Chapter 4 : Astrid
On Monday I called Astrid, the owner of a clothing shop in the village.
I must be careful here, not just a mere clothing shop, a 'boutique' would be the more appropriate term, as she sold some exclusive clothing lines destined for the wealthier ladies of the village.
The village we lived in could be described as a rural area with a relative small center but covered a large area, with a lot of houses and villas, some of them on seriously large properties.
5,000 square meters (1.2 acres) would be one of the smaller ones, most were 10,000 to 50,000 m2 (12.4 acres) with big multi-bed and bathroom houses or even mansions.
Most had indoor and/or outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, even stables for a few horses or for the ones that didn't like four footers but preferred four wheelers, big garages to hold a collection of special cars or very valuable old-timers.
In the center of the village we had a church and a few pubs: usually more customers for the pubs than the church, hence more pubs.
Aside from the grocery store there was an assortment of the traditional stores you usually find in a relatively small community, one of them Astrid's boutique and another of interest to me, Bethany's perfumery and beauty salon, catering, again, mostly for the well to do.
Four times a year Astrid organized a small exclusive fashion show in the local reception room adjacent to the biggest pub in the village. An assortment of fashion models presented the latest seasonal trends in clothing for her little dedicated crowd that faithfully attended every event and bought generously from her exclusive collection.
I also knew that Astrid was always struggling to get enough fashion models for her shows. She also once confided in me that they were expensive, so I felt rather secure when I called her to ask for an audience, well I call it that as 'visit' was not sufficient when you went to see Astrid to consult with her. It was comparable to being received by royalty.
If you are familiar with the television character Mrs. Bucket, uh Bouquet, you know what I mean.
Astrid was thirty-six, which in my eyes is the ideal age for a lady.
When I was eighteen I fantasized about having sex with a thirty-six year old woman.
I guess when I reach seventy-two I will still dream about it, probably because it was a thirty-six year old woman that took my virginity when I was eighteen.
She was one of my high school friends' mother, a young mother as she gave birth when she was eighteen herself.
It's funny how these figures 18 / 36 / 72 have always played a special role in my sex life -- perhaps they always will.
Sorry, I'm getting carried away by sweet memories, maybe I'll tell you the story of losing my virginity another time.
I called Astrid around 10am, when her 'boutique' normally opens. Customers usually only came in the afternoon so I was very hopeful that she would answer the phone and allow me a visit that same morning.
"Boutique d'Astrid," said the voice answering the phone, "how may I be of assistance?"
"Hey Astrid," I replied, "This is your friendly local photographer."
"Good morning Lew, to what do I owe the pleasure of a call from you?"
"I have something I want to show you, which might help you with your four times per year shindig. Can I come over sometime and explain?"
"LEW! shindig? You mean my fashion soirees!"
"Oh yeah, that's right, your fashion soirees or afternoons."
"Yes, what about them, you always do the photos and then I don't hear from you again until the next one, so why do you want to see me now?"
"Well Astrid, I'd rather prefer to show you in person, if it's convenient I could even come over today, well right now if you wish, or we can go on a date tonight and discuss it then."
"LEW! For one thing I am very busy for the moment, so it is out of the question for you to come over right away! but I could consider this evening, tell me where and when?"
"Well you're alone, I'm alone and we both need to feed ourselves a few times per day , so why don't we join the practical, me wanting to show you something that may help you, with the pleasant, and have a nice meal together, my treat."
"Like a date Lew?"
"No, no nothing like that, I wouldn't dare to call it that, just a simple meal, you won't have to cook for yourself and I won't have to cook for myself and most importantly, no dishes to be washed afterwards. What do you say I pick you up at seven o'clock and we dine in The Deerhunter?"
Total silence on the other side of the phone, well not total, I could hear her breathing and the little cogs in her brain turning as she was clearly considering what she would answer.
After a pause she came back and said "OK Lew I might consider your proposal of a non-date, but don't you start getting any crazy ideas!"
"Astrid, you know me, I wouldn't dream of getting ideas, although you do realize we both being single, the village will buzz with rumors when they see us together?"
