had engaged in intensive foreplay ever since they entered the room.
He had caused a woman to lust for him while he was naked, passive, silent; he attracted her in and for himself, not his social position, power, money, seductive words, amorous technique; she was unafraid, independent, clear-headed and she obviously desired him. He gasped at the thought and his erect penis twitched.

She noticed it and gave him a minute smile.
First things first, my lord. We have your treatment to think of.”
She reached around him, only her hand touching him, and probed purposefully for something by his right shoulder blade. He flinched as she pressed a sore spot; she pressed harder for a moment and then let go.
She moved the pillows aside and indicated the bed: “On your stomach, please”

As if in a dream, he complied and lay face down on the linen sheet. He, Judge Turpin, was obeying a woman’s orders – and not a very pretty woman at that. ‘This is madness,’ was his one last sober flash of doubt.
She came closer and, with practised ease, arranged a roll of cloth to support his forehead and cheeks and allow him to breathe in his face-down position. Her hand was resting on his shoulder in a detached, impersonal way as she said:
”I want you to understand a few things. I intend to lead you through a process, a procedure, that should turn out mutually rewarding. At some stage I may come to cause you pain, but I shan't harm you in any way. At certain moments you may say “no”, but mean “yes” deep inside your mind. But, if you really, truly wish me to stop, say the word “December”. Then I shall stop, leave immediately, and you will never see me or hear from me again. Do you understand, my lord?”

December,” he repeated. “Yes, Mistress Surgeon, I understand.”
Her touch became a brief caress before her hand left his shoulder.

He heard a rustle of cloth, felt a weight on one side of the bed by his hip, then on the other side as well. A warm, living body settled on the small of his back. She had straddled him.

The woman ran her hands in a few smooth, languid strokes over the planes of his back; then strong, capable fingers probed his muscles, thoroughly, systematically.
The first time she found a tender spot, pressed it with her finger and leaned some of her weight on it, he gasped with the unexpected pain. She did not relent in spite of his quick, shallow breathing.
Take deep breaths,” she directed. “Don’t fight the pain. Allow it. Let it pass.”
On his attempt to comply, to his surprise, the pain lessened in a matter of seconds – at which she increased the pressure, causing him to gasp once more.
Deep breaths,” she reminded him.
The process was repeated a third time.
Why...” he gasped, bracing himself for another assault of pain.
No more, I've finished with this point,” she soothed him. “Just feel the difference.”
Slowly she released the point, rubbing gentle circles around it,
It was as if someone had cut the laces of a too-tight corset, he thought. A portion of his back felt larger, freer, lighter, allowing him to breathe deeper.
When she found another sore pressure point, he focused on his breathing, trying to relax into the pain.

Yes, very good,” she praised him. “Your body learns quickly.”
She rewarded him with a long, smooth, gentle caress before continuing the procedure.

She found the point between his spine and his right shoulder blade that she had probed before and massaged the muscles around it deeply and thoroughly.
Yes,” he mumbled. “Often.”
Admitting his weakness to a stranger somehow made it more manageable, he realised.
Small wonder,” she commented matter-of-factly.
She followed the long back muscle along the spine, through the neck, to the base of his skull, probing, exploring. Most of it was uncomfortable; some, painful. His shoulder tensed and drew up; she warmed it with her hands and smoothed it down with long, firm strokes.
Then her fingers found the pressure point.

No,” he tried to twist away. “That’s enough.”
Don’t squirm,” she said, returning his head and shoulders to their original position with a firm grip.
This is the last one,” she added.
The best one for the last,” he attempted a quip that ended in a loud gasp.
Focus on your breathing,” she said as she leaned forward to put more weight on her hands.
He cried out weakly, then complied.
Even after the three degrees of deep pressure she was not satisfied with the result.
She felt around the point, making him flinch repeatedly.
It won’t let go; you've had this knot for a very long time,” she said. “I must use a deeper, more radical method.”

