I guess that may sound a little shocking at first – at least, if the general media reaction is any indication, it does. But to me, the idea seemed perfectly natural from the get-go. I’ve been a diehard fan of Heathcliff and Cathy for quite a while, and have always dreamed of something more for them – who hasn’t? It’s such a tragic story, and despite Heathcliff and Cathy’s considerable faults, I could never help but admire their passion and want them to be together anyway.
Now, I’m not saying I changed the storyline of the original – I didn’t. In fact, my edition of Wuthering Heights contains each word of the original, plus an enhanced erotic romance storyline woven in, blended with the rest. And as soon as Claire (CEO of Total-E-Bound) approached me about the line, I thought ‘BDSM Wuthering Heights’.
Heathcliff must have been similarly afflicted, for he glimpsed my departure and, unbeknownst to me, followed me out of doors. He made his presence known in the stable, giving me a terrible fright by striding into the tack room and laying a hand on my shoulder just as I was reaching for my saddle. “It’s too dark to ride,” he told me. “There’s only a sliver of a moon tonight—try it and you shall cause your mare to break her leg out on the marsh.”
He stepped in front of me and my ire rose—to think that he should try to prevent me from relieving my torturous feelings when it was he who caused them in the first place! I told him that I would not ride my mare out onto the marsh, for I was not a fool, and demanded that he remove himself from my way, or else saddle my horse for me.
He had the gall to refuse, and promised that we would ride together in the morning, when our journey would be made safe by the light of the sun.
I assured him that I could not possibly pass the night in my current state, and that I desired escape from the house and the distress he had caused me.
He said he would stay with me till morning, and that we might weather the darkness together. Ignorant of the true meaning of his words and the potential of his suggestion, I succumbed to a rather spectacular fit of temper, furious that he should continue to detain me. Using my fingernails as a cat uses its claws, I struck his chest and shoulders, attempting to make him stumble or shrink away from me so that I might slip by him and seize my saddle.
He did neither, and instead stood as steadfastly as a stone wall, unyielding to my vicious efforts to move him. After a few moments, I began to feel ashamed, for I could see that I had marred his chest with a red furrow that stood out just above the collar of his shirt, which was the only garment he wore on the upper half of his body. At that moment, I made up my mind to abandon him and the saddle, silently vowing that I would ride my mare bareback, under the light of the moon. When I turned on my heel and attempted to escape the tack room, Heathcliff seized me around the waist and pulled me against himself, wrapping me so tightly in his arms that I might as well have been bound by heavy chains.
I shouted for him to release me, but as I struggled, something curious happened—my skin warmed and my every nerve seemed to hum with excitement, as if suddenly brought to a new kind of life by the intimate position I shared with Heathcliff. I continued to writhe, but the friction my motions created became a sort of pleasure in and of itself, and I knew that it had affected a change in Heathcliff too, for I heard him groan and felt him shift against me, pressing something hard against the small of my back. This development sent a shiver of exhilaration down my spine, though at the time, I still possessed only the vaguest of ideas as to what would occur next. Heathcliff’s intent became clearer when he laid his hands on my shoulders and turned me about so that I faced him. I’d scarcely met his eyes when he pressed me against a wooden beam, pinning me against it with the weight of his own body. The rigid rod tenting the front of his trousers now pushed against my belly, caught betwixt our bodies—a fact I could not help but be aware of. I acknowledged its presence with a breathless gasp, and a thrill of expectation went through me when his dark eyes met mine. I had looked into them many a time, and yet, never had I seen the gleam I saw then, the intensity of which was the cause of my excitement.
“Listen to me, Cathy,” he said. “It’s only the two of us. You must listen to me when it’s only us—you may command me in the others’ presence, but that shall stop when we are alone together.”
I possessed neither the power nor the will to contradict him—not when his gaze held me captive more effectively than his grip, and his body felt so powerful against mine. We had stolen kisses before, and the sensations I’d felt then were much like the ones I experienced as he held me there, his eyes full of promise—promise of what, exactly, I had yet to discover.
