'Pull down your panties,' he says.
She hesitates then reaches under her black mini dress, watches the thin white cotton slither to the cuffs of her ankle boots.
'Take them all the way off.'
It's easier to do as he says, much easier than standing motionless and being stared at - though he's dressed her in this outfit so presumably he likes what he sees.
She steps out of the panties, leaves them on the bedroom floor. He's still staring. The dress has shoestring straps which shows her breasts to the nipple so there's a lot to look at. He didn't provide her with a bra.
But he's provided her with so much more - the sole use of this house in London. All she has to do is... whatever he wants her to do next.
'Time for the before photograph,' he says.
She automatically moves towards the bed.
She walks towards the back door that leads to the garden with its eight foot walls.
'No, out the front, poppet. Much more exciting having strangers see a flash of pink, don't you think?'
She shrugs. 'Whatever.' Trying to act cool, as if she doesn't care, but she's incredibly aware of his - and her - every movement. What, exactly, will be required of her today?
The new boots clump against the embossed linoleum in the hall. She precedes him outside, hearing a scraping sound as he picks up his camera from the hall table. She stops in the doorway, looks apprehensively back.
He indicates the basement stairs. 'Sit on the third step.'
It feels like being in a movie. She walks there, sits. 'It's cold,' she mutters, the words borne out of a need to say something.
'Oh, I'll soon warm you up.'
He stands further back, looks at her assessingly. 'Grasp your knees. No, hands there. Good girl. Now roll back.'
Her palms are slightly wet as she holds onto her legs and exposes her thigh backs and, presumably, the shadow of her pubis. People are walking past - but surely they'd have to glance down at just the right angle to see her cunt? It's midday on a Saturday and people in London have so little time to stand and stare.
Except for him. He's staring again. She doesn't know what to do with her mouth, where to centre her gaze. Her features are stiff with increasing tension. If only he'd touch her, get the not-knowingness over with.
'Smile,' he says, not smiling back.
He's put so much scarlet lipstick on her mouth that it feels set, somehow alien. He's been equally heavy with the black kohl that rings her eyes and the pencil he's used to darken her brows. The look is of a middle class, pseudo-streetwise woman, but she feels as uncertain as a child.
She forces her lips to curve upwards, makes herself look at the lens. Think of this as a dare, as a joke, don't let him phase you. She forces back a nervous half-laugh as he clicks the shutter and lets her release the pose.
'Back to the bedroom with you,' he murmurs and she's glad. It's just the two of them there and that's definitely enough to be going on with. She'll be able to relax when his body covers hers in the four poster bed.
But when they enter the room it's clear that he has different plans.
'Bend over there.' He points to the heavy wooden bar that runs between the posts at the foot of the uncanopied King Size. She approaches, bends, squashing the dress beneath her crotch. 'I want a bare arse,' he says matter of factly. 'You'll have to lift your dress up first.'
Swallowing hard, she curves her body back and obeys him. 'Nice,' he says as if he's admiring a painting. She can imagine his eyes raking into her thighs, staring at her sunlamp-golden buttocks, her deep dark crease.
Surely he'll take her now? She longs for an exploratory hand or tongue, anything except this prolonged silent waiting. She risks a quick glance back but he's still studying her naked parts.
'Have you tasted the cane before?'
Outside the traffic seems to have stopped. Her thoughts stay suspended. The rush of blood to her pubis is so intense that it robs all the energy from her lungs and she can't breathe.
'No,' she manages at last. Can they really be having this conversation?
'Then we'll start you on four and make them measured,' he explains.
We'll start you on four. As if he's part of a fucking syndicate. She urges herself to think up something clever or sarcastic but her brain is unusually void.
Seconds later he holds a slender crook-handled cane in front of her perfectly-painted face.
'Kiss the rod and beg forgiveness.'
'For what?' she whispers, turning her head sideways on the counterpane to stare at him.
'For being such a little tart.'
'For being your little tart,' she corrects, stung.
'I wasn't denying that. You wanted a reason for being thrashed.'
She wanted... she no longer knows what she wants. 'Kiss it,' he says again.
She presses her lips slackly to the wood. It's smooth, ungiving. She shudders at the prospect of it lashing into her flesh.
'You might want to grip the counterpane,' he adds matter of factly. 'Some girls prefer to be tied in place as it stops them bolting, means they get their caning over with more quickly. But as you're new, you're not ready for that yet.'
Not ready for that yet. So at some time in the future he'll want to bind her? How long in the future, given that she hopes to stay here for the duration of her degree course, another three years?
'I'm waiting,' he says in his perfectly modulated voice. She wonders if he was Oxbridge.
Her crotch is heavy as she presses her lips to the rod again. 'I beg for forgiveness, sir.'