He felt her weight shift as she reached for something on the bedside table.
He wanted to ask what she was going to do, but his mouth was dry and no sound came out.
He heard some faint metallic sounds, then something wet and cold rubbed the tender spot on his back, then another clink of metal.
This will hurt for a moment. Hold very still. If you move, you may cause yourself an injury.”
A brief pause.
Inhale very deeply and hold your breath.”
The pressure of her hand on his back increased. She had put considerable weight on it, restraining his ability to move.
A fiery point penetrated the painful, tender, sore spot; it moved, twirled, plunged deeper. He screamed into the mattress in front of his face.
Breathe,” commanded her voice. “Deep, regular breaths. Feel the air surround the painful spot. Cooling, soothing... That’s better.”
Surprisingly, it was better. Suddenly he could barely feel the needle in his back and he sighed with relief.
The sigh turned into yet another gasp as the needle plunged even deeper.
Almost there,” the woman murmured. “Hold perfectly still. Now.”
There was a blinding flash behind his closed eyelids, a jolt of pain struck out from the impact point to the very tip of his shoulder and the base of his skull.
He could neither scream nor move, all he could do was breathe and even there he needed her prompting.
Very deep breaths,” she said. “Deep and slow. Find a steady rhythm. Work through the pain and feel it pass. ... Very, very good.”

This was certainly not what he had had in mind when he had invited her into his bedroom.
His arousal was forgotten; he was reduced to a mass of flesh and nerves shivering with cold sweat and waiting for another assault of pain.
As if she sensed his thoughts, she picked up another piece of cloth, wiped off the sweat as far as she could reach and made him more comfortable.
Can you feel any difference?” she asked, probing his neck and the base of his skull gently.
Yes, in fact, he could. The band of tightness around his head that had plagued him intermittently for as long as he could remember, sometimes escalating to violent headaches, was gone.
Unable to speak properly, he only murmured a vague assent.
She continued: “I can't remove the knot completely, but the attacks will be less frequent and less violent. If you learn a suitable meditation technique, you may be free from the tension problems over long periods of time.”
She stroked his back and upper arms comfortingly.
You have to bear a little more pain; I shall activate the point twice more. It won’t be as bad as the first impact and it will make the improvement last longer.”
Laboriously, he found his voice.
Is it necessary?” he asked.
No. None of this is strictly necessary: your condition isn’t life-threatening nor will it turn you into an invalid any time soon. You are free to say your magic word, and I shall vanish forever, with all my implements of torture.”
There was a shade of sarcasm in her tone, a clear challenge.
She paused. “Well? Will you say the word?”
The temptation was great. But then… what would he be missing? This woman…
He braced himself.
No,” he said. “Please, continue.”

Again she took hold of the needle and twirled it, pulling it out a fraction and pushing it deeper again. He felt another jolt, less painful now, and met it with deep, determined breaths.
After a brief pause she repeated the process once more. The discomfort was quite bearable this time, but still he sighed with relief when she finally withdrew the needle.
There,” she said, climbing off the bed. “Some rest now, and you will be ready for the pleasant part.”

He could hear the smile in her voice and wondered wistfully if she had not misjudged him. All he could feel was weariness, his body quite unwilling to move at all.
But then she approached him again, once more caressed his back with long, smooth strokes, pausing to cup his buttocks with her hands and knead gently; went on to caress his legs along their full length, pausing to massage the feet, moving on to explore the tender skin at the back of his knees; returned to the buttocks to stroke and knead them appreciatively. He was relaxed, floating on a cloud of calm, gentle pleasure, but beginning to toy with the idea of arousal again.
He pushed the roll of cloth out of the way and let his head settle in a more restful position, sideways, with one cheek against the cool, smooth linen... Restful? He checked himself. Ever since he was a child he had not been able to find a comfortable position on his stomach. Now he felt as if a huge weight had been lifted from his back: his whole torso felt free, light, limber. It was an amazingly pleasant sensation.

Her hand went to the small of his back, hovered there, barely touching the tiny hairs on the skin, minute, gentle movements sending shivers through his entire body.
“More,” he sighed. “More, please...”

Her touch disappeared and he whimpered at the loss.
Presently he felt another touch in the same spot, very soft, very smooth, impossibly tender: her lips and after a moment her tongue, touching, exploring... another touch, hard, bright, spicy: her teeth, ghosting lightly over this sensitive but neglected area of his body that he had been barely aware of before. In a moment his stomach muscles were flexing, his hips tilting, his groin rubbing against the sheet.
Her caresses paused and she gave a low chuckle.
Feeling better, my lord?”
Mm hmm...”
Well, we can't have you wasting all that lovely energy on a bed-sheet.”

