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Part 7: Kinbaku and Kitsch

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Staring at the bloody steak that Valentine ordered made me think just a little too much of Jane Doe’s ruined body.  It was a wonder I hadn’t turned vegetarian.

Valentine had taken me to Pierre’s Pier.  The décor of Pierre’s Pier had last been updated sometime in the mid-70s.  Dark wood paneling covered the walls, mounted deer heads stared blankly-yet-vaguely-accusingly at us, and collectable neon beer signs flickered in the half-windowed, cave-like semi-darkness. The hipster crowd loved this place, declaring it ‘authentically kitsch.’  I wanted to know why we didn’t go to the Chinese buffet.

“Sushi should not be served in South Dakota,” Valentine said.

“You know, there are these things called ‘aero-planes’ now that can deliver fresh fish from all over the world in a matter of hours.”  I said, poking at my salad.  I knew I shouldn’t have ordered the chicken in a place like this, but I just couldn’t do red meat today.  “Also, we have this nifty new invention called refrigeration you may have heard of.”

“Is that so?” he said mockingly, “What will you clever humans think of next?”

I stuck my tongue out at him.

After all, I suspected the real reason he didn’t want to go to the Chinese place was because the older couple that owned the place treated Valentine like a living god.  Even though Valentine was never one to shy away from attention, even I had to admit the fawning could get awkward.  Still, I would rather have had piping hot, deep fried dumplings than the soggy, wilted salad I was pretty sure had come out of a bag discovered in the far back of some deep freezer.

I shoved aside the salad and returned to the far juicier conversation we’d started in the car.  “So…” my foot nudged his under the table, “You like to be tied up?”

Pausing in the middle of sawing a huge chunk of dripping steak, Valentine shot me what could only be called a withering glance, “I suppose you see this as out of character with my über-masculinity.”

I snorted a little laugh. Valentine was very definitely male, but he didn’t have the kind of hyped-up muscles you might find on a linebacker.  Slender and lithe, his body held a kind of serpentine grace.  All of the angles on his face were hard and masculine, but his dark, thick eyelashes and alabaster skin belied a terrible beauty.

I pointed at him with the tines of my fork, “You didn’t seem all that into it when we were all tied up before.”

“Yes, well, that was hardly voluntary and I do believe at the time I was being burned by dragon’s bane.”  Valentine took a bite of his steak.  “Not exactly a sexy set-up.”

“So…” I slipped out of my shoe, and nudged my stocking toe further up his leg and asked, “What kind of set-up is sexy?”

He chewed his meat, considering.

I tried not to notice the six-point buck that glared disapprovingly at me with beady black glass eyes from where it hung on the wall over Valentine’s shoulder.

Setting down his fork, Valentine grew husky as he said, “Every once and a while, I enjoy the mindless freedom of being someone else’s possession.  There is something divinely sexy about writhing under skillful command.”

My brain nearly exploded with the image of Valentine ‘writhing.’  I could feel my face and other parts flushing with the picture of what he’d look like handcuffed to the bed, sweat dotting his arching, aching body….

“Wait a minute,” I said, as my fantasies came screeching to a halt, “When did you ever…?  Who commanded you??"

Because I have always had this kind of impeccable timing, the waitress arrived with my chicken sandwich.  It looked about as pathetic as my salad, but I thanked her anyway and quickly, too.  I even waved off the offer of a refill of my water, because I didn’t want Valentine to have any excuse not to answer.

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