When I was a literature student at the University of Vermont, I was assigned a story on an entrepreneur, Cristine Lavender, for our campus magazine. Admittedly, I found Cristine utterly captivating, attractive, enigmatic and somewhat mysterious. That weekend I was working part-time at the out-of-town hardware store where I earned extra money to buy a kayak and some camping equipment. I couldn't believe it when Cristine Lavender showed up to buy nine-inch nails, duct tape, rope, leather straps and a pair of plastic handcuffs. She asked the owner if we sold nightshades for one's eyes. I thought, "God, she's wealthy." I tried hiding in the aisle, arranging the Martha Stewart paint but strangely putting it in the Benjamin Moore row. I felt all tingly inside and suddenly confused.
Cristine suddenly appeared in my aisle and said, "Hello, Stassia. How's the story going?"
"Good," I said. "But could I follow up with a few more questions?" I reached for my tape recorder in my trusty back pocket.
"No," Cristine said. "I'll pick you up for dinner tonight. What dorm are you in? Never mind. I already know."
My Cristine was mysterious, I thought. What would I wear to dinner? What could happen? I had never even touched my own butt, let alone done the naughty with anyone. Such was my virgin way. I went off to dinner wearing my nicest white shirt, Hell's Angels leather jacket, Wrangler jeans and a cowgirl scarf. (I hoped I wasn't too dressy for the restaurant.) Cristine picked me up in a yellow Lamborghini, and again I thought, "Oh my! How mysterious of her."
Over dinner she was fascinating but gave very little away, so now that I think about it, it was essentially all me talking about the different rodent protections we had at the store, and how we were rereading Tess of the d'Urbervilles in our literature class, per my yearly request.
Afterward, Cristine asked me to come up for a nightcap at her house in Stowe. She lived at the top of the mountain; she was that rich. She told me to stay only in the room we were in, where we were now drinking what she called Crystal champagne. Who knew they made champagne with crystal in it? As the champagne seeped in, I fell asleep. But that's not where I woke up.
After removing the duct tape from my body and looking around at the padded room full of chains and whips (I assumed she must be a cattle rancher, too), I put my clothes back on and walked out the door with a contract that Cristine had handed over to me. I didn't know what to feel. Actually, I could feel bruises and little welts on my body. Hypochondriac that I was, I figured I'd pay a visit to the school nurse to tend to my wounds. Lovemaking, even when asleep, was quite painful.
We rode down glistening Stowe, just as the early skiers were riding up in a gondola. Cristine dropped me off at my dorm. As I went to give her a soft kiss goodbye on her cheek, Cristine screamed out, "Don't touch me! Read the contract." Oh my, I thought to myself. What could be in such a contract? I was just a 22-year-old, newly de-virginized lass, and I now had a contract where not kissing was listen somewhere within its 250 pages. To hell with literature class and Tess of the d'Urbs that day; I wanted to read the contract!
Midway through the day I emailed Cristine on my old, clunky computer. Cristine got me angry with some of the things she stated; sometimes she was cold, but then when she wrote me such poetry about my body, I just lost it and felt this need to see her again. She could sense it, because within minutes the yellow Lamborghini was back at my dorm. Inside the car were wrapped gifts for me, a fancy new computer, an iPhone, and iPad and all the iThings that were ever made by Apple. At the rear of the car was an attached Land Rover -- just for me.
We made our way back to Stowe, and I said to Cristine, "About that contract..."
"No!" she screamed. "We must never speak of it. Email me your questions. That's what your new fucking computer is for!"
I was shocked by how she spoke to me. I wanted her. I didn't. It was like pulling flowers off a patchouli plant. Did she love me? Didn't she? We were in deep, and it was quick.
At one point, because I hadn't eaten all my tofu, I got spanked. And then she did things to me that made me scream but made me happy but then made me scream again. It was like bipolar sex. After I recited a prayer, which I normally did at night, I again said "I love you" to Cristine.
"Stassia, you know I have to spank you again," she said.
Cristine and I met up often, and when we weren't having sex, we'd be emailing each other, even in Cristine's house. I still had questions about the contract, so I went over to her side of the room and said, "Cristine, we have to talk about section 5, paragraph 69." Cristine threw her champagne glass and struck me. I was so mad that I rode the gondola down to the bottom of Stowe and took the bus to Disney World, where my mom lived. I had had it.
In Florida I finally felt safe, until I realized how much I missed Cristine. No sooner had I written it than she popped up at Mom's house, having taken a private charter. We went sky gliding the next morning. We even stopped mid-air, and she bolted me down with handcuffs, and the fun began again. We could die going this way. No, we could crash. I never had a pilot like that. Our love, though the word was forbidden, was flying higher than the mile-high club. And it would go much further than that!
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