She withdrew a little to give him space to move.
Roll over onto your back, please,” she directed.
He did, felt for the pillow, bunched it up behind his head and looked at her. Like him, she was still wearing her mask, but she had discarded the brocade gown and was dressed only in a long, long-sleeved linen shift, full and smocked for ease of movement.
She noticed his semi-erect penis.
You seem to be recovering well,” she said. “Is there anything you need?”
I'm thirsty,” he murmured.
Quiet steps, a clink of glass, a splash of liquid, and she was back at his bedside.
Let me help you,” she said, supporting his head and holding a glass to his lips.
The liquid looked like water, but had a sharp herbal smell. He pushed the glass aside.
It's only water,” she explained, “with some essence of ginger and lemon. Just to make it a little more refreshing. Here...”
She drank half the content of the glass and held it to his lips again. He drank, blushing, ashamed of having showed his fear. Then he lay back again, his eyes closed.
He felt her hands stroking his arms, his chest, toying with the sparse greying hairs there.
So very beautiful,” her voice had the husky tone of arousal again. “Don't be afraid. I won't cause you any more pain – unless you ask me to.”
She knelt on the bed, leaned over him and kissed him, slowly, thoroughly, hungrily. Her palms found his, their fingers interlaced and she directed his arms up above his head.

It happened quickly. Suddenly there were loops of silk connecting his wrists to the bedposts, and she was tying similar loops around his ankles. The bonds were not so tight as to prevent all movement, he could bend his arms and vary his position to some degree, but he was quite efficiently restrained. The woman made a roll of the bed covers behind his knees to keep his legs slightly bent – a rather pleasant position, relaxing for the back, he had to admit to himself. Still, he was tied down, exposed, vulnerable... and he panicked. Yanking at the bonds that restrained his arms, he tried to roll off the bed.
The woman held him down, gently but firmly.
Relax, please,” she murmured, her face very close to his. “Don't fight me. Remember, I only intend to give you what you need. You have nothing to fear. That's right,” she added when he complied and lay back, drawing a few deep, shuddering breaths.
Any physical discomfort?” she asked.
No,” he admitted a little uncertainly.
Good,” she said, reaching towards his face.

Something dark and soft covered his eyes. A blindfold, he thought, panic rising inside him again. No, not that. He feared going blind more than anything... His head jerked from side to side, his whole torso arched in the effort to free himself from the blindfold while he could.
No,” he said aloud. “Not my eyes. Please.”
Her hands clasped his head firmly and the cloth remained in place.
It's very bad, the fear of going blind,” her low voice said. “But this is just a game. Being unable to see for a while will help your skin feel more acutely. Let it happen. You have your share of enemies, but I intend you no harm. If I did, the needle in your back would have been a knife. You realise that. You know you are safe with me, here and now. Allow me to cover your eyes. As your surgeon I find it strongly indicated. This evening you are my patient, very strong, very brave, and I think that your curiosity outweighs your fear,” she ended on a lighter note.
He did not trust himself to speak, but made an effort to keep still while she slipped his mask from under the blindfold and tied the dark cloth securely in its place. A long, thorough, heady kiss rewarded him when it was done. Then he felt her rise from the bed...
and waited … and waited, hearing no sound, sensing no movement.

Where... where are you...?”
His mouth felt dry and his own voice sounded thin and flat to his ears.
I'm here.”
He realised that she was standing just next to the bed, quietly, soundlessly. Her voice had the husky, sensuous, aroused quality again.
I'm looking at you.”
To his mortification, he blushed like a young boy under the blindfold, the blush spreading all the way to his collarbones.
The blush becomes you, my dear sir,” she said, her voice gentle, teasing. Then, with just the sensuous hush: “You have a lovely body; strong, mature, in excellent condition. You look very attractive, exposed and vulnerable like that. ”
Her compliments confused and angered him. He forced his speech to remain cool and said:
Very well, you're an accomplished actress. Your voice almost had me fooled. Now please stop making fun of me.”
I meant every single word,” she said. “I'll say nothing more now – just prove it to you.”
Her body lay alongside his, her leg over his, the touch of her skin through the thin linen shift burning him and driving his arousal higher. He felt her breath against his ear, but she said nothing; instead she took his ear lobe between her lips and sucked, gently, harder, her teeth caught it, nipped, probed the bare beginning of pain; her mouth moved on, tracing the outer shell of his ear in tiny, meticulous detail before slipping to the side of his neck and trailing down to his collar bone. Her fingers copied the touch on the opposite side. Then her fingers and lips were all over his torso, exploring, suggesting, probing, stimulating, complimenting, encouraging, promising, alerting...