"LEW! How could you even consider I would be having an affair with a man like yourself?"
"Astrid I'm only joking. I will be on my best behavior; I will even dress up for the occasion, and I can guarantee that you will not regret hearing my proposal and having dinner with me."
The Deerhunter is the most posh restaurant in the area, the chef even sports one Michelin star.
It was the waterhole of the rich and famous of the village, so there was a big chance that we would be seen and be discussed for the next couple of weeks. This was not on account of my presence so much as that Astrid, being one of the few single eligible women in the village, always provoked interest. Another one in the same position was Bethany from the perfumery and beauty salon.
Of course I am the available bachelor to be roped in, especially as everyone in the village thinks I am very well to do, having bought the photoshop and built the large extension at the back.
I can't complain, but I am absolutely not in the same league money wise as the people living in the big villas, especially not after I spent a big chunk of my money on the studio.
Around six, I started to prepare for dinner with Astrid, taking a shower, shaving, yes also down under, you never know what can happen, and applying some moisturizing cream to my old face and some cologne so I would smell OK.
I had laid out, aside from my classic boxer shorts, a nice shirt and tie and a light grey summer suit.
While dressing, my mind started to reflect on a rumor going round the village: I wanted to find out if it there was any truth in it.
There was, apparently, a small select and secret BDSM club with its headquarters in one of the huge villas, and it was whispered that Astrid was a member. I had no idea if it was true or in what capacity Astrid might be involved, but it wouldn't surprise me, as she was always liked to be in charge, and knew everything better, as well as giving the impression of being superior to other people.
So I had a double agenda, firstly to get Astrid to agree for Linda to work for her as a photo and fashion model at her shindigs, and secondly to figure out any involvement in the kinky club.
At ten to seven I got in the car and drove over to Astrid's boutique to pick her up.
I rang the doorbell; Astrid opened the door after a few seconds, and believe it or not she took my breath away.
"Wow Astrid, I have never seen you so dressed up, is that especially for me?"
Completely in her Mrs. Bouquet style she replied, "No, you silly man, I always dress up when I go to dinner and since this is the first time you ever invited me it's only normal that you have never seen me dressed like this before."
Astrid could easily pass for a twenty-six year old rather than her thirty-six years, she had a very toned body with just the right size chest area.
The dress she was wearing was a melodramatic red color with a golden sheen, really figure hugging, showing an ample cleavage, small straps over the shoulder, leaving her toned, lightly sun-kissed arms completely bare.
Ending about twenty-five centimeters (10") above the knee the dress exposed a pair of lightly tanned and well-formed legs -- areal feast for the eyes.
Her feet were encased in open sandals with10 cm (4") "fuck me" heels.
They looked comfortable and I had a glimpse of a red sole, giving away the brand.
Immediately pulling the carpet from under my feet, Astrid said:
"So you are taking me on this non-date to one of the finest restaurants in the area; I wonder what brought that on, you must need a big favor from me!"
"Astrid, Astrid, let's not get ahead of ourselves, I will tell you all about it when we are comfortably seated at our table."
Not much was said during the 10 minute drive to the restaurant. As I had never done this before, I guess she was curious as to why I had invited her, even if she was a customer of mine for the pictures of her fashion shows.
I was really wondering how I was going to broach the subject of the secret little BDSM group though; if there was absolutely no connection between Astrid and the secret society, I ran the risk of antagonizing her, and maybe even screwing up the chances of Linda becoming a fashion model. I'd better tread very careful on how I broached it.
Selling Linda as a fashion model wouldn't be too hard, as Astrid was always looking for fresh faces that didn't cost an arm and a leg.
I had done far more difficult negotiations during my working life, so I was quite confident I would be able to convince her.
After parking the car at The Deerhunter, I was the perfect gentlemen, jumping out of the car, circling it and opening the door for Astrid, extending my hand to support her getting out in the narrow dress she was wearing without showing all her female goodies to me and whoever else was in the parking.
"Well Lew, I must say I am pleasantly surprised by your gentlemanly manners, I never expected you to be this considerate after what I heard on the grapevine about you."
