Submission: A Novel

Submission: A Novel

3.3 11
by Marthe Blau

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You'll want to scream, but you'll be gagged. You'll want to cry, but you'll be blindfolded. You'll want to run away, but you'll be tied up. You'll have no way of begging me, I'll do what I want with you.
Now American readers can be riveted by the controversial novel that, according to The Sunday Times (London), "sent tremours through the FrenchSee more details below


You'll want to scream, but you'll be gagged. You'll want to cry, but you'll be blindfolded. You'll want to run away, but you'll be tied up. You'll have no way of begging me, I'll do what I want with you.
Now American readers can be riveted by the controversial novel that, according to The Sunday Times (London), "sent tremours through the French establishment." Sexual obsession, domination, and extreme desire drive the story of Elodie, a young married Parisian lawyer who finds herself swept up in a cycle of sadomasochistic lust.
A handsome stranger she meets in court issues her a series of instructions that she feels compelled to follow. He introduces her to sex clubs hidden in dark alleys, toys that enhance physical pleasure as well as pain, and couples whose appetites are as voracious as his. What at first seems out of character for Élodie quickly begins to shape her self-identity. As the violence of their encounters escalates, these acts become a dangerous addiction she can't break. But how far can she go and how much of her life will she risk in the process?
Based on the author's own experience, this sophisticated and captivating novel exudes the sensuality that only the French know how to deliver.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Even the most slavish Francophiles will long for something a bit more substantial than the string of garter belts, dildoes and illicit sexual encounters on offer in this debut novel of sexual obsession set in Paris, a knockoff of The Story of O. Elodie is a young mother and successful lawyer whose deviant affair with a dominating colleague is allegedly based on the author's own experience. Summoned one night to the rooms of this curiously magnetic man, Elodie is transformed when he announces, "Nobody will ever treat you as I'm going to treat you," then proceeds to blindfold her, sodomize her with a mysterious foreign object and bring her to an "incredible, overwhelming" orgasm that leaves her panting for more. Then the trouble really begins for poor Elodie-for all her obedience and humiliation, a "penetrating silence" is as close as she ever gets to actual penetration by the sadistic man she refers to as "Him." And though readers, for better or worse, will feel "the torture of waiting" almost as acutely as does his plaything, some will surely long for a dose of Houellebecq-ian philosophy to give these bleak encounters a little soul. As erotica, it titillates. But as literature, it feels unconsummated. (July) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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Atria Books
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Meet the Author

Marthe Blau is a thirtysomething lawyer who lives in Paris with her husband and baby. This is her first novel.

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Chapter 1

I'm in front of the porte cochere and my life is passing before me. There's a knot in my stomach and my legs sway on my heels. I can't go on.

All of a sudden, I feel very cold, or very hot, I'm not sure which. I think about my baby, my darling boy, my reason for living. I see again the look in his eyes when I left him in the arms of a babysitter he doesn't know very well.

Where am I? What am I doing here, shaved and scented, teetering on black stilettos with pointed toes and three-and-a-half-inch heels, and wearing an uncomfortable garter belt and a G-string that cuts into my skin?

My stomach hurts. I think of leaving, running back to my wonderful son and hugging him and telling him how much I love him, how I'll never leave him, how I'll dedicate my life to him.

I see again the day he was born, the tears of joy when he came out, the emotion on his daddy's face, the vows we made, the loving kisses, the osmosis that binds the three of us.

And I punch in the entry code for the building.

He's here in front of me. He was waiting for me. He doesn't say hello, just kisses me on my right cheek and puts an arm around my shoulders and pulls me inside.

I'm shaking under my leather coat. I try to control it but can't. I can't speak either. All I can do is smile weakly. What's about to happen is going to change my life. I don't want to cheat on my husband, but I already know that in a little while, when I leave here, when I leave Him, I'll be a different person. I remember the night of my eighteenth birthday, my first boyfriend trying to explain what love is.

He doesn't say a word.

He just looks at me, keeps looking atme, staring at me.

