HOME SWEET HOME
“No, Mom, we can’t do next Friday. Edward’s parents are coming into town to take us to the opera and they’re staying over two nights—”
I hold the phone away from my ear until Mom is through railing about the injustice of it all.
Heavy sigh. “I’m sorry the Cullens are meeting me before you meet Edward. Dad’s met him. No, of course I’m not trying to torture you, Mom. No, this weekend doesn’t work. Edward’s watching the playoffs…football, yes!”
I roll my eyes even though nobody is in my room with me to see.
“Fine, Mom, I’ll ask Edward if he’s free next Tuesday. Okay, yes, Sutton Place. I know. Happy New Year to you, too. No, I’ll see Dad tomorrow. Okay. Love you, too.”
Good thing I’m already lying down. My mother is exhausting. The hand clasping my phone drifts to my side; the other rests across my forehead. It occurs to me I haven’t yet felt the need to sleep in this bed. It’s comfy, and it’s been a long day and a long drive, and I’m not ready for my real life to start up again. I just want to stay in this Edward bubble. My crossed ankles flop from one side to the other.
I should probably get up and take a look at the Warwick proposal but my body feels so heavy…big yawn…
My mouth feels pasty, and I can’t deny that I drifted off to sleep for a minute. With great effort, I lift the phone so I can see it without moving my neck, and the screen informs me that I have received a comment. A comment?
Oh! A comment!
I pop up and skip out to the great room where Edward’s watching TV with a big bowl of cereal in his lap, one leg folded under his lap.
“Hey, sleepyhead,” he says between munches, smiling with his whole face. “I thought you were down for the count.”
“I guess someone wore me out today,” I say sheepishly. “But look!” I hold up my phone to his face, and he squints at it.
Turning the phone back, I realize the screen’s gone blank again. I slide open the message, showing him my news. “Edward, someone responded to my journal entry, and clearly it wasn’t you!”
He slurps up one more big spoonful and sets his bowl down on the table. “Isabella, I’m not going to write back to you on line. That’s between us. So who’s it from?”
“I don’t know yet. I was afraid to look by myself.”
He chuckles and pats the cushion next to him. I plop myself down and hold the opened message between us.
“Read it to me,” he says.
I narrow my eyes. “I’ve already read to you today. Here, you read to me this time.”
“Okay,” he says agreeably, pulling the phone so I can’t see. And he begins reading.
“Hi there!” he starts in an unnaturally energetic intonation. I give him a little friendly whack and he chuckles. “Okay, fine.” Then in a more normal speaking voice, he begins again.
“I saw your journal entry and just wanted to write back as you asked. I figure stepping out like this takes guts and you deserve all the support you can get!! I applaud your bravery! I have to tell you, as soon as I saw that you write erotic fan fiction, my ears perked up because I LOVE reading those stories!! I wonder if I've read any of yours?!? I'm not living in a D/s lifestyle myself, but I have to say that reading about it in stories has always kept me very intrigued and curious to possibly try it out someday?? I don't know. I'm not sure that I could ever be as bold as you are, you really are to be commended!
“So I guess I should say 'Congratulations' on your collaring? I've not found a section in Hallmark for that type of card.” Edward laughs. “I like this one. Great sense of humor.”
“Go on,” I coax, anxious to hear more.
“…But I know you are excited *ahem* as is your Master *ahem* and you hopefully will have a fulfilling and enjoyable journey together! Then there’s an open mouth smiley face thing,” he adds, looking up at me. I can’t help but smile back.
“The ceremony sounds really lovely! It sounds to me like you have the absolute best of both worlds.” He looks at me over the top of the phone and waggles his eyebrows. “Oh honey, you have no idea!”
“Your Master is your boyfriend as well? I know that isn't always the case in the D/s lifestyle. It probably poses many challenges…”
“Pffffffft!” I accidentally spew louder than I meant, and Edward quirks a brow. I give him the move on hand roll.
“…But I'm sure it comes with great security and satisfaction for you as well.” He looks up at me again and waits for confirmation, which I grant in the form of a brief nod.
“I hope this decision you've made together makes you happy and allows you to feel complete. This world is a scary place. When you find what brings you the most joy, you should go after it with both hands and all your heart!”
Edward tosses down the phone between us and grabs my breasts in his hands.
“What the hell are you doing?”
“She said to go after what brings me the most joy with both hands!”
I push him away with one firm hand on his chest. “First of all, she was talking to me and secondly, continue!”
He picks up the phone and tries to look unfairly denied.
“Well, I just wanted to stop in and say hello and congratulations. Oh, and Happy New Year! It sounds to me like yours will be one of the happiest you've had in a while! Perhaps I will see you again in these online journals along your journey.
