The year is 1982. Duran Duran tops the charts, the internet isn't a thing yet, and young Hilary Baxter is employed as an au pair halfway around the world. Her charge Hasiba happens to be a beautiful, exotic woman nearly her own age, and heir to the throne of her tiny island nation. Hilary's only job is to keep her out of trouble.
After some time on the local party circuit, Hilary discovers keeping Hasiba out of trouble may not be as easy as it first seemed. To make matters worse, Hilary finds herself falling in love with her charge, while all Hasiba seems to be interested is flirting with the eligible bachelors on the island.
Things come to a head one night when Hasiba's partying takes her too far. Hilary steps in with her own special set of rules -- and punishments -- to correct a situation that's gotten out of hand. But will Hasiba accept Hilary's new, sterner stance? How will an heir to the throne take to being disciplined? And will Hilary's feelings for Hasiba allow her to do what needs to be done?
It was after dinner when she approached me. Hasiba had just finished washing the dishes, probably for the first time in her life, and much to the shock of the kitchen staff, I'm sure. I stuck my head in just as she was drying her hands.
"We need to talk," she said.
I turned and walked to the parlor while Hasiba followed along behind.
"What is it?"
Hasiba sat down, looking this way and that, seeing if anyone was within earshot. "Punishments," she whispered.
"You're seriously going to spank me?"
"Only if you disobey the rules."
"I'm twenty years old, I'm not --"
"That may be, but there are many times you act like an insolent child. Therefore your punishments will be tailored to fit."
"You can't treat me like --"
"Oh, Hasiba. I already have. And you've let me. Do you recall in the drawing room earlier when you addressed me? You said 'yes, ma'am'. A sign of respect Hasiba, a sign that you look up to me and that this arrangement can work for us. And I sincerely hope it can. I can finally do the job of being your au pair and keeping you out of trouble."
Neither of us said anything for a moment. I reached over and took her hand in mine.
"I never want to see you like I saw you last night."
"That was --"
I squeezed her hand. "I don't need the details," I said. "I just want you to be safe."
Hasiba nodded. I watched a small tear course slowly down her cheek. I rubbed it away with my thumb.
"You're far too important to me to see you get hurt again."
"Thank you," she whispered.
I took a deep breath. "Did I ever tell you what I did before I signed on to be your au pair?"
Hasiba shook her head.
"I worked at a sex club. I used to get tied up and flogged in front of a live audience."
"Oh it wasn't as bad as you think. The girls doing the whipping were very experienced and generally sympathetic. They could get a good, loud slapping sound that made the audience cringe while not actually doing too much damage to my tender flesh. After a while I actually didn't mind it. Plus the money was really good."
I looked over at Hasiba, who was wide-eyed and nodding slowly, taking this all in.
"Eventually, I had put in my time and got to be the one doing the flogging -- the dominant. But it was still just a show for me. At the end of the night I went home with money in my pockets and no strong desires to flog anyone outside of work."
Hasiba chuckled a little at this, and I had to bite my lip a little, doing my best to keep it serious.
"There were others who didn't," I said. "I mean they went home and all, but they didn't leave their desires at the club. We called them life-stylers, and they called us ... Well, I don't know what they called us, but I'm sure it was nothing too flattering. The point is, I really never understood their need to be dominant over someone all the time. Not until now."
I looked over at Hasiba. Her eyes were wavering. I began stroking her hand as I laid out what I had been thinking of since I wrote out her three-page rule book.
"I think some people need a strong person to look after them. I know that I can never be your lover, Hasiba. I understand your country's traditions and laws, and even your desire for the opposite sex. But I still love you and will always want what's best for you. And if you'll have me, I'll be that one who looks out for you and keeps you safe, and --"
"Sorry?" I paused to gather my thoughts. I hadn't planned for such a quick answer.
"Yes ... ma'am." Hasiba fidgeted in her seat. She wouldn't look me in the eye, so I tucked my finger under her chin and raised her gaze to mine.
"I'll try it," she said. "I'll sign your rule book, Hilary Baxter. I'll let you take care of me. Be the dominant one."