His eyes are gray. I know He's unstoppable. But the last thing I want is for Him to stop.

Very slowly, He unbuttons my coat. The leather squeaks beneath His fingers.

I haven't moved an inch. The coat falling to the floor makes me jump.

He takes my hands in His, and for the first time our skins touch. He squeezes my fingers and I go dizzy with excitement.

I'd like to kiss Him. I don't dare.

I'd like Him to kiss me. He doesn't.

He just looks at me.

He still hasn't said a word.

Slowly, He squeezes my hands and pushes me toward the sofa.

Once on the sofa, I sit up very straight, with my knees together.

His eyes move over my body. I lower my head. The small of my back feels stiff because of the way I'm sitting.

My mouth is dry.

I see a bottle of water on the coffee table and reach out my hand.

He stops me.


It's the first word He's uttered, and His voice carries me away.

I forget my thirst.

• • •

No sound comes from my throat. I can't take my eyes off His hands — or my mind. My body is already waiting for their touch. I say nothing. I savor the waiting, the waiting for Him.

His gray eyes again.

He reaches out His hand to the back of my neck.

I think He's going to take me in His arms, but He doesn't.

His forefinger touches my skin, moves down my throat and lightly over my breast through the silk that's covering it and along the curve of my hip, down to my legs. With infinite slowness, He lifts the material and uncovers my black stockings, my white thighs.

My heart is pounding. I suck in air, hardly able to breathe. I lower my eyes.

I listen to the silence.

A heavy, penetrating, all-pervasive silence, like the silence of a desert abandoned by every living thing. I'm a carcass of flesh at the mercy of a mad demon who's going to take me away on his red horse.

I watch Him as he lifts my dress above my stockings, as if I were no longer me. I no longer feel as if I'm me. I've lost possession of my strength, my willpower, my consciousness. I'm no longer me.

I'm still sitting with my knees together.

I hear His breathing, faster now as the sight of my white skin excites Him.

I'm afraid, and tortured with desire.

Nobody has ever looked at me like Him.

He's lifted the front of my dress as far as my hips.

He lets go of the material and takes a step back. I feel His eyes on me, focused between my legs, like an incision.

I savor those burning eyes on me, penetrating me.

I want Him. I'm His. From now on, I'm His and nobody else's.

I want Him to kiss me but He doesn't.

My body screams soundlessly for His hands but He doesn't touch me.


I jump.

"Open your legs." His voice has gotten harder.

My knees are still stuck together.

• • •

"Obey now. Open your legs."

Nobody has ever spoken to me like Him.

This time, my knees knock together and I can't stop the shaking.

"Open them! Open them or leave! I want to see you."

The threat of being thrown out is like a jolt to my brain, and finally I obey.

He stares at me for a while, then at last walks up to me and reaches out his hand to touch the black material over my swelling cunt.

He strokes the fabric with precise fingers.

I hear my heart.

I hear His breathing.

He's knelt in front of the sofa, between my spread legs, to touch me better.

I'd like Him to kiss me but He doesn't.

I'd like to feel His fingers on my skin but He doesn't touch me.

He stands, pulling me up with Him.

The dress slides back down my legs.

I look at Him.

He isn't looking into my eyes, but much lower.

Again very slowly, He slides the silk up over my legs, my hips, my waist, my back, my shoulders. I lift my arms and the dress falls to the ground.

I stay where I am, teetering on my stiletto heels, in my garter belt and G-string and bra, all the same matte black color, and feel more and more lost and more and more His. I don't like my body. It's too full, too round.

His eyes linger on my skin, unsettling me and arousing me.

I hear His breathing.

"You're gorgeous."

I smile.

He takes my right hand in His and circles my waist with his other hand and turns me around, as if in a slow waltz.

I know He's giving me the once-over.

I know how beautiful His wife is, how tall and skinny. I saw her once at the Brasserie Lipp, but He doesn't know that. I lower my eyes.

Silence. Not a word from Him. I can't even hear His breathing anymore.

Instinctively, I arch my back.