Take care, be safe and be happy, R.C.”
“That was sweet. I like her. Should I write back?”
“You can if you want, but you might want to wait and let things gel a bit. Here’s another one. Oh, look, you can tell already this one is from someone in the lifestyle. See how they’ve used the lower case for you…and…let’s see,” I scroll down to the end of the message. “Ah. Interesting. With the name TwinkleToes, it’s most likely a female domme. Are you ready for this? It might not be as flowery and cheery as the last one.”
“Hit me,” she says, screwing up her confidence.
I cannot resist. “Honey, you sure you want to say that to me?”
“Come on already. I’m nervous.”
“Okay, okay,” I chuckle, pulling an arm around her shoulders.
“yp, Kudos to you for being brave and putting yourself ‘out there.’ Most cannot do that so eloquently, you are clearly a writer. Hey, that’s a pretty encouraging beginning,” I note. She gives me an anxious look of exasperation so I continue.
“I'm amazed and impressed that you not only wrote about bdsm before trying it, but that you also...actually ended up being collared by an experienced Dom. I wonder: did you seek this lifestyle out, or did it seek you out? If it's the latter, consider yourself very fortunate to have a caring and knowledgeable Dom (who's also a boyfriend and willing to commit to you exclusively on both counts). You hear that, honey? Very fortunate.” I know by now she’s not going to engage my little comments, so I move on without being prodded.
“I'd like to speak to your experience of ‘sub space.’ For a new sub, it can be overwhelming. You have a Dom, who's caring and compassionate, to ease the transition, and also use the strong emotions you share to solidify your bond. (Hey, there's Dom-space, too!)”
Isabella interrupts this time. “Dom-space…is that what happened to you yesterday?”
“I suppose,” I answer. “I had some trouble letting go of the scene.”
“And you didn’t let me ease the transition for you.”
“I guess I wasn’t ready to be forgiven quite yet, until you finally got to me in the car.”
“Huh…maybe you should work on that?” Her small playful smile is enough to loosen my guard.
“It’s on the list, baby.”
“What else does she have to say?” she asks.
“I also find it funny that you refer to your non-D/s activities as ‘real life,’ and in quotes no less. I think you understand, even though you are new to the life, that the time between collaring and uncollaring is when we kinky people actually LIVE. Heh heh, ‘we kinky people.’ You’re included in that, you know?”
Epic eye roll. Moving on…
“But it's precarious, for you (and possibly even him) right now. Don't get sucked in to 24/7 too soon, toots. That is a rookie mistake that I'm sure your Master will keep you both from making.”
Isabella’s forehead creases over that one. ”Do all you doms share one brain? You’re conspiring against me!”
I have to chuckle at her petulant response. “You do realize that you just woke from a two-hour nap? And you weren’t even collared for twenty-four hours straight! She’s right, and you know it.”
“But I’m a kinky person and I want to LIVE!”
“Fuck, you are so adorable right now.”
“Just finish, please.”
“It's exciting to hear about the emotional impact of collaring from the sub's perspective. It mirrors the Dom's in a lot of ways. It doesn't sound like you've found freedom, yet, but I think you will...you seem to want it...to truly GIVE.
“Congratulations to you and your Master (and boyfriend). TwinkleToes”
“HA! That doesn’t sound very domineering.”
“Foot fetish, I’m guessing.”
“Hmmm. I like her, too. She sounds kind of wise and gentle. I think she gets me.”
“Oh, I think she gets you perfectly, but I wouldn’t be all too fooled into thinking she’s gentle. Domme, remember?”
“Yes, I know. Another wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
“Oh, you are paying attention.”
“Soooo…?” She slides over onto my lap. Happily, I’ve changed into my flannel pants and a tee shirt so I can feel every inch of her on top of every inch of me.
“Did you want to leave a comment in my inbox?” she asks, making me snort.
“There are all kinds of things I want to leave in your inbox, sweetheart,” I answer, pushing my hips up into hers.
“Come on, this is hard for me. It’s worse than getting that face-to-face review of my chapter. This is me spewing my guts all over the page.”
“Okay. C’mere.” I cup her chin and draw her toward me for a soft kiss.
He shifts to his serious look, moving his broad hands to my shoulders and circling them gently.
“What you wrote was beautiful. To admit that you had been on the outside looking in, for so long, took real guts. And it’s a real wake up call to me that we’ve only been doing this for just over a week. It feels like so much longer. You’re this rare violin that’s been sitting in a glass case behind the counter at the music store, listening with envy while the other instruments got played and loved and taken home, while you just waited. You couldn’t produce music until the right person picked up the bow and ran it over your strings in just the right way.”
“Like some kind of kinky virtuoso,” I supply.
