French Lessons

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Inspired by Mervin’s spitefic Lucky Number Thirteen, wherein Ana gets some sense talked into her by Sharon, the submissive that Christian injured during a suspension scene… as well as the flurry of comments on das_sporking that resulted from the revelation that Christian keeps blackmail material of his former subs. Of fifteen subs, there HAS to be one that would not be threatened by such a shady tactic. Written for the twispitefic comm on LJ.

French Lessons

There is a knock on the door.

Kate reaches the door before I do, pulling it open. “Hi. Can I help you?”

A woman’s voice, light and with a honeyed French accent, replies, “Hello. Is Ana in? I’d like to speak with her. I am a friend of Sharon.” She pronounces Sharon as shah-rone, which is oddly endearing.

I jump up from my seat at the kitchen table and make my way over to the door. The woman standing there is not what I completely expected. She’s brown-haired, with dark green eyes, and a slender but fit frame. She’s clothed in a simple white blouse, blue-jean skirt and leather jacket, and on her feet are a pair of nondescript black pumps. Not at all like the femme fatale I had imagined two seconds ago, when I first heard her speak.

“I’m Ana,” I say. “And you are?”

“Jacqueline Bouchard. I am, ah… part of your club.” She jams her hands into her jacket pockets. Her glance darts to Kate; she seems unsure of just how much to say in front of my friend.

I nod, knowing that she means she’s one of Christian’s former submissives. “Please come in.”

Kate glances at me. “You sure, Ana?”

I smile, in what I hope is a reassuring way. “Yeah. Any friend of Sharon’s is a friend of mine.”

“This will not take long,” Jacqueline replies, soothing Kate’s ruffled feathers. Jacqueline follows me to our beat-up old couch and—at my gesture to sit—arranges herself on it comfortably, with one leg demurely crossed over the other. Relative to the rest of her body, her legs seem to go on forever.

Kate glances at Jacqueline again, then turns to me. “Just let me know if you need anything, Ana. I’ll be in my room.” Then she turns on her heel and leaves myself and Jacqueline to talk privately.

“I hope I have not interrupted anything,” Jacqueline then says apologetically. “But, as I was in the area, I felt it best to stop by. Sharon told me you have been trying to—comment vous dire?—free yourself of Christien.” She gives a Gallic shrug, then adds, “And Sharon also told me you are unfamiliar with the truth of our community.”

“There’s a community?” I repeat dumbly. Wait, of course there’d be. Otherwise, how would people with such interests in, well, such kinky fuckery find each other?

Jacqueline nods at my question. “Yes, I am what is known as a ‘switch’—I can serve either as the submissive or the Dominatrice depending on the scene. For the past five years, I have been giving demonstrations on proper bondage and impact-play. As you have been so wrongly informed by your time with Christien, Sharon thought you ought to be as disabused of such notions he put into your head as quickly as possible, and I agreed.”

I stare at her. How could she be so nonchalant about offering up for public consumption what’s so private? “But… I’m not sure if it’s for me.”

Jacqueline shrugs again. “It’s quite all right. My only wish is to educate. It is up to you to decide, once you know the truth, if it is of interest to you. If it is not, then no harm done.” She takes an invitation out of her purse and hands it to me. “And if you discover you would like to try, you will meet some very good people who share your interests.” Her tone is somewhat prim as she adds, “I keep very high standards for those who attend my parties. You will be perfectly safe there.”

I glance down at the card. It’s a very colourful, whimsical looking invitation, with bubbles and rings on the cover. Flipping it open offers me the date, time and location of a “play party,” and that the play party’s safeword is “arugula.”

“I… um, well…” I hesitate, then forge ahead. “I don’t know if I can go alone.”

“The invitation is for yourself and a friend,” Jacqueline replies. “Your friend Kate, she is the pretty blonde girl here with you, yes? Is she very open-minded?”

I nod. Kate has been a rock for me during this time, while I sort out my feelings about the whole Christian affair. She hasn’t judged me for anything I’ve said, and has held me while I’ve cried. Having her in such a strange place will be good for me; Kate is an excellent buffer for me when life gets a little too real.