He felt her move, change her position, and she was kneeling between his legs, caressing the insides of his thighs, teasing them with the backs of her fingernails, his arousal mounting as he heard her heavy breathing and her gasps and moans that echoed his and replied to every shiver of his body. It was as if his reactions touched her physically and urged on her own arousal.

She broke all contact for a moment and he shivered in expectation of … something.
Her hand touched his testicles, stroking very, very gently at first, then the backs of her fingernails ghosting over them, then her hand cupping them and kneading a little more firmly. Then both her hands were exploring his genitals, caressing the testicles, stroking the whole length of the penis, teasing the foreskin, making him gasp and shudder repeatedly. Shortly her mouth joined in the ministrations, tongue laving, lips teasing, teeth nipping infinitely gently... Having waited this long, and being unable to see, made the sensations almost unbearably acute. If he was not to climax immediately, he needed a pause...
It must be his turn now: he needed to touch her, make her body respond to him. He knew as surely as anything he'd ever known that their encounter would be over, once and for all, shortly after his climax. He needed to last – he was desperate for a respite.
My arms, please, free my arms, I need to touch...” he mumbled.

No,” she replied, her hands still ghosting about his genital area, her fingers toying with his pubic hair, stroking the tender skin of his lower abdomen.
You are used to doing, touching, taking charge, manipulating, being in control,” she went on. “This evening you may experience a new aspect of yourself. Just give yourself up completely to your sensations, your reactions. Don't do anything: let it happen. You'll find it rewarding, I promise.”
Reluctantly, he admitted that she had a point. He had never felt this aroused in his life, as if the whole surface of his body consisted of nerve endings sensitive to the touch, alive, alert, the sensations focusing on his groin but running in jolts and waves through his torso, his limbs, his head.

Her right hand reached for something and returned almost immediately, the fingers slick with some substance that felt pleasantly cool on his body. She began exploring the sensitive area just behind his testicles; he shivered and moaned, and her fingers moved further back between his thighs. He tried to twist away, but she was determined.
He clenched his seat muscles and his jaw both.
No! That's an abomination...”
She spoke very gently to him while her fingers moved insistently.
No, not at all. It's simply a part of your body that's very sensitive and very neglected. I promise not to hurt you, and the touch may be very pleasurable. Relax for me. Let go. I know you're curious, so just allow it. Let it happen. ”

There it was again, the terrible, embarrassing, immature blush on his face. Yes, he was curious, very much ashamed but, oh, so curious, to be touched in that most intimate spot. He relaxed with a huge gasp. Her finger moved deeper, massaged the small circular muscle and, very, very gently, slipped through the opening. It withdrew a little and penetrated deeper, again, again, circling, probing. He held himself perfectly still, focusing on the sensation, exploring it in return. Then he moved a little, tentatively, against her hand. Waves of sheer pleasure coursed through his body.
The woman's finger penetrated deeper, its angle changed slightly, as if she was searching for something – she found it and an inarticulate noise tore from his throat. He was quite unable to move, all his sensations focusing on one spot deep inside his lower belly, the pleasure excruciating.
One clear thought filtered through the mist of pleasure fogging his mind: Not yet!
He must not climax yet and end this remarkable evening.
Not yet,” he managed to bring out.
Her other hand was ready at the root of his penis, holding, pressing, delaying his release.
The finger inside him withdrew slowly, languidly.
So...” her low, husky voice said. “You want to last even longer. Why?”
All this... will be over. Not yet. Please.”
No, not quite yet. I agree. Rest a little, I'll be back in a moment.”

