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Salt Lake City – Chapter 7.9

Happy had texted Chang her arrival information during her layover in San Francisco. He had texted her back immediately, telling her that he would have somebody waiting for her at the airport. She had considered not telling him about her arrival, at least not until she had time to decompress, but knew she risked pushing Chang over the thin line that separated his deviance from his violence.

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When they arrived at the house, Happy was told that Chang was taking a telephone call in his office and that she should join him after she had freshened up. She and Chang were the only ones that lived in the massive house that looked out over Repulse Bay. According to legend, a Taipan from one of the large British trading houses had built the home back in the 1950s, when Chang was just beginning to make his reputation. The Taipan had thrown a party and the 14K had provided “security” for the event. The head of security that night was Chang, who took the opportunity to make copies of keys and ingratiate himself with certain members of the Taipan’s staff. Between the “hauntings” and security breaches that followed, the Taipan had sold the house and moved back to the U.K. before the year was out.

Chang had turned the property into a fortress, and despite Happy’s loathing of Chang she had always loved this house. What wasn’t to love? The home had a full-time wait staff, a beautiful private swimming pool with two waterfalls, a jacuzzi, and a swim-up bar. A Chinese garden with a pagoda looked out over the bay, where at least one of Uncle’s boats was likely moored. It was also just a short taxi ride to Stanley Prison, where she used to visit her father on a weekly basis. Her bathroom was bigger than most of the apartments in Hong Kong. The shower had multiple shower heads with a shelf that was big enough for her to lie down on. She turned the hot water on as hot as she could make it and let the steam relax her jet-lagged body. She allowed her mind to wander and found herself fantasizing about Yellow and what he would do to her in the steamy, multi-headed shower.

Refreshed, she dried herself off and prepared to make herself beautiful. It didn’t take much. Chang didn’t like it when she wore makeup. Chang would think she had dressed for him, but Happy found herself unable to stop thinking about Yellow. She was in her late twenties and had never allowed herself to be attracted to anyone. She didn’t know what Uncle would do if he found out that she had been intimate with another man, but she was certain it wouldn’t be good. Chang had to know about Brig, but Brig was on the other side of the world, and while not entirely out of Chang’s reach, Happy hoped that Chang was “looking the other way.” It was a good sign that Brig was still alive, and that in the months that Happy had been with Brig he had not been attacked. Regardless, she would soon find out how Chang now felt about her.

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She strolled through the open doors of Chang’s study in a blue camisole, white shorts, and flip-flops. She chose a casual look, hoping it would soften Chang’s mood. Chang, Yellow, and Pigeon Mike were sitting down around a coffee table, chatting while looking out on the bay through the massive floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall window.

“Ah. There she is!” Chang announced and stood to greet her.

“Uncle. I’ve missed you!”

“Really? I don’t think so.”

“Uncle. You must know how much I truly hated it over there. It is so bloody boring! Maybe it’s just Salt Lake City, but there is nothing to do over there. I missed my home. I missed the dim sum. I missed my friends. But mostly, I missed you.” Happy kissed Chang on the cheek.

“Ha! Now I know you’re lying.” Happy was pleasantly surprised by Chang’s good spirits. She looked over at Yellow, who was looking back at her hungrily. She hoped he knew how careful he needed to be in front of Uncle. Yellow looked away as Chang commanded him to make Happy a drink.

“Gin and tonic, if you don’t mind,” Happy requested.

“Please darling, have a seat. I ordered the sticky rice and some other dishes you like.” Chang waved his hand over the coffee table.

“Wonderful. I’m starving.”

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They sat down and Happy told the group about her trip to the U.S. She steered clear of any topic that would suggest a sexual relationship with Brig, mostly focusing on minor adventures, the food, the mountains, the lake of salt. Chang peppered her with friendly questions, also avoiding the topic of other men. Yellow and Pigeon mostly laughed and nodded in the right places. After they consumed the food, and the drinks quaffed, Chang abruptly ended the chat by asking the other men if they had other things to do. Chang remained sitting while the others jumped to their feet. Yellow and Pigeon excused themselves, but as Yellow exited the room he chanced a final glance and smile at Happy, causing her to blush like a young schoolgirl. She quickly looked away and over at Chang, who was looking down at his feet and appeared not to have noticed. Happy was skeptical, however, as Chang rarely missed anything.

Pigeon Mike closed the doors as he exited. Chang lit another cigarette and let the silence fill the room. Happy sat down quietly next to Chang and awaited his next move. The tension in the room built with every drag that Chang took on his cigarette. He appeared deep in thought.

Eventually, the silence was too much for Happy, and she ventured to start a conversation.

“So tell me…” she began, but before she could get the rest of her sentence out Chang had grabbed her hair and yanked her head back. His opposite hand brought the half-smoked cigarette to within an inch of her eye. Still, he said nothing. Happy closed her eyes, waiting for the pain. She heard Chang’s heavy breaths as he fought to control his rage.

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A few moments passed before Happy heard the popping sound of Chang’s cigarette as he took another long drag. He released Happy’s long black hair from his grip. She opened her eyes and looked over at Chang, who now looked forlorn and tired. Happy knew that the next move was hers and could cost her as little as an eye, and as much as her life. She stood up, slowly but confidently, and stood directly in front of Chang. Chang looked away, and as he brought his cigarette again to his lips, Happy slapped him hard across the face. The burning cigarette flew out of his mouth and across the room. Chang’s head dipped. She hit him again. Chang did nothing to protect himself.

“Pick it up!” Happy demanded.

Chang stood and walked over to where the cigarette lay. He turned around and held the cigarette up, towards Happy, as if it were a gift.

“Put the cigarette out. On your palm.” Chang did as he was told, grimacing as the cigarette burned his old, callused hand.

“Now turn around and kneel.” Chang complied.

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Happy then moved towards a large bookcase where she withdrew a book entitled, “Justine, Philosophy in the Bedroom, and Other Writings,” by the Marquis De Sade. She clearly knew what she was looking for. In between pages 180 and 181 lay a key which she removed. Returning the book, she walked towards a large, wooden Chinese armoire. An ornate wooden box built midway up the face of the armoire secured its doors. Happy deftly removed pieces of the contraption, eventually revealing a metal lock. With the key, she unlocked and opened the closet doors, which revealed a sadomasochist’s cache of leather, sex toys, and other S&M paraphernalia. She selected a full head leather mask, a leather bodysuit with the crotch cut out, and handcuffs. Happy threw the items in Chang’s direction. Chang got up from his kneeling position.

“No!” Happy screamed. “Did I tell you you could move?” Chang returned obediently to his kneeling position. Happy turned back to the armoire, undressed, and donned similar leather attire. Once dressed, she reached in and gripped the handle of a long leather whip. The handle was worn and fit Happy’s hand like a glove. She let it unravel to the floor, and with the expertise of a slave boss cracked the whip loudly. She smiled, contemplating the shift in power and the pain she would inflict.

There were a few rules; nothing to the head that would leave a mark, obviously she could tell no one, and if he said “True gold is not afraid of the refiner’s fire,” she had to stop. However, in the years that they had been playing this game, Chang had never uttered these words. Chang remained motionless, except for the slight grin that crept across his face as he surrendered to Happy’s domination.

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