“Perhaps you can bring her with you,” Jacqueline then suggests. “As long as all my guests are comfortable and content, then I am happy too.”

I nod yet again. Before I lose my nerve, I ask her, “What was your time with Christian like?”

“It was… not as I had hoped it would be, but not as terrible as it could have been. Sharon and Leila have both experienced the worst of Christien… though I don’t think many of us have seen his best, either.”

I snort. “Does he actually have a good side?”

“That, I could not say. He can be very harsh at times, in his way, but… I am told he has gotten worse since he was with me.”

My eyes widen. “How long ago was that?”

“Six years ago. I was his fourth.” At my jaw dropping, she merely gives another of her shrugs. “He was relatively new to it at the time, and was looking for a more experienced submissive. I had several Dominants before him and, from what he told me, he was hoping to learn more of the Lifestyle on the Dominant’s side of things. So, I thought I would be able to teach him to be what a good submissive would need.

“Of course, as you may know, Christien does not like to be taught. And my English was not as good at the time, so there may have been much bad communication between us. Things I might have said better, if I’d only known the words to say. Whatever the case, our personalities did not complement and the language barrier seemed too great. We both agreed we were not a fit for each other, and each went our ways.” Her expression is now pensive, and maybe a little troubled. “Now I can’t help to wonder if he simply chose not to listen to me, and used our language difference as an excuse. After all that I’ve heard of him since, I would not be very surprised.”

“But, you said he’s gotten worse since then.” I tilted my head to regard her. It wasn’t quite adding up… but maybe I was missing some critical information.

“Yes. I have been told he now keeps the photos he’s made of each of us as blackmail materiel.” She seems amused at this… but I’m horrified.


“Yes, a threat to ruin our reputations if the NDA is broken. Never has there been so little trust between a Dominant and his submissives.” She snorts. “But he cannot blackmail me. I am known in the community, and I have also enjoyed the last five years as a model… for those of certain tastes.”

“You’re a fetish model?” I blink. “Like Betty Page?”

“Something like that. Leaking the photos he has of me would only help my career at this point. He can thunder all he likes, but he cannot strike my reputation.”

She seems a trifle smug about that, and I can’t help but like her more. This French chick could stand up to Christian without fear… and I need someone like her in my corner, because I am scared.

“Kate’s a journalist,” I say, and she blinks at my non sequitur. Then I explain, “Maybe, if he goes after any of us, we can leak his time with you to the press. It may not damage your rep, but it’ll definitely tank his. I mean, if you’re okay with that.”

Cherie, given what I have heard, he deserves to—comment vous dire?—have a slice of humble pie.” She frowns, adding, “And poor Leila is in terrible condition. Sharon and I have every reason to suspect Christien may be behind her illness.”

“Leila? What happened to her?”

“She is in a clinic for a nervous breakdown, which supposedly occurred two weeks after her wedding to her new husband. She left Christien last year; her husband is a dear man who has been trying to fight her incarceration in the clinic since she was first admitted there.”

I can feel my heart drop into my stomach. Dear God…. poor Leila. Could such a thing have happened to me if I stayed with Christian? Could he have broken me the way Leila is broken? Can he still break me?

Jacqueline’s expression is now grim, as if she’s reading my mind. “I will help you do what must be done. You do not deserve such a fate, cherie. You have friends who will see that you remain well, and will see that you are free of his control.”

Somehow, her soft but angry speech gives me a shot of courage. I stand. “I will go to your party, Jacqueline, but I also have a request for you.”

“Name it.”

“If you could accompany myself, Sharon and Kate to confront Christian, I’d be very grateful.”

She unfolds herself from her seating arrangement and draws herself languidly to her feet. “I am honoured to accept your invitation, chere Ana. Only name the time and place.”

“I’ll have to call him to schedule,” I say, feeling myself falter already. I had been putting it off for nearly a week, and he had been bombarding me with calls and emails. A demand for attention which I no longer found so alluring.

Jacqueline nods, and gently clasps my hand in both of hers. “The first step is always the hardest, cherie. You already know you will have friends at your side, and you only need know when and where to face him. Once you are there, the rest will be clear to you.”