"Good," He says.

• • •

I'm shaking.

He sits down and looks at me in silence.

Finally I see Him undo His tie. A black tie, thin and silky.

I take this to mean that He's going to undress. It's like a return to reality. I imagine His skin, how dark and soft and smooth it must be.

But He doesn't undress. He plays with His tie, sliding it between His fingers. He smiles at me. At last, He speaks.

"Nobody has ever treated you as I'm going to treat you."

He moves His hands up toward my face. I wait for Him to stroke me. Instead, the tie goes over my eyes. I hear the silk rustle as He knots it behind my neck.

I'm shaking.

I'd like Him to kiss me but He doesn't.

I can't see a thing and I'm shaking.

I hear Him step back.

I'm lost, alone in this room I don't know, blind.

I'm shaking. He doesn't say a word.

I don't hear Him moving.

I don't know where He is now.

But I feel His eyes staring at my body.

I try to imagine what He's seeing, what He's thinking.

I see again my arched back above my excessively high, excessively pointed stilettos, reflected in the mirror of the lingerie shop near my office, where I rushed a few hours ago, anxious to follow His instructions: "Go home and prepare your body for me. Oil yourself. All over. Dress in black, with stockings and high-heeled shoes."

I'm shaking. The blindness makes my senses ten times sharper. I feel a mixture of fear and desire.

He's moving! I hear Him moving. I really think He's coming closer to me.

I stretch out my right hand to where I think He is.

His voice stops me.


My hand freezes in midair.

"Hands behind your back."

I put my palms together against the small of my back, twisting and untwisting my fingers.

I've obeyed at once, without thinking.

"That's good. You're beautiful like that."

At last, I feel His hand on me, brushing against the back of my neck, stroking it, moving down again to my breasts, which are barely held within my plunging bra.

He moves the material aside and takes my left breast in his open hand and pulls it out. Then he does the same with my right breast.

I'm conscious of my breasts rising toward Him, my nipples lifted toward His face, straining, demanding His fingers.

Now He lets go of me again and I feel lost.

I have a fierce desire to feel Him against me but I don't dare move.

When I hear His steps moving away, I feel as if I'm going to faint.

My whole body aches for His presence. There's a knot of pain in my stomach. I arch my back, as if that could grab His attention.

I hear Him breathing. He's much taller than me. I feel His breath on my forehead.

"Show me your tongue."

I don't understand. Timidly, I stick my tongue out a little, holding it tight between my teeth.

What must I look like? I promise myself to check—as soon as I can.

"A bit more."

I do as I'm told. I'm shaking.

Desire floods through me.

His tongue touches my tongue and He takes it into His mouth and His arms go around my shoulders and I abandon myself and kiss Him and suck His saliva and gorge myself on His mouth and kiss Him and kiss Him and kiss Him and my head explodes and I stagger, my legs buckling under the intensity of the desire going through my body.

I'm not shaking anymore, my hands are responding, I hug Him as hard as I can and stroke His face, guessing at the contours, I cling to Him with all the passion I have in me, as if my body could be absorbed by His.

But already His mouth is leaving my mouth, His body rejecting my body.

I stay where I am, struggling against the spasms that shudder through me. I can't bear not being able to see Him, not having Him near me, my mouth and belly and back are aching for His hands, screaming their sense of abandonment, demanding His touch, His voice, His smell. But I don't make a sound.

He doesn't speak to me, doesn't approach me, doesn't touch me.

• • •

After what seems an infinite length of time, I finally feel His hands on my shoulders. He grips them and pushes me backward, until I feel a table behind my thighs.

I grip the edge of the table, which seems to be of polished wood.

He rearranges the position of my breasts, pulling back the cups of the bra as far as they will go.

I feel His fingers on my nipples, then His mouth biting them, His fingers pinching them with increasing strength, His tongue licking them, His lips exploring them and sucking on them, I feel His teeth squeezing and biting me more and more greedily. I'm shaking more than ever, heat rises in the small of my back. I arch my back even more. My belly is on fire, too.

