Her smile wavered for the briefest instant before returning to full strength. Shit. It hadn't occurred to me before, but sexed up like I was and visiting an unnamed male guest in his room alone, I realised what I looked like. Yep, lawyer by day, high class hooker by night. That's me. I could have laughed if I wasn't so mortified.
"Of course, just take the lift over there up to the fourth floor. It's the first door on your right."
"Great, thanks," I said, doing my best to keep my expression neutral. Trying to correct her seemed like more trouble than it was worth.
As the lift gradually ticked its way upwards, my nerves continued to build. In the past, my sexual encounters had always been vaguely predictable. Even when the relationship was new, I had some idea what to expect. It was still exciting, but there was a comfort in that familiarity. With Sebastian, however, I was going in blind. The whole thing was a mystery.
With my heart thumping, I made my way slowly down the corridor until I found the room. Taking a deep breath, I knocked twice. There was no response. I tried again with the same result. Had I gotten mixed up somehow? I was fairly sure I had the details right, but Sebastian didn't strike me as the flaky sort. Not knowing what else to do, I reached out tentatively and tugged on the heavy brass handle. The door fell open without a sound.
At first I thought I was in the wrong place. The lights were dim and the room appeared to be empty. I made my way inside, glancing around nervously like a girl in a horror film, but Sebastian was nowhere in sight.
The room was stunning. Decked in soft creams and whites, it offered the kind of open space most hotel guests could only dream of. In front of the giant king sized bed was a rolling window that opened directly on to a balcony, offering me a perfect panoramic view of the harbour. I gazed out for several seconds, watching a lightning bolt sear the sky a blinding white. The storm was drawing closer.
It wasn't until I spotted the envelope that I realised I hadn't messed up. It was resting on a chair in the middle of the room. Oh so that's how we're playing is it? A thrill surged through me as I approached.
There was something else sitting beside it; a strip of dark silk about as long as my arm. I picked it up, running its softness through my fingers and trying to imagine what it was for. More restraints? Or something more sensual?
The whole situation had a clandestine flavour to it. The dark room, the mysterious props, the secret instructions, they all made me feel incredibly naughty; like I was doing something much more illicit than simply having sex.
Written on the front of the envelope was a single word. 'Sophia'. There was something about the way he said my name that carried more weight than normal. I found myself hearing the word in his voice as I read it.
Inside was a simple set of instructions:
I'm happy you could join me. I think you will find tonight's activities most enlightening. To prepare, I want you to strip down to your panties. I trust you've discovered the blindfold I left for you. Once you're undressed, stand in the middle of the room. Place the ribbon I asked for on the bed next to you and then cover your eyes with the scarf. Wait like that until I come for you.
I picked up the silk gingerly and held it up to the light. It was completely opaque. Once it was secured in place, I'd be utterly blind. He'd be able to do whatever he wanted and I wouldn't even see it coming. The thought made me tremble.
For the hundredth time I considered calling it off. He'd promised to leave me alone if that was what I wanted. All I had to do was turn around and walk out of the door and everything would return to normal.
Except I knew that wasn't really true.
The fire that had been lit inside me wouldn't just disappear. As frightening as the thought of presenting myself for him - exposed, blind and helpless - was, the alternative was even more so. For better or for worse, I had to know.
I began to strip off, folding my clothes neatly on the bed, before pulling the ribbon from my purse. Just looking at it again made me blush. Mindful of my skin, I'd bought the softest, lightest weave I could find. I played with it for a few seconds, winding it around my wrists, trying to imagine what it would feel like to be bound with it, before placing it on the bed too.
I fidgeted for a few more moments, ensuring everything was in order, but eventually I knew I was just making excuses. Christ, here goes nothing. Picking up the blindfold, I gazed at the room one final time, before slipping it over my head and knotting it at the back. Everything went black.
My pulse instantly quickened. Stripping off my clothes was something I did every day. It hadn't felt unusual. But the second I covered my eyes, I'd crossed a line into the unknown. Anything could happen now.
I wasn't sure how long I stood there. Unable to see, time seemed to slow down. Every tiny hotel noise made me jump, and my mind was racing at a million miles a minute. Was he even coming at all? Maybe this was a test of some sort, to see how long I'd stay put. And if he did show, could I ask him to remove the blindfold? It really was terrifying, but that might be against the rules. I didn't even know what the rules were. Was I allowed to object? Oh Christ, what the hell was I doing?
"Hello Sophia," said a voice from behind me.
I squealed in surprise. He'd made no noise, nothing to give himself away. He must have been hiding in the bathroom the whole time, simply watching and letting me stew.
"Hello," I managed.
"I'm very happy you didn't have a change of heart. I think we're both going to have a lot of fun."
"That's easy for you to say, you're not naked and blind."
He laughed. "Believe me, that's just the beginning."
Being unable to see made me incredibly tense. I had no idea what was going on around me. He could have filled the room with a live studio audience and I wouldn't have known. My muscles were tight with anticipation, my body primed, although for what I wasn't certain.
His voice moved around me in a slow orbit. "I didn't really get to look at you the other night. Things were a little... rushed." I flinched as a hand trailed across my stomach, moving tantalisingly close to my breasts. "God, you're gorgeous. You look every bit as ravishing as I expected."
There was something vaguely dirty about being ogled so openly by a virtual stranger, but part of me was enjoying the attention.
"Are you afraid?"
I hesitated, before nodding slowly.
"That's okay. But don't worry; I'll take care of you." His voice was soft now, and it hovered just inches from my ear, the heat of his breath tickling my neck. "We both know you want this as much as I do. You need this."