"Oh dear! Astrid, I had no idea that I was known as an inconsiderate person."
"Well not particularly inconsiderate, but the rumor goes you are a bit rough around the edges."
"I hope I scored good points then Astrid, which I would like to cash in after you have heard my proposal."
I let her go in first, holding the door of the restaurant open for her. We were met by the hostess who guided us to a nice table for two in a quiet corner of the restaurant.
Although I am not a real regular at The Deerhunter I had dined there before and requested this particular table making sure we would not be too noticeable.
I pointed out to Astrid, when she looked at me a bit quizzically about the table, that here we would be less observed by any neighbors wandering in who might draw the wrong conclusions and then start rumors about us dining there together.
Astrid had also been looking at the folder I was carrying under my arm with a suspicious eye.
"Shall we start with a glass of champagne to quench the first thirst after our dry ride here?"
"That would be excellent," Astrid replied.
I could feel her getting a bit nervous about the whole thing, so I did not want to keep her on tenterhooks any longer than necessary, so I launched into my sales pitch about Linda.
"So Astrid, the reason I invited you is to bring you a proposal which will help a young person I met recently in my photo studio."
I opened up the folder and took out a portrait photo of Linda's face and showed it to Astrid.
"You see this young lady, Linda, wants to start a career as fashion model. I had one photo session with her and saw immediately that she had serious potential."
Taking out and presenting further photos of Linda showing off her summer dress during our photoshoot, I continued my marketing.
"Linda has, as you can see a very nice figure, euro size 36/38, which as far as my knowledge of fashion models goes is the ideal."
"She is young, only nineteen, I know maybe already a bit old for an international career, but more locally, I think she has the potential to become someone sought after in this business."
"She doesn't have much experience, so she could be molded to your own personal standards. The photoshoot I had with her was just as she came off the street, so no special make-up, no special effects and believe it or not, none of the shots are Photoshopped. She has perfect skin and she is physically extremely flexible."
"By extremely flexible I mean she is almost a contortionist. I have some pictures of her doing the splits, like a ballerina on the floor and even standing up, but those I can't show you as Linda wanted them kept private. Eventually when you get to know her personally she might show them to you."
"Wow Lew, that is serious sales pitch, I need to get some air."
"OK Astrid, maybe to give you some time, let's look at the menu and order our food, because after all that is what we are here for, to sample the chef's excellent cuisine!"
Astrid ordered a small salad as an appetizer and continued with the catch of the day.
I always found that a strange expression in a restaurant, 'the catch of the day' as if the chef himself went fishing in the local river or pond and prepares what he caught.
I have no idea what he would serve if he didn't catch anything that day.
I didn't order one of my favorites, escargots, because of the garlic; I didn't want to breathe garlic over Astrid the rest of the time we were to spend together.
So, sensibly, I also ordered a small salad but then I went for slow cooked pork cheeks with vegetables and basil puree.
For dessert, I decided to wait and see how we progressed - I still had my second mission to accomplish.
Sticking my neck out I said: "I also want to contact Bethany for this project."
I knew Astrid and Bethany were not exactly bosom buddies; they were in a totally different line of business absolutely not competing with each other, but I knew they were fierce competitors on the social scene.
"Bethany?" Astrid asked, "whatever for, she doesn't sell clothes or organize fashion shows like I do?"
"You're right of course Astrid, but if I want to take really professional photos with Linda I will need a makeup artist, and that is exactly the kind of service I would like to convince Bethany to provide."
Astrid did not seem very happy but had to admit my reasoning was sound.
"So can I count on you to sponsor Linda then?"
"Uh, I guess so, but I'll have to meet with her first of course, before I can decide."
"One more, probably stupid, question, but I have absolutely no idea who sells exactly what in this village. Do you also carry lingerie or swimwear in your collection or do I have to find someone else for that?"
"I do have a small collection of exclusive lingerie and swimwear as a bit of a sideline, but I have never really promoted it." It's difficult to find models prepared to parade in underwear or tiny bikinis you know!"