I nod yet again. I seem to be doing that a lot with her, but everything she says just makes so much sense. As if the planets are aligning by her say-so; it’s rather freeing to be with someone who knows what they’re doing, without using that knowledge to shove me in a particular direction. She’s confident, intelligent and sexy… but not a bully.

It’s… actually rather refreshing, really. And her lovely accent makes everything she says so much more palatable.

This is what being in control really looks like, my subconscious whispers. She’s got it; Christian doesn’t, and that scares him. He’s just an overgrown child. You wouldn’t’ve found his attitude sexy if he were a balding, middle-aged man. Being hot doesn’t mean he can be forgiven for the terrible things he’s done.

My inner goddess seems in complete agreement. He knows how to make you weak in the knees. Don’t give him the chance. Show him you’re not a toy to play with. You’re a real woman with needs—needs he can’t provide for. The only thing you’ve ever really liked about him is his dick, and there’s plenty of those around. Don’t chain yourself up to Christian. He’s not worth it.

“It’s clear as crystal, now,” I finally say to Jacqueline. I smile at her. “I’ll see you at the party.”

* * *

“Ah, chere Ana! It is so good you came!” Jacqueline’s voice is cheerful as I stand in her doorway. “And welcome to you, Kate!” She offers effusive hugs and quick little kisses upon each of my flushed cheeks, three times. The brief contact of her lips against my skin feel velvety soft, and her perfume carries the faint scent of cinnamon. “Come, come! Follow me!”

As she turns away, my gaze more fully takes in what she’s wearing—a bodysuit of patch-worked black silk with small silver chains stringing the cloth together. Her makeup is dark and dramatic, and she’s perched on perilously high heels. Her legs are covered in white fishnet, and her hair is tied back in a severe, slick ponytail. She looks like she just stepped out of a magazine.

Kate’s elbow aimed at my midsection makes me realize I’m ogling. “Quit drooling,” Kate hisses at me.

“I’m not!”

“You totally are!”

“I was just admiring her outfit,” I whine.

“Uh-huh.” Kate is not convinced.

No way was I drooling over Jacqueline. Nuh-uh, not me. I clearly like men (well, I liked one man, before I realized his personality wasn’t nearly as pretty as his body), so I can’t be attracted to women.

Can I? Can it happen? I mean, it’s not even a thing, right?

I’m so lost right now, and full of nerves, that I can’t even—and I find myself stopping and staring at the playroom Jacqueline has led us to.

The walls are a soft pink hue, and there’s gold-accented furniture everywhere. It looks more like a teenage girl’s dream bedroom than Christian’s Red Room of Pain. The four-poster bed with a California King mattress only drives the comparison home. There’s half a dozen people in this room besides us, watching while giving off a quietly supportive vibe.

But the most interesting part of the room is what’s on the bed: a tall and somewhat plump—but quite pretty—red-head tied up with white ropes. The ropes have been done in a very ornate style, that makes the girl’s body look more like a living sculpture rather than… what was I expecting, anyway, a prisoner in a dank medieval dungeon surrounded by dodgy freaks?

No, the surroundings are all very pleasant, despite the oddity of the tied-up girl being the focal point of everyone’s attention. But Jacqueline did tell me her standards are high.

Clearly, the red-head is enjoying being tied up at the moment and surrounded by strangers, and I can’t quite suppress the surge of envy I feel. She’s completely comfortable with herself, and loving the moment that she’s in—I don’t think I could ever be that brave.

The girl’s eyes light up when Jacqueline moves over to her side. Oh. This must be Jacqueline’s submissive.

“You’ve been a very good girl, Rainbow,” Jacqueline says to the girl. “Sitting all nice and quiet for me. Do you like being tied up in front of these lovely people?”

Rainbow the Red-Head’s response is nothing less than complete enthusiasm. “Yes, Mistress! I like it very much!”

“As a good girl, you deserve a paddling. You’d like that, won’t you?” Jacqueline has complete control over the situation, her voice smooth and silky.

I find myself wondering what a paddling must be like. Will it hurt? I find myself grasping Kate’s hand, and she gently squeezes mine in return.

“Yes, Mistress, please.”