His teeth and tongue and fingers work away, sometimes gently, sometimes painfully. My head is exploding.

All I want is to be fucked by this man I know nothing about, this man who's treating me as nobody has ever treated me.

He lets go of me. I support myself on the table.

"Nobody will ever treat you as I'm going to treat you." A grim omen.

• • •


I turn.

"Arch your back."

I arch my back.

"Spread your buttocks."

I stop moving.

I feel His hands on my hands, which are still clamped on the table.

With infinite gentleness this time, His fingers intertwine with mine.

With my hands still in His, He places them on my buttocks, one on each side of my ass.

He spreads my buttocks and I feel His sinuous tongue licking me, cutting a path deep inside me.

I want to turn and suck Him, but I know it's not the right moment.

The shaking starts again.

He kneels and puts His face against my buttocks, His thumb takes over from His tongue, then another finger, then His tongue again. His breathing is labored and spasmodic.

The phone rings, making me jump.

He stops, and I hear His steps in the room.

The soles of His shoes click on the parquet floor — a clear indication that He's still dressed.

• • •

"Helen? My meeting hasn't finished yet. I'll meet you as soon as I'm done.

"Arch your back."

I realize He's talking to me. Did she hear? I arch my back.

"See you soon, darling." (Will He call me "darling" one day?)

I hear His steps in the room, a drawer opening and closing. He's behind me again, parting my hair at the back. I tremble when he runs His nails over the nape of my neck.

"Concentrate on what I'm going to do to you. I'm going to drive you crazy. You'll never again be able to do without it. You'll wait for me to call you, you'll pray for me to send for you, you'll come right away and do everything I ask. You'll learn to enjoy waiting for me, needing me. You'll never again have an orgasm without thinking of me. You'll never again have an orgasm without thinking of this."

I'm overcome with emotion.

The tie is coming loose and about to slide from my eyes. He tightens the knot.

• • •

Again, He searches in my ass with his fingers. "Masturbate." I find my clitoris with my middle finger while He continues His exploration, right and left, up and down. I'm shaking, my orgasm is mounting. I'm going to come, but He lets go of my hand and turns me to face Him and puts His fingers on my lips.

"Lick them, suck them, think about what I'm going to do to you."

One by one, I lick and suck the fingers He's just taken out of my ass.

"Go on, that's good, you're very submissive. I like that."

My tongue penetrates every fold of His skin, I take His thumb into my mouth, and I can't stop thinking about His cock, I'd like to feel it inside me, no matter where, no matter how, as long as it's right now. After I've cleaned every nook and cranny of His skin with my tongue, He turns me around again to face the table, presses my face onto the wood, my nose squashed against the lacquer. I hear the noise of a tube emptying into my anus.

I realize He's going to sodomize me and I wait for His cock.

Anticipating His orders, I arch my back.

• • •

"Get ready. Open wide."

I obey. Something hard and pointed forces its way through my sphincter and plunges into me.

It can't be His cock. It doesn't hurt.

The unidentified object moves backward and forward, impaling me.

The thing is very long, and I feel as if it's going to pierce my intestines.

A pencil? No, it's much thicker than a pencil. A letter opener, a stick? I don't know, I'll never know.

Whatever it is, He takes it out and again I feel a thick finger going in. Is it His thumb? He turns it a little in my dampened ass.

Then nothing.

The top half of my body is still flat across the table and my hands twist beneath my face. I bite my fingers in order not to cry out.

"Don't move."

He didn't need to say it. I wouldn't have moved. I'd never have dared to move.

This time, something much wider forces its way into my ass, and by now, I have to admit, there isn't much resistance.

I think it's His cock and arch my back even more. I close my eyes and hold my breath to savor the feel of Him at last inside me.

My senses have deceived me. No sooner has my ass been filled than He lifts the top part of my body and turns me to face Him again. The thing is still inside me. I can't get over it. I'm torn in two but I know He's in front of me.

"You're a bit narrow. I need to make you wider."

