Bounding almost, I came through the lobby doors with a big backpack following like a hump on my back. My worn leather boots, big and dorky stomping with heavy, determined feet to make it to the path outside without my exhilaration showing on my face. There he was already waiting for me with a sly grin which broke into a chuckle as I piled through the glass doors. I paused, shoving my thumbs into my back jeans pockets and titled my head letting my eyes pass over him as casually as possible. He leaned on the window of his Ute in a similar moment of consideration. Although, Ben looked calmer than I might have. His faded grey t-shirt loosely hanging over the top of his hands which rested in the seams of his own pockets, barely giving away what he might be hiding under there. I passed my eyes and twitched my mouth to one side taking a few slow steps towards him and gently released my breath which I hadn’t realised I’d been holding. Hopefully he wouldn’t either.

I got closer, stopping feet to feet, our boots only just meeting at the toe. His dark brown eyes seemed to glimmer a little in the brightness of morning, with a light curiosity as he watched me. Though they were usually quite dark, the sunlight seemed to illuminate the golden tones I so love catching a glimpse of. I tried not to animate my face too much as I watched his mouth twist to mimic mine. I stayed in my own thoughts, catching my tongue back into my mouth, biting down on my lip. I wondered where we were going and what he had planned. I wanted to know what thoughts he had turning behind his eyes as they watched whatever I might be giving away on my face. My eyes stayed on his, before self consciously lowering them as those thoughts from the shower the other morning splayed my mouth into a wide smirk, which I tried to eat.

He was swift leaning forward to catch my hips in his hands to steady me, before I could even gauge the movement. I let out a cheep and tried to lean into his body coming towards me, but he was stepping me back, holding me at arms length. The firm grip of his hands pushing my hips made my insides tighten and I inhaled sharply, taking in a faint woody scent that lingered on him.

“Get in the car, I want to get to where we are going. Now.” There was a smokey, urgency in his voice that stayed and tickled me, even after we’d hopped into the car. I quietly obeyed with a grin, not arguing his point. I absolutely wanted to get where we were going. As we took off, leaving my apartment in his dark blue 4WD Ute, I couldn’t help wriggling in my seat to try and move whatever was jutting into my backside. Reaching down with my left hand, my body fell right and my hand landed on the top of his tautly panted thigh. I felt my mouth fall open and my eyes snapped to meet his. Through his pants I could feel the muscles in his leg ripple under my palm and a heat generate to my skin.

“Oops.” I chimed, “Sorry.” Looking anything but I’m sure. His expression toyed with me, clicking his tongue with a smirk. Finally un-wedging the item, I yanked it out from under me to reveal a thick, soft leather collar with metal “O” fixed to the front and wide buckle on the back. I adjusted myself back in my seat, letting my hand purposely linger on his leg and laid the collar in my lap.

“Where are we going?” I cooed, nesting my head into the carseat peering at him through the wisps of my fringe. The warmth from his thigh under my hand still radiating with each twitch of his movement. I thought about moving it away, instead I danced my fingers around in circular motions. His eyes shifted down and then back to meet mine. Finally, I could see provocation in his face which was dispelled when he grappled my hand in his and took it to his mouth. Ben roughly stuffed my finger into his bite and held it there. His hot mouth now guarding my pinky with a mix of wet, warm and dull painful pressure eating at the bone. I winced and squirmed wanting to crawl out of my seat and onto his face. He suckled his teeth down a little harder before expelling my numbing finger from his grip.

“Impatient aren’t you?” He remarked with a serious but twisted smile. I wriggled at his words and fondled with the collar in my hands.

“It’s been a long week and I’ve had a lot on my mind.” A reply loaded with vagueness. I thought back to our first date and tried to count how many we had had. While it seemed like we’d been seeing each other for a few months the reality was we hadn’t jumped into anything. It was a slow, agonising build up of causal coffee dates, cheeky texts, and a few days spent together. All those thoughts I’ve had burning my consciousness seemed to waiver now we were together. The courage to openly discuss slipping away in my own shyness. Damn me.

“Peyton, I want you to know that I expect you to talk to me. I require it. You understand that it’s important here, right? His voice was low and soft as he lifted his hand, squishing my mouth as he yanked my face towards him. My inner cheeks grazing my teeth, I fished my lips in a quirky joke and offered a “mmmm” in his direction. His hand left my face with lightening speed and slapped down hard on my thigh snapping a stinging sensation that burned his handprint beneath the fabric of my jeans. I yelped, laughing nervously. It was a delicious sensation that I welcomed as the heat travelled, crawling through me.

“Yes, I understand.” I managed, giggling while he rubbed the pain into my flesh with his hand which was now monopolising the realestate of my thigh. His hand was so much bigger than the width of my thigh, his fingers splayed, grabbing at me.

“In return, I want you to expect me to talk to you as well. I need you to require it.” I nodded at his words and replied softly, nestling my head again to peek out, watching his face. He must have shaved this morning, as the stubble he usually wore was gone. I savoured being able to watch him, when he couldn’t watch me. His eyes deeply focused on the road ahead and hands now firmly planted on the wheel of the car. The Ute filled with the rays of the sun which thickened the cool autumn air as they came in through the widescreen. I pulled the sun shield down on the vehicle and adjusted my short body to benefit from it.

“I’ve read a lot of wanky shit lately.” I started, watching his expression intently. He chuckled and glanced at me sideways. There was something deja vu about this moment that I caught as we were driving along the highway. That we were here rather comfortably in this journey, as if we’d done this a thousand times before.

“What on earth does wanky mean?”