Jacqueline moves over to what I now realize is a display of implements—the riding crop and cat-of-nine-tails I recognize from Christian’s Red Room, but they somehow seem less imposing in this soft lighting. There’s also numerous items I don’t recognize, but Jacqueline draws a nondescript flat piece of wood from the display. It has a handle—but the wood is longer and more rectangular than a ping-pong paddle, and is waxed to a high gloss.

I find myself wincing sympathetically. It looks like it could hurt quite a bit.

Jacqueline walks—no, struts—back over to Rainbow’s side, and Rainbow obligingly bends down on the bed, her auburn curls spilling over the pillows and her backside up in the air. Jacqueline sets the paddle down on the bed and briefly rubs her hands together, as if to warm them.

There is a light slap of Jacqueline’s bare hand against Rainbow’s backside. I can feel my brow knitting in confusion. Why the spanking if there’s going to be a paddling?

“What’s she doing?” I whisper in Kate’s ear, trying not to break the quiet of the audience.

“She’s warming up,” Kate replies just as quietly. “Getting Rainbow used to the pressure she uses.”

When I look at Kate quizzically—after all, I didn’t know Kate knew about this sort of thing—Kate merely shrugs. “Elliot and I sometimes like to get frisky, y’know, to keep things interesting. I enjoy getting tied up and spanked from time to time. Plenty of vanilla couples do.”

My lips press together in a thoughtful line. If plenty of normal, non-kinky couples enjoy a little bit of kinky fun every once in a while, then this whole BDSM thing isn’t as dark as I once thought… and certainly not as dark as my experience with Christian makes it appear.

Jacqueline wasn’t kidding when she told me I’d been misled by him. Here, in Jacqueline’s playroom, it actually seems rather beautiful. Strange, but beautiful. I could see the devotion and trust in Rainbow’s eyes, and how Jacqueline is observing Rainbow very closely. To make sure Rainbow’ll be okay?

That was what the safewords were supposed to be for, wasn’t it?

Rainbow is currently squirming in obvious delight, and I feel another surge of envy. I’m beginning to realize now that I only enjoyed the things I did with Christian because it was all so new to me, not because it felt right. The novelty of it had fascinated me, not the mechanics.

Jacqueline takes up the paddle and gives a light flick of her wrist. I’m surprised by this because the impact doesn’t fall as hard on Rainbow’s backside as I thought it would; it’s more like a light slap than a beating.

But Christian would hit hard without a care for safety. Jacqueline notices what Rainbow’s comfortable with, and doesn’t give her more than her sub is ready to handle.

I find myself imagining what I’d feel under Jacqueline’s thoughtful ministrations. Would I even need to safeword, or would she be able to see it all in my eyes, hear it in a single breath?

This is what being a submissive should feel like, I realize. It’s not about fear—it’s about pleasure. Mutual pleasure.

I understand now. Christian’s behaviour was never about what I wanted, what I enjoyed. It was always about what he wanted. The memory of him trying to argue me out of listing anal among my hard limits strikes me like a bucket of ice water to the face. It’s a cold, uncomfortable feeling.

He’s not a Dominant—he’s a creep. I need to stay far away from him… and I need to be with someone I can trust. Completely.

I can trust Kate. I can trust Sharon. And I can trust Jacqueline.

I can’t trust Christian and, as long as I’m being completely honest with myself, I might as well admit I never really did. I found him intimidating and a little scary from the day we first met, and he had done nothing since to change my perception of him. I didn’t get to see his softer side, because he didn’t have one. It was all about him, and never about me… and the sixteen of us former subs might as well be blowup dolls that could feel pain.

I shudder, and Kate looks at me. “You okay?” she whispers.

“I’m fine.” That’s a lie; I’m not okay, but it doesn’t have anything to do with Jacqueline and Rainbow’s scene. I’m enjoying it—as long as I can get myself to stop thinking of Christian.

If only Jacqueline didn’t have a sub, maybe she could help me forget him.

Wait… is that really me talking? Do I really want Jacqueline?