Light, quick steps to the commode in the corner, some splashes of water, her steps returning.
He imagined her standing at the bedside, looking down at him. He shivered again and felt his nipples rise and stiffen. Her fingers touched one nipple, rolled and pinched it gently. Her mouth found the other nipple, licked, suckled, bit ever so lightly. Then her mouth made its way higher over of his chest; her head settled next to his upraised arm; her lips locked onto the strong, tight muscle connecting the shoulder and the neck. She bit down and sucked, leaving a small red mark.
More,” he sighed.
She bit and sucked harder, the mark growing, deepening.
More would mean breaking the skin,” she said. “I would draw blood.”
Yes. Please.”
There are easier ways of drawing blood, if that's what you need.”
Easier... for the patient, or for the surgeon?” he asked with a hint of sarcasm.
For the patient,” she answered quietly.
Easy is not the issue. Please, do it.”
She stretched out fully along his side, embraced him, positioned her mouth carefully in the angle between his neck and his shoulder, drew a fold of his skin between her teeth, sucked hard and bit down quickly. He felt the sting of breaking skin, cried out, shuddered, then relaxed with a deep sigh. Yes, the pain was just the distraction that he needed.
After a moment of rest he said: “That should be cleaned, Mistress Surgeon. Human bites are dangerous.”
She propped herself up on an elbow by his side, felt around the small wound and said: “Yes, I agree completely, my learned colleague. What do you suggest?”
He braced himself as if about to plunge into very cold water.
Brandy,” he said. “Cut-glass carafe on the drink tray on the table.”
She kissed him lightly on the mouth before rising from the bed.
She returned presently and knelt on the bed next to him. His nose caught a whiff of brandy, presumably from a piece of cloth in her hand.
All right,” she said. “This is going to sting.”
She applied the cloth to the wound; pressed it down repeatedly, causing the alcohol to seep down onto the injury.
He made no sound whatsoever. The only sign of his discomfort were the shivers and ripples running through his abdomen as he breathed.
There,” she said, putting the cloth aside. She avoided direct contact with the wound, but planted a number of little kisses around it. Then she leaned over him and kissed his mouth greedily.
His hips responded, tilting, seeking contact and not finding any.

How do you feel?”she asked.
I want you. More and more. I've never been so aroused in my life. I feel that I have to climax or explode, but it just goes on.”
And your arms? Any soreness, cramping, numbness?”
None at all. – But... what about you? I haven't even been allowed to touch you yet.”
My dear sir,” there was that smile in her voice again, “your consideration does you credit. But you're wrong,” she went on more seriously. “Your reactions touch me more than your hands ever could. Your patience, self-control and determination are unbelievably erotic. And your gasps and shivers would arouse a saint. Here, let me show you.”

She straddled him and let her entrance rub against his penis. He felt that she was hot, soft and very moist, as if his hands and mouth had stimulated her at some length.
Oh, I want you, now, please,” he moaned. “And I want, oh, I want so much to see your eyes. Do let me see you. Please, let me see you. Please...”
He had been begging and pleading before, to no avail.
You really do want that, don't you,” she said gently. She ran her palms from his abdomen over his ribs to his shoulders, her body following until she was lying completely on top of him.
How does this feel, am I too heavy?”
No. I feel... safe. Protected. Innocent, even.” He gave a sarcastic laugh at the final word.
She stroked his cheeks, running her thumbs over the beginning stubble; her fingers found the blindfold, untied it, laid it aside. She raised herself on her arms so he could see her.

At some point she had removed her shift and mask, so both he and she were completely naked. The skin of her body had the same olive tinge as her face; there were some brown and reddish age spots, fewer than his, scattered over her torso. She had small breasts and, for a woman, uncommonly muscular shoulders and arms. Her waist, like his own, was showing signs of heaviness; her hips were wide and comfortable. She had an oval face, not beautiful or pretty, but now, in her arousal, open and lively; she smiled a little, lop-sidedly, and she was looking down at him just as he had imagined and hoped, with the same hedonistic glint in her eyes as she had had when drinking the cider.
Not too disappointed, I hope?”
He smiled in reply and tilted his hips for his penis to nudge her buttocks.

She positioned herself over him, directed his penis with her hand and lowered herself slightly, only the head entering her; she withdrew a little, lowered herself further, her strong thighs controlling the penetration and keeping it excruciatingly slow.
His eyes rolled back in his head. He tried to raise his hips to hurry the process, but his legs, still tied loosely to the bed posts, found no purchase and scrabbled ineffectively.
He gasped, arched his chest, his hands clutching at the bonds that restrained them. He forced his eyes open, expecting to see her calm and reserved with an ironic smile on her face.