The cane disappears from her view. She knows it's behind her now, knows that any second he's going to... She turns her head to look back, unable to stop herself.
'Your arse is flinching already,' he says, 'and I haven't touched it yet.'
Another rush of blood to her face, to her cunt, to her nipples. She turns her face and buries it in the counterpane. Grips it with both ringless hands. And now her world is reduced to the size of two naked buttocks. Waiting. And waiting. She can hear her breath coming in short, sharp pants.
She feels the air currents change - then the cane lashes into her backside. She cries out, rears back, clutching both buttocks. She stands, facing him, rubbing and rubbing as if trying to remove an immovable stain.
'Oh it hurts, it hurts!'
'Of course it hurts.'
She stares at him with tears in her eyes. 'Why would you want to...?'
'You're not here for a psychology lecture,' he says.
She still doesn't know where to look, what to say. If only he would hold her. Once they're naked together he'll be much more helpless, she can be his equal or take charge.
'Isn't it warm in here? Do you want to take your jacket off?' She moves towards him uncertainly.
'I didn't take you on as my dresser,' he counters, staring. Nevertheless, it's a mini-victory. She watches as he removes the well-cut black jacket and hangs it behind the bedroom door.
'Raise your dress and bend back over.'
It's harder this time, knowing what she knows. Her brain says yes but her body says no, so she goes down slowly, in jerky stages. All too soon she's displayed for his pleasure - and for the displeasure of his cane.
'I won't cane over the previous mark.'
'Gee, thanks,' she murmurs, then quivers as he pulls the rod caressingly over her flanks.
'Aren't you going to ask me nicely for your second stripe?'
Fuck, he's really going for this.
'Please stripe me again, sir,' she says.
The rod makes contact. She yells and jumps up, an action replay. This time she inspects both marks in the bedroom mirror. The lines are light in some places, darker in others. They don't look nearly as hot as they feel. 'Third time lucky?' he asks.
She promises herself that this time she won't jump up. What was it he said? Best to get it over with quickly. She turns her hands into claws and reaches through the counterpane to the mattress, holding herself in place.
Again he takes his time - and in the end she looks round, and sees him staring. And again the rush of lust to her clitoris takes her by surprise. She's always been so sure of herself, so strong, so flicking out there. And yet, and yet...
'Haven't you forgotten something?' he asks.
Her voice sounds clogged as she asks to taste the rod. Outside, people are shopping and working and doing all the everyday things that people do. In here, normality - and tedium - have stopped.
She groans low in her throat as he applies the third searing stroke. She lifts her boot-clad feet back, as if to protect her flesh, a futile gesture. After letting her feet flop back down, she shakes her haunches from side to side.
'Show me my handiwork,' he murmurs, sitting on the side of the bed. Maybe now he'll hold her close. She pushes herself into a standing position, takes the few steps to stand in front of him. 'Over,' he adds, patting his lap.
Worse and worse. Taking a deep breath, she clambers across him, the bed fully supporting her weight. She feels both clumsy and heavy. She wriggles about for a moment until she gets settled, then her thoughts constrict till they're completely centred on her arse.
He's inspecting it now. He hasn't yet touched it but she can sense he's staring. She's glad that she used the sunlamp yesterday, that she showered just before his arrival so her crack is really clean. She shifts again on his trousered lap and realises that her cunt is wet and that her juices are leaking onto his suit.
'They're coming along nicely,' he murmurs. 'Prepare for the fourth sharp shock.'
Is that it? Isn't he going to stroke the stripes? Run a finger down her crease? Fondle her sex lips? She feels him pushing lightly at her waist to encourage her to stand.
'Do your other girls take much more?' she mumbles as she pulls herself free. It seems important to make some kind of conversation plus she's curious about these other girls.
'They have in the past, yes.'
So there's no one else now? No one but her? Or is there a wife or girlfriend at home, wherever his home is? She only knows that he comes to London twelve times a year.
Last month, when he offered her this deal, he said that he'd arrive at the flat on the first Saturday of every month and would leave that same night or the next night. She'd asked for a contact name in case there was a problem with the property and he'd given her the address of his solicitors.
The fourth stripe is the easiest to bear, because she knows it's the last. She bends over the bar, stays down, though she can't help flinching and groaning. Afterwards she remains bent over, unsure what to do next.
'You did well,' he says and she feels absurdly pleased. 'You can put your panties back on now,' he adds.
Is that it? A new disappointment hollows in her chest. She pushes back, straightens, turns to face him. Is he really so indifferent? She looks at the obvious tenting in his suit trousers and realises that he's not.
Wordlessly, she approaches and sinks to her knees, reaches for his zip. She keeps expecting him to push her away but he remains motionless. His cock springs free and she takes hold of it with her right hand, holds it steady whilst she angles her mouth. Its pinkish head is large and smooth and glistening.