“Well, I was just the lucky bastard that walked into the music store and found you waiting there. That’s why I’m going to want to keep a close watch on your comments…especially from other doms.”
He raises his brow in that way my father used to do when he was making sure I understood that boys were not allowed in my bedroom.
“You’re afraid I’m going to run off with another musician?” I tease.
“I don’t want to make it sound like I don’t trust you, but posting to a public blog does have its risks.”
And now I’m done teasing, because this isn’t funny to him. “Then why didn’t you just have me write privately to you?”
He caresses my cheek with his thumb, watching me closely. His jaw clenches almost imperceptibly before he explains, “That would be selfish of me. You’re a writer. And you deserve to be heard. Plus, most submissives enjoy the support network that other subs and even other doms can provide you.”
I sense that rare glint of self-doubt in his eye. “Well. I’m not the only violinist out there, Isabella.” He looks away for a moment, but his thumbs continue their rhythmic movement along my cheeks.
Finally, he’s reached some kind of decision and he turns back. “Look, baby, I’ve played other instruments in my day… fuck it, enough with the metaphor! If I’d met you way back when I was getting started, if you’d been my first sub…” He shakes his head as if horribly pained by the thought. “I’m just not sure I would’ve appreciated how rare this is. I might’ve been tempted to keep looking. Do you understand what I’m saying?”
Oh, Edward. My heart twists at his vulnerability.
“Edward…Master …Sweetie.” I wait for his eyes to alight on mine, and then I speak slowly and clearly and put the full force of my heart behind it. “I’m not the least bit tempted. But if you’d rather I didn’t write back to this one, or any other doms, I certainly understand, and I am more than happy to honor your wishes.”
“No, of course not. You should feel free to write to whomever you please. But I would ask that if you come up against anything questionable, you’ll let me know what’s going on before it gets out of hand.”
“I’m not saying this TwinkleToes is going to swoop in and lure you into a conversation that reads more like a scene, in fact, no honorable dom would encroach on another’s collared sub. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get drawn down a path that feels dangerous to you.”
“Even though I just wrote about how it felt to commit my entire being to you?” He cannot be serious.
“You have a certain innocence that shines through your writing, and believe it or not, some of the people who frequent these sites might not be able to resist your charms.”
I start to protest that I can take care of myself, but in truth, I know I’m vulnerable. He’s trying to protect me, and protect this new being that I can only name “us.”
“Just please promise me that you’ll bring me in if anything feels the least bit threatening.”
“Thank you. Now, for the other concern you shared, the letting go of sub-space. What can I do to make that easier for you?”
I press my chest against his, looping my arms behind his neck. I figure rubbing noses with him can’t hurt either. “Leave my collar on?”
“Forever?” His cheek folds into a smile against mine.
“Forever and ever.”
“And you’ll go to work that way?”
“No, I’m going to quit my job and be your sex slave.”
“What are you gonna do while I’m at work?”
“Write porn for you.”
“Hmmm. That is a lot of porn.”
“Hmmm. That is a lot of porn.”
“Well you are a highly sexualized being.”
“Oh, you noticed.” Sexy grin.
“Of course, I’ll work out and do the grocery shopping and the cooking.”
“Isabella,” he interrupts my musings. “I love being with you. Just you, my girlfriend. Though don’t get me wrong, I love ‘bossing you around’ too.”
“Yes, I’ve noticed,” I chuckle, and he joins in.
“Do you love just being with me? Not your dom, but just me?”
“Yes, of course!”
“You do realize, that would be gone, right?”
He’s still smiling, but suddenly I’m not.
“Yeah.” His eyes drop down away from mine, and when he comes back up, his face is wiped clean of the smile. “I can’t see how I could possibly give up Isabella for my princess, or vice versa. I told you from the start, I am a selfish bastard, and I want it all.”
I kinda really fucking love that he just said that.
“Damn, you’re sweet…for a sadistic monster, that is.” She covers my lips with her own, and we take our time lavishing each other with affection.
“So then,” I press on, taking a break from all the kissing, “if I can assume that you’re not too disappointed to have to settle for just me…?”
“Hmm, if I must…”
“Then maybe I need to find a better way to transition you back to your boyfriend. Maybe instead of informing you that the scene is over, I need to entice you with this guy waiting for you on the other side.”
“Entice me? Mmm, I like the sound of that.”
“I’m just thinking out loud here, but it occurs to me that you really enjoy our post-coital cuddles.”
She giggles, “You mean your post-coital smothering!”
“Yes, well,” I grin, “You can hardly blame me when your heels are digging into my kidneys.”
“Make your point, Edward,” she says in a mock scolding voice.