As I stilled and said nothing, a look of satisfaction flashed in his eyes. I expected a kiss, or perhaps a tender caress, and was much perplexed when he broached an unexpected and less pleasant subject.”Do you remember when I first came to Wuthering Heights, years ago?” As he spoke, he plucked a familiar instrument from the wall—a riding crop.
“Yes,” I replied, somewhat breathlessly. “Of course.”
“Ah,” he said, leaning close to me again, so that his breath warmed my lips when he breathed, “Then you remember spitting at me because you were angry that your father brought me home to you instead of a new riding crop.” He raised the crop he gripped in his hand so that the flap of leather on the end touched my face. Ever so slowly, he stroked my cheek, and the touch of leather against my skin was as gentle as a breeze. I can’t yet reason why, but I quivered with elation, even as guilt assailed me, conjured by the memory he had invoked.
“I was but a child,” I protested, “and that was a dozen years ago.”
“You spat at me and then turned your back. You refused to allow me into your bed,” he reminded me.
“You have spent many nights in my bed since,” I said.
“Years ago,” he replied. “A habit that we quit when we left childhood behind. I have given it some thought and I rather think that it’s a practice we should take up again.”
I’ll swear my heart skipped a beat at the notion of sharing my bed with Heathcliff, and what that would mean now that we were older, our relationship having progressed irrevocably beyond our former bond as childhood playmates. I exhaled as he continued to stroke my cheek with the crop, a rhythmic motion that seemed to promise much more than gentle caresses. “That crop,” I worked up the courage to ask, “what do you intend to do with it?”
“Much,” he replied.
I entreated him to tell me more.
“I mean to drive out every last bit of your worries and your defiance, until I am all you can think about, and my name is the only thing you can shout,” he said. “Would you like that?”
I could not deny that his words thrilled me, and told him as much.
He responded by releasing me, leaving me to languish against the beam, eyeing the crop he wielded and the bulge that strained against his trousers. Seeing him in such a state roused something inside me, and inspired in me an admiration that stole my breath away. I felt as if I were seeing Heathcliff not as I had always known him, but as I had always been meant to know him. As I regarded him I considered his words, and at first I thought to protest, but he quelled those intentions with a command I could not deny. “Bend over that saddle,” he said, in a tone so firm that I took a step forward, ignoring my weak knees as I made my way towards the very object that I had been attempting to claw my way to only minutes ago.
The saddle rested on a simple wooden rack that extended from the wall, and was at a level that allowed me to bend over it quite easily—an action which brought a pleased expression to Heathcliff’s face. My heart thrilled at the sight of his satisfaction, and I wriggled anxiously against the leather as I awaited the fulfilment of his lofty promise.
Next, he used a long set of driving reins as one might use a rope, securing my wrists and ankles with a couple of knots, so that I was tied fast to the saddle in a way that would prevent me from rising or slipping. Perhaps it is strange, but this caused me to feel secure, rather than trapped—the knots were comforting because he had tied them. When that was done, he raised my skirt and petticoats above my waist and lowered my drawers, exposing my buttocks. I fear I cannot put into words the excitement I felt when his hand brushed across my bare skin—it was the first time he had touched me there, and I had done so sparingly on a few occasions when my own natural curiosity and daring thoughts of Heathcliff had conspired to overwhelm me. I was soon glad of the restraints he’d created for me, for when he caressed my bottom one last time and then rose at last, I trembled with anticipation and might have fallen if he hadn’t secured me.
“My Cathy,” he said as he stood, surveying me.
This endearment only increased my tremors, and my gaze settled again upon the instrument he held in one hand. He gripped it firmly, his hand much more steady than my own quivering limbs as he stepped behind me.”Count each strike of my whip, Cathy,” he instructed. “Cry out if you wish, cry my name—anything you desire, but don’t forget to count, unless you wish me to stop. I shall continue as long as you persist counting. And if anytime you should stop counting, I shall stop too.”