The photograph of the two trees in the original photograph sent to Lord Byron was taken in late winter. Their branches were bare and twisted, leafless. The grass around them stood bright green and tall while fog cast a veil over the sunrise palette in the sky.

Seabiscuit had scouted out the location the day before and sent me photos. How different it looked! The grass was dried and yellow, and the intertwining of branches could not be seen as the oak leaves were still nearly covered all branches. I decided I ought to wear blue for a contrast to that landscape, and if I am the Mistress of the Sapphire Seas, then blue seems all the more appropriate. I rarely wear dresses or skirts, but this was a special occasion, so I wore a long-sleeved tunic and a long lacey blue skirt.

I reread emails over and over on the trip there. What does it mean to be a Domme? To have a sub? I told my friends I felt I needed an introductory guide. To my coworker M, on Friday afternoon, I even showed Seabiscuit’s email for advice. M said: “He’s essentially telling you he wants you to order him around, so you can say ‘Eat my fucking pussy!’ and he’ll do it.”

What a foreign thing it seemed to know I would have so much control. I still felt like I needed a handbook. My first venture into the world of BDSM–all the control would be mine.

Well, maybe not all of it. After all, the bus I was to take decided not to turn where it was supposed to, leaving me and 5 others stranded as it never came for us and the next bus was an hour later. Determined not to be left behind with the next one, I hurried in the Saturday heat (wishing I had not worn long sleeves after all) to the Transbay Terminal to catch the bus where it starts (leaving no opportunity to be missed).

When I finally got to my destination, Seabiscuit was running a few minutes late. It was hot–more hot than it had been in San Francisco. It was in the 90s at least, and not a good temperature for long sleeves.We finally spotted each other on opposite sides of the street–him in his red car and me on the corner. He pulled over and got out as I waited for the light to change to let me cross. The sun was in my eyes, so I had to hold my arm up, but I smiled as I peeked at him.

We hugged. “It’s good to see you,” he said, and he opened the door for me. Both of us were nervous and excited. He said he thought we could get me something to eat and drink, rest a little maybe, and then have our photoshoot later near sunset when it was “the golden hour” best for photography.

So we drove to his apartment. He took out some crackers and a plate of three cheeses (a well marbled blue cheese, Humboldt fog, and a hard cheese of some sort) and offered me water or juice. We both drank apple juice while chatting and eating cheese and crackers.

After we finished off the plate, he said, “So what would you like to do now? I can show you around town, or we could go get ice cream, or–we could cuddle.”

I tilted my head to consider my options for a few seconds, and then exclaimed, “Let’s cuddle!” and I grinned.

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