“Well, I know there is different views and perspectives on BDSM relationship dynamics and I guess some of what I was sifting through really likes to drive it home about boundaries, limits and consent…which is understandable…” I paused but he stayed silent. “It makes sense to me that those things are important for safety and you know, preventing the killing of naive subs?” I turned my head to look out my own window, admiring the fields as we seemed to be heading further out of the city. Houses now sparsely littered on larger blocks with semi-rural yards and old wire fences.

“Do you trust me?”

“I don’t know yet,” my answer primed and fired without hesitation. “But I think I’d like to.” My hands still toying with the collar in my lap, contemplating the seriousness that was sitting here with us as if it were a third passenger.

“Good.” His reply seemed light and unclouded, “I think that is a perfect answer. If you’d said yes, I might have taken you back to town just now.” His words pulled my head back to face him, though his expression was still unreadable. I quirked at his remark and pulled my hand to my mouth touching the the skin of my lips wanting to hide my curious smile. We drove on in a silence that allowed some reflection, when I wasn’t busy gazing at him. Occasionally he’d look over at me and smirk, catching me in a twisted smile of my own. I sighed a few times, breathing out words that wouldn’t come from questions that sat on my tongue. Each time I’d turn a little in my seat and try to relax. I thought he wasn’t paying attention to my nerves until he finally looked over and quizzically squinted his eyes, lowering his gaze onto me.

“Yes?” questioning me, his voiced stern and cautious. I hesitated, but I wanted to be here. I wanted to know him better. He seemed to want to know me.

“I’ve never had to beg before.” I curled up inside letting my words float pass my resistance. I closed my eyes to shield my face. You know, because if I can’t see you then you can’t see me?

“When I’m through with you today, you won’t find this a difficult task Peyton,” He laughed. My cheeks grew warm and I fluttered my eyes open, wanting to see. I covered my face with all of my auburn hair, watching him. I felt girlish, shy and exposed even with my face covered.

“Take your hair off your face. I’m not going to spend the day with cousin IT. Besides, I don’t do cousins.” Even though his words were stern, he was grinning at me the whole time. My hands fell from my face letting my hair follow and fall down passed my shoulders. He reached into his pocket and retrieved a hair elastic.

“Here. Pull your hair into a pony tail, that way it won’t get in my way.” the smugness of his words annoyed me. As  I chortled at him, his face whipped at me with raised eye brows. I nodded and did as he asked.

After some time we arrived and turned down a long drive way. It was compacted pea gravel, red Australian dirt with tall Trees planted either side. I stirred gently and glanced to look at the digital clock. It was 10am, so we’d been on the road an hour and a half. I stretched out my body which was tight from the drive and peered over the dashboard to see where we were. The paddock to our right was green and empty but behind it there was a house hidden amongst more tall trees. It looked modest and in someways very old.

Ben was driving roughly up the driveway like he’d done this a thousand times before. The side to side motion of the vehicle rattled me and I held onto the handle affixed to the roof, glaring at him as my body bounced away next to him. Thankfully, we made it safely but not before he spun the car around the circular driveway in a way that made me think we might slam into something. I boar my eyes, squinting in irritation.

Two summers ago, I’d lost a friend in a country road accident. He’d been a childhood friend who was driving me and some of our friends back to town from staying out there the weekend. It was twilight and when we rounded the bend there was little opportunity to break for the kangaroo which had darted out, followed by another. Phillip had tried to recover the car, but it spun out of control and hit a tree on the drivers side. I’d lost consciousness in the accident and when I woke I was in hospital, injured, battered and grief stricken. I hadn’t told Ben any of that, yet. It’s not the kind of thing I like to talk about.

“Fun, no?” He chuckled at me some more. My eyes watered, taking a moment to catch my breath, I fell back into the seat and sighed relief. He was already out of the car, walking around to my side so I quickly brush the wetness from my eyes and swallowed the anxiety down as best I could. The door flung open in excitement and it was a side of him I hadn’t seen before. He seemed fresh, boyishly looking at me from his smiling expression. There was a reservation that he’d had before, that felt less prominent out here. I remember when we’d been in the National Park, seeing a glimpse of this side of him, it was not obvious at the time though as we were busily chasing through the bush.

He took the collar from my lap, and offered me his other hand to help me out. I slid my hand into his and followed easily.

“This is….was my family home growing up.” I gapped at his words and quickly tried to think what we would be doing here. I wasn’t ready to meet people. See family. I didn’t think we were there yet. Panic shot through me that apparently I was emanating as if the apocalypse had just started. My grip tightened on his and almost pulled him back. “It’s ok, no one is here this weekend. Peyton, it’s just a house. I grew up here, and when we all got older it became a weekend home that I share with the family.” I settled at his words, and released my tightened grip. He pulled me around the front of the Ute and his hands found their way to my hips. At first he held me at arms length, like before we’d got in the car. I tried to push forward into him again, but he held me there. I’m sure it was just to torture me a little longer.

There were sounds of the breeze, birds and breath but nothing else. My eyes folded closed as I stood in front of him breathing in the scent of the hill, the valley and him. I laid my palms flat down on his chest, letting them rise and fall with the rhythm of his own breath. It felt divine and calm here with him. He let me stay in the moment for a minute or two before relaxing his hold on my hips, bringing our waists to meet. It was almost sweet and caused my eyes to lift open, finding his.

His hand wrapped around his instructed pony tail and he pulled my head back. Ben put a firm arm around the back of my body, holding me closer to his and I could feel the buckle of his belt digging into my lower belly. My hands fell to his sides slowly, tracking down the hidden lines of his abdomen. A gasp meekly escaped me, wriggling my body to test his grip on me. Satisfied it was tight enough, I couldn’t help but moan happily. His mouth fell to my neck, and I thought he might bite me as he has before in this way. However he only licked the sensitive skin there and left breath for me to soak up.

“Take your fucking clothes off.”

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