He puts His mouth on mine and bites my lips. His kisses make me dizzy.

I'm totally submissive, abandoned, malleable. I already know He could do anything He wants to me, I'd follow Him anywhere, I'd go with Him to a cloister and devote myself to serving Him, giving Him pleasure, obeying Him. All I can think about is the thing inside me.

I'm on my feet again now, so why hasn't it slipped out? What is it? It doesn't really hurt, it's just there. I can't work out its shape or what it's made of. But I'd rather die than ask Him.

Now He grabs my hips with His hands and lifts me up till I'm sitting on the table. Of course I don't dare put my weight on my anus and what's in it. Instead, I try to support myself on my thighs.

I hear the sound of furniture being moved. "Open your legs."

"Put your feet on the chairs," and at the same time, He places one of my legs on a chair to the right of my body, then the other the same way, on the other side.

With my thighs as far apart as they can go, I'm forced to shift my weight backward.

The thing sinks into me.

I can't see how it's possible, and I've no idea how He plans to get it out. The prospect overwhelms me. Again, I'm shaking all over.

"That's good, you needed widening. Lean on it. Butt-fuck yourself."

I clutch the edge of the table on either side of my legs and try to shift a little of my weight onto my hands.

"Hands behind your back."

I fear the worst, but I don't dare disobey Him. I join my hands behind my back, still trying to lean on them.

"You're making fun of me!"

He grabs a mass of hair behind my neck and pulls it down. My weight shifts completely onto my coccyx and the thing goes even farther in.

• • •

Something brushes against my hip. It feels like a rather thick cloth. He grabs my hands and ties my wrists with the cloth and pulls the knot very tight.

I lower my head. I'm shaking.

The blindfold has become a little loose. Between my thighs, I can see His hips in His black suit. My ass hurts. I think about torture by impalement. God knows how this is going to end.

I feel as if my tissues are tearing. All my weight now is on the thing, which seems more and more enormous.

I watch Him through my restricted field of vision. I want to cry. The thing is completely inside me now. I want Him to untie me and turn me around and at least reassure me that He'll be able to take it out. I want His cock. I want to make Him come.

There's total silence. I can't see His face but I sense that He's looking at me. I breathe faster.

His black suit reappears in the crack. His jacket is open and I notice He's wearing a belt with a silver buckle. His shirt is white, with what look like very thin blue stripes — I can hardly see anything. The belt disappears. I see nothing but white, then His face, then His hair.

He moves aside my panties and lightly touches my cunt and sticks His forefinger inside, then takes it out and raises it to my mouth. "You're soaking wet." I suck His damp finger.

All I can see now is His dark, stiff hair, brushed back.

And I feel His tongue in me and His nose burrows into my pubis and His lips suck on my clitoris, His tongue is tender and rough, it edges its way in, burrows into my body, and His fingers are in there, too, moving with increasing force, and with small and then bigger flicks of His tongue. He climbs and sucks and teases and stops and starts again, with the precision of a bullet reaching its target.

My ass hurts. The bonds cut into my wrists. My cunt reaches the point of ecstasy and explodes. Convulsions shake my body and I bite my lips so as not to cry out.

I'm drowning in the ocean, lights flash before my eyes. I'm dying. The orgasm is incredible, overwhelming, the spasms go on and on.

I haven't touched Him. My hands are tied. I can't even hug Him.

Long seconds pass. He's still between my legs. He's put His hand on my erupting cunt and His cheek against my left thigh.

He stands up and kisses me. I drink my own juice greedily, putting into my kiss all the gratitude I feel for this unfamiliar power.

He lifts me off the table and takes the thing out of me (I'll never know how) and unties me and kisses me again and takes off the blindfold.

"I'll see you soon," He says as He walks me to the door. "Don't call me. I'll send for you when I want to see you again." And that's it.

Now I'm back in the street, walking beside the railings of the Luxembourg, my head full of Him, already waiting for His call.

Copyright © 2003 by Éditions Jean-Claude LattÞs

Translation copyright © 2005 by Howard Curtis

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