"Well Astrid, your search may be over: Linda will also model in that style for you."
To prove my point I showed Astrid some of the photos of Linda in her underwear, which she had approved for promotion.
"Really?" Astrid said looking at the pictures, "I can see that she could indeed carry this off; she has a stunning body."
"Great, let's drink to our agreement then; I'll order a nice bottle of wine."
As Astrid was having fish, I ordered a bottle of Chablis. I felt it politic correct to get her something which went well with her dish, even at the expense of my pork cheek. After the obligatory tasting, we lightly touched our glasses and toasted our joint venture with the chilled wine.
The rest of the meal went smoothly and after the main course I suggested a dessert, but Astrid declined.
She did however offer a cup of coffee at her home instead to seal the deal we made and start to work out some of the details.
When we got settled with our coffee on a big sofa in her house, which was basically a luxury apartment above the boutique, I thought I might try to carefully broach the subject of the secret society.
"So Astrid, it's really good to get to know you a bit better; you are a very warm and friendly person."
"Oh" Astrid said, "Why wouldn't I be a friendly person?"
"Well you know rumor has it that you are an arrogant and pretentious person, difficult to get along with and always want to have it your own way. Hey, I am just telling you what I heard, this is absolutely not my personal opinion!"
"Oh God! I had no idea that that was doing the rounds."
"I see now Astrid that you are absolutely not the kind of person the village gossip describes."
"No absolutely not! I am exactly the opposite, even a bit adventurous."
"Are you now?" So how would you react if I were to ask you to do something totally out of the ordinary?"
"If it was not too outrageous I might comply," she said with a slight smirk.
"Would you now?"
"Yes I would."
"I would like to put that to the test."
"Oh yeah, what are you going to ask me to do that you think I wouldn't do?"
"Simple," I said, Astrid take off your dress!"
"You heard me, STAND UP AND TAKE OFF YOUR DRESS!"
With this command, it was as if we had moved into a sort of fictional world as master and slave...Astrid looked at me with big eyes and I saw her change completely from the sort of arrogant bitchy style she usually adopts to a subdued willing...slave, yes that's the correct word, slave.
"Yes Master," Astrid replied with a subdued voice as she stood up and started to undo the zipper of her dress.
So I was right I thought. With her response of 'yes master' I was now convinced she was part of this exclusive club of BDSM lovers and it was clear that she was a sub in that exclusive group.
The dress slowly came down and pooled at her feet and Astrid covered her boobs with her hands.
As I suspected, she was not wearing a bra, only a small white lace thong, probably one of her exclusive collection she was selling.
"Do not cover your boobs with your hands!"
"Yes Master" she replied and immediately lowered her hands and held them behind her back.
Astrid looked absolutely stunning, she really took my breath away.
Her boobs, my guess a C-cup, were pointing straight forward, crowned with medium sized areolae and relatively big nipples, rock hard, which pointed straight at me like a couple of bullets.
Below those gorgeous mounds a toned midriff, not an ounce of fat on her. I confirmed my previous impression that she could easily pass for twenty-six..
Well-formed legs, as long as a night without love, and not a tan line in sight; her skin was evenly tanned, lightly sun kissed, though probably from a tanning bed, no tattoos, no piercings - just the way I like it.
"So Astrid you're a sub in your little club of fetish lovers aren't you?"
"Yes Master, I am."
"And do you like it?"
"Oh yes Master, I absolutely love it."
"Excellent Astrid, now I want you completely naked, so remove your thong and give it to me."
Astrid complied, handing me the thong -she was now completely naked except for the stiletto sandals, though she did put her hands over her nether regions.
"Astrid did I say you could cover your pussy with your hands?"
"No Master," and her hands went immediately behind her back again.
Her pussy was nice and tight, with no inner labia showing it.
"Turn around, bend over spread your legs and use your hands to open up your pussy for my inspection."
I went closer to take a good look at her opened pussy lips, and her little brown starfish just above it.
"OK, turn around and put your hands behind your head."
"Yes Master," Astrid said, immediately complying with my order.