Yes, yes I do. From what I know and have seen of her, she’s a caring person who doesn’t take anyone’s crap, she’s strong and confident, and… yes… dead sexy. She’s dignified without being stuffy, and risque but still very classy. I enjoy looking at her, watching her, hearing her voice. Admiring her.

I didn’t think it could be possible but, yes, I have a crush on Jacqueline. It’s too soon to call it love, but it could happen… couldn’t it?

I realize now that I’ve been in love with Kate too, all this time, since we became friends and housemates—a love doomed to be unrequited because she was straight. The sudden clarity makes me realize why I’d never wanted to hear about her sexual adventures before… because it hurt me more than I’d ever cared to admit to myself. I love her and, though she might be flattered, she could never return that love. Admitting to my love would put strain on our friendship.

So, I guess this means I’m gay. Why hadn’t I noticed before? And what does that mean regarding my experience with Christian? He didn’t turn me gay—no, I’ve been this way the whole time, and never tried to figure it out, never wanted to face my feelings.

Did it mean I jumped into my arrangement with Christian based on a lie? Was I so desperate to prove myself “normal” that I fell onto the dick of the first guy who I knew wouldn’t kiss and tell? Or did I really enjoy the sex with him, his twisted sense of BDSM aside?

I’m just so damn confused, still. Nothing makes any sense anymore!

I just know that I have to bite the bullet and talk to Jacqueline. She’s smart, understanding and patient enough to explain things to me—to try to help me out. That’s what inviting me to this demonstration was about. To help me make sense of it all, to see the truth that’s staring me in the face.

Whatever it takes, I’m ready.

* * *

After the demonstration, I ask Kate to give me a moment with Jacqueline. Kate obliges, drifting off to the buffet table, which provides several very yummy looking snacks.

I figure I might as well jump into what concerns me. “Jacqueline, I was wondering.. is Rainbow your sub?”

“Just for these demonstrations. She has a Master who is less comfortable with exhibitionism—it’s a hard limit for him, though he knows Rainbow enjoys it. So, we all agreed that she could be my lovely assistant,” Jacqueline replies. “But I do not currently have my own submissive.”

“I was wondering… could I be your submissive?” I ask, my gaze dropping down to my shoes. Why did I suddenly feel so shy? “I mean, I saw you with her and… I want that. With you. I want to be yours… if you’ll have me.” Feeling myself turning tomato-red with embarrassment at putting all my cards out on the table like that, I add quickly, “I mean, if not, I totally understand. But I want to learn, and you’ve been so kind, I just know I can trust you.”

“I am very flattered, chere Ana,” she tells me. “Are you for certain this is what you wish?”

There’s no hesitation in my answer, and no nervous stammering this time. “Yes, I want to be yours.” I feel like my heart is in a juice-squeezer—she could break me with a polite refusal.

“Then we will meet on Saturday morning, if you are free that day. We will have much to discuss.”

I sigh in relief, and I feel like my face is going to split in half from my grin. “Thank you, Jacqueline. I won’t disappoint you.”

* * *


“Ana, mon amour! I have returned, and I come with gifts for my dearest!”

I jump immediately to my feet—no easy task, given the shift in my body weight—and waddle over to her. “Jackie, I’ve missed you so much!” I envelop her in a bear-hug, and she drops her parcels on the floor to wrap her arms around me. “How was your flight?”

“Uneventful. But the photo shoot is finished, and Monsieur La Chappelle was very accommodating, under the circumstances.” She gives me a quick kiss on the lips. “Oh, I’ve missed you, cherie. Even a few days without you, knowing I will return to you, is dreadful to experience.”

I sigh guiltily. “I know, but the doctor says I’m not up for travel.”

She frowns and pats my stomach, gently scolding the life inside, “Mon petit fils, are you giving your Mimi a hard time?”

I don’t regret the artificial insemination, as Jacqueline and I had been talking about starting a family since before we got married in Napa Valley. I’m happy to have the child so she doesn’t have to stop her modeling career… but the morning sickness that doesn’t know how to tell time gets to me occasionally.

“I’m all right, Jackie. No worries.” I then glance down at the bags she’s brought with her. “You didn’t have to get me anything, y’know. I’m happy just having you here at home.”