“I was just imagining that uncollaring you needs to involve a heavy dose of body contact and a reminder that you still belong to me. And I will happily indulge that need.”
“Well aren’t you the generous Master-slash-boyfriend?”
“Mmhmm. I am.” I nuzzle her neck with my nose, and her breath is warm at my ear.
“Damn, that was some awfully fine commentary on my first journal entry.”
I chuckle, nipping lightly at her neck. “It’s my job.”
“Mmm, but wait. Do I have to journal about the other scene, too?”
It feels a bit like someone just turned a cold hose on us. “It’s not a bad idea, babe. It was a pretty intense day.”
Her lips are still at my ear. “All that rigorous training…”
“Your three new watch words…” Things are heating up again.
“Ah yes, the new toys.”
“Mmm, hand-feeding you lunch.”
“Best grapes I ever ate in my life.”
“And that grand finale…mmmm.”
He’s stopped moving, stopped planting tiny kisses and nips along the column of my neck. Stopped breathing, for all I can tell. I pull back and look at him. “No drama, remember? Now, if you want to write about it, then go ahead.”
“Okay,” he says softly.
“Okay, what?” I answer suspiciously. “Okay, you believe me? Okay you’re writing about it? Okay you’re gonna drop it now?”
“Okay, why don’t you write about how you feel about one of the new toys?” He smiles again, and I accept that he’s dropped the unpleasant subject, in favor of a much more delightful one.
“Hmmm,” I ruminate, “Which will it be? Not the rope.”
“You loved the rope,” he says.
“I don’t remember that part. I just remember the part where it felt like I was about to be drawn and quartered.”
“Have you been watching HBO again?”
“No, I believe that imagery was courtesy of The Tudors.”
“Oh, it’s good to be the king!”
“Ha! You would know. I think it would have to be the paddle or the leash. But which one?”
“Surprise me!” he says, flipping me suddenly onto my back and planting his knee right between my legs.
His beautiful green eyes sparkle with desire above me. I wrap my ankles behind his back and pull him down onto my chest, where he crashes indelicately with a loud “Oomph!”
“How about a pre-coital smothering?” I suggest as he scrambles onto his elbows.
His devilish smirk hovering less than an inch from my mouth, he says, “I suppose you’re going to try to pin this on me as well?”
“Edward, look at us. Who’s gonna take your word over mine?”
He considers his options for a quick second before tugging my sweater up over my bra. Sliding his finger inside the cup and retrieving a breast, he clamps his teeth down on my nipple.
“Ow!” I protest, bucking him with my hips before dissolving into giggles.
“Hey, baby, if I’m going up the river, I might as well earn those prison stripes.”
“Remind me how we made it into bed again?” she asks, like a child requesting a favorite bedtime story.
“I ripped your clothes off, we fucked each other’s brains out, and I threw you over my shoulder, carried you to our bed, and tossed you down. Then I climbed in next to you, and boom, here we are.”
“Hey,” she says, turning her head to face me. “You said ‘our bed.’”
“Huh.” My eyes are on the ceiling, but I become acutely aware of our intertwined fingers, lying on the bed between us. I marvel at how the two of us have become so irrevocably interwoven in such a short span of time.
“I’m going to miss you at work tomorrow,” she says. “Will you have time for lunch?” I can feel her eyes on me.
“I doubt it.” I flop my head to her side. “We’re trying to get all the top management computers updated before Friday, so I’ll be spending some quality time with Jasper and your father tomorrow.”
“You’re not fixing mine?”
“No, Emmett’s doing your floor.”
Her smile brightens. “Rosalie wants to make sure the big shots get done right.”
“Or she wants to keep me away from you.”
“Good luck with that, Rosalie,” she says in a lilting voice. “Speaking of the evil boss, how do you think she’s going to feel about your proposal?”
“We’ll find out tomorrow.”
“What? You’ve already finished writing it up?”
“What? You’ve already finished writing it up?”
“Sure, while you were napping earlier. It just needed some polishing; it was mostly written already for another client.”
“So, how about dinner? We have to start our research on Turandot for next Thursday.”
“That’s the opera we’re seeing?”
“Yep. Giacomo Puccini. I think we should have Italian in his honor while we study.”
She turns on her side to face me. “I make a mean Caesar salad.”
“All right then. I’ve got the spaghetti and garlic bread covered.”
“Mmm, sounds like all we need is a bottle of Chianti and it’s a date.”
“Puccini and spaghetti it is.”
“Edward, this weekend was amazing. Thank you for everything.
“Good night, sweetheart. Thanks for wearing me out again. I’m gonna sleep like a baby.”
“Oh by the way? I think I may have forgotten to mention that we’re going to my parents’ for dinner next Tuesday.”