He was wrong.
She was struggling for control, her hair dishevelled, droplets of sweat dotting her hairline, her mouth open in a wordless, shuddering cry. Every single moan and shiver on his part elicited a responding gasp and spasm in her: he was affecting her in this way while passive, helpless, restrained. The thought overwhelmed him and the last remains of his self-control crumbled. With a huge effort he arched his entire body for his hips to meet hers; she replied in kind, letting herself go, impaling herself fully on his penis. They both cried out and sank onto the mattress together.

Her hips circled, rose, sank, inviting him to move. He did, tentatively, expecting her to set the pace, to maintain control. To his surprise, she adapted to his movements, following him, matching his rhythm. He blathered something incoherent, delighted. She rode him on and on, like an accomplished rider would a noble stallion, their movements in perfect unison.
Suddenly she stopped, remained quite still for a moment, then her inner muscles contracted around him, she arched her back and a huge, roaring gasp erupted from her throat.
Her climax almost sent him over the edge, shivering, panting, gasping.
She rose on her knees and he panicked. Would she withdraw and leave him like this?
He could not suppress a desperate moan: “No!”
Ssshhh...” she soothed him. “I'm here, with you.”
Her hips rocked up and down in a few slow, long, languid strokes and once more she left him to set the pace and choose his own rhythm.

His reflexes took over. His body moved of its own accord, driving him inexorably towards the climax. He felt his head spinning, the world going grey, he and the woman on top of him were one single organism, moving simultaneously towards one single goal. Once more her inner muscles contracted about his penis and his core exploded.
The two of them screamed as if from one single throat and then he heard and saw nothing while his huge release went on and on and on, his blood roaring in his ears, his whole being centred in his groin.
Slowly, slowly the world came back to him, black dots dancing before his eyes at first, then the woman and the room in grey outlines, reality gradually returning into focus. The woman was still straddling him, her upper body folded over his chest, his not yet quite flaccid penis still sheathed inside her. Her hips moved with slow, languid determination and once more her muscles contracted in yet another climax. She gave a low moan and a sigh, contented, satiated, fulfilled.

Her hands moved along his arms to his wrists and he felt the bonds loosen. He had been able to move a little, so the stiffness was not as bad as he had expected. At last he could enfold her in his arms and he did so, with an emotion that he could not put a name to, longing to thank her and not knowing how.
She shifted her hips to release him and stretched out close to him; he turned onto his side, partly facing her, his legs still hampered by the silk cords. They lay resting, enjoying each other's presence, for a long while. He noticed that his cheeks were damp. Confused, he felt his face and realised that there had been tears in his eyes.

She disengaged herself gently and rose from the bed. He closed his eyes and focused on hearing and sensing her move about the room. She released his legs from the bonds, felt the muscles of his limbs and massaged them briefly to dispel any residual soreness. She went to the commode, returned and knelt on the bed once more.
I’m going to clean you,” she said. “I’m sorry if it feels cold.”
Thank you,” was all he could say. In his completely relaxed state he welcomed not having to move and relished the touch of the cool, damp cloth on his body. He was far beyond embarrassment, convention, masculine pride.
She straightened the bedclothes and covered him up to his chest. Then she brought him another glass of water scented with the lemon and ginger essence. He propped himself up on an elbow to drink. When he set down the glass, he took hold of her hand and kissed her fingers.
How can I thank you?” he said.
There was a pause and he noticed that she swallowed hard before answering. When she spoke, she resorted to levity:
I’m a surgeon, a scientist. Treating a fascinating case such as yours is its own reward.”
He lay back on the pillow.
There must be something,” he insisted.
It was a pleasure, my lord,” she said earnestly, looking into his eyes, her hand stroking the stubble on his cheek. “Sleep now. I’ll find my own way out.”

He took her hand and brought it once more to his lips. Then he curled up on his side and closed his eyes. He heard her move about some more, collecting her belongings, arranging her clothes.

A few bars of music drifted up from the ball room below when the bedroom door opened and closed.