She makes a tsking noise. “Nonsense. You will like these.” She picks up the bags from the floor and sets them on our pristine glass coffee table. “Come! You must open them!”

That’s my Jackie—pleasantly bossy. She also knows my taste so, my hemming and hawing aside, I know I’ll love whatever she’s selected. The trepidation is feigned, and part of our little game. A sort of inside joke, if you will.

I open the first bag and pull out a pair of infant-sized footie pajamas in blue, with the words My Mimi and Maman love me! emblazoned on the front. I can’t help but feel charmed by the personalization, and the texture of the baby’s pajamas are the softest kind of terry cloth.

“Oh, Jacqueline, this is wonderful! Our boy will love it, I’m sure.” I gently stroke my stomach. “See, Maman was thinking of you the whole time, buddy.”

“Have you thought of a name, yet?”

“I thought it should be French, y’know. I want him to take after his Maman.” I grin at her.

She chuckles. “Jean is a fine name by itself, or with another. What do you think?”

I frown in thought. “How about Jean Raymond Bouchard?”

“You are still certain you want him to take my name?”

I laugh. “You do remember, that we agreed that if it was a boy, it’d be a Bouchard, and if it was a girl, it’d be a Steele, right?”

She smiles, her eyes twinkling in merriment. “Just checking, cherie.

“You’re such a tease!”

“And you enjoy it.”

“I would if I wasn’t the size of a blue whale.” I sigh and pat my stomach again. “Come on, son, you’re old enough to be born now.”

“Patience is a virtue, chere Ana.” She picks up the newspaper I’d abandoned when she arrived. “So, what is the news on this continent?”

I grunt, while trying to hide my smirk. “Check out the business section.”

One of her carefully-shaped eyebrows lifts, but she flips to that section. “Hmm… Grey Enterprises’ CEO in Slammer: Suspected of Bilking Investors Out of Millions, Authorities Say. I don’t see the problem.”

I grin at her. “Neither do I. Things go as badly for him as they’re saying, he won’t be bothering us for a very long time.”

“It does make one curious as to who tipped off the police in the first place.”

I give an amused hum. “I wouldn’t know a thing about that. But check out the article’s byline.”

Jacqueline takes a closer look. “Katherine Kavanaugh.” She chuckles. “Why am I not surprised, cherie?”

I smile at my lovely wife, while puffed up with pride for my old friend. “I always felt she’d do well.”

“As will we, mon amour. As will we.” Jacqueline pats my hand affectionately. “Have you called Sharon, yet?”

“Not yet, I wanted you to be here when I ask her.”

Jacqueline nods.

I smile. “After all, it’s not everyday that she’ll be asked to be a godmother.”

• I wrote the “Five Years Later” section because we ALL deserve a happy ending, damnit!
• Anastasia Steele and Katherine Kavanaugh are the property of E.L. James and Vintage Press/Random House. No copyright infringement or monetary gain is intended in their use.
• Jacqueline Bouchard belongs to me and was created specifically for this piece. Please ask my permission if you wish to use Mme. Bouchard at any point in the future.
• Credit for the Lifestyle info goes to Playing Well with Others: Your Field Guide to Discovering, Exploring and Navigating the Kink, Leather and BDSM Communities by Lee Harrington & Mollena Williams. I’m not a kinkster, so any mistakes are purely my own.
• For those not versed in the French language, the correct French pronunciation of Jacqueline Bouchard is “zhak-LEEN BOO-shar.” And remember to roll the R when you say it! You’ll know you’re saying it correctly when the J comes out as a soft buzzing sound.
• Definitions: “Comment vous dire?” means “How do you say…?”, “Dominatrice” is the French term for a dominatrix, “cherie” and “chere” are both feminine forms of “dear” and, of course, “mon amour” means “my love.” (I knew those three years of high-school French would come in handy someday…)
• One more thing: I didn’t write the confab between the girls and Christian, because I’d need Mervin’s permission to use Sharon (and I’m not sure I could really do Sharon justice) and, no matter how I wrote the scene, every reader has their own ideas on how it would/should go down. Just know it DID go down, and Ana was awesome with the girls by her side, backing her up, and that she’s free of his influence.


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