“Exhausted?” I ask the lump of girl in my lap, maintaining my tight hold around her upper body.
“Mmm,” she hums, eyes closed and face snuggled into my chest.
“Anything you want to talk about?” I’m pretty sure she’s incoherent at this point, but I don’t want to miss the opportunity to invite her to share while everything’s fresh in her mind.
I chuckle. That’s all I’m likely to get tonight, but I’m not too worried. It’s getting easier for me to read her with every passing day, and I’m fairly certain she’s good with tonight’s scene. I give her one last kiss before loosening my grip. “Okay, sweetheart. Why don’t you go slide into bed while I clean up here?”
“Oh…kay,” she yawns, uncurling from my arms and stretching out like a beautiful, leggy, brunette cat before turning around and leaving me with, “G’night, Edward.”
“I’ll be in soon,” I promise. I carry the “chair of pleasure” back to its place at the dining table, tucking the seat in with a fond farewell. Carting the remainder of the supplies to the kitchen sink, I clean everything off as quickly as I can. Truth is, I’m beat, too. Getting my girl off all those times is not all fun and games.
Okay fine, actually, it is.
But still, I can’t wait to lay my head on the pillow. It doesn’t hurt that there will be a warm body right next to me in bed, even if that body happens to be sound asleep. I move quietly across the darkened bedroom, so as not to wake Isabella. I carefully lay the pile of equipment inside the waiting basket in my closet, to be sorted out during the daylight hours. After rushing through my bathroom routine, I make my way to bed doing my best vewy, vewy quiet walk.
“I’m not asleep,” she states, startling me.
My hand flies to my pounding heart and I yell out, “Jesus!”
Bella’s giggle acts as a beacon, guiding me to the bed in the pitch black room. “You think that’s funny?” I groan, rolling on top of her once I’m under the sheets. “Giving a guy a heart attack?”
“A little.” More giggles.
“What am I gonna do with you?” I growl playfully.
“Oh honey, I think you’ve been doing it all night.”
Indeed. With a heavy, contented sigh, I flop onto my back next to her and stare up toward the ceiling. “What are you doing up anyway? I thought you’d be conked out by now.”
Her voice shifts. “My body’s pooped, but my mind’s still going a mile a minute.”
I turn my head, even though I can only see a vague outline. I guess she does want to talk, after all. “What about?”
“I’m curious about something. That choice you gave me earlier—your pleasure or mine—what would’ve happened if I’d have picked myself?”
“You wouldn’t, and I knew it.”
Pause. “But what if I had? That would’ve been the wrong answer, right?”
“Hmm, I honestly haven’t played out that scenario in my head. I suppose I would’ve teased you for a while longer with that feather until you finally exploded.”
“But…?” she prods.
“Well, frankly, I don’t see finishing myself off after that. I mean, what would’ve been the point then?”
“Oh, I don’t know. Isn’t the orgasm the point? Seriously, is this a trick question?"
“No. I’d say the orgasm is almost always beside the point. The idea was for you to watch me, knowing you’d sacrificed yourself for me, and hopefully get you even more heated up.”
“Okay then. I’d say you quite accomplished your mission.”
She’d probably want to kick me if she could see me grinning right now. “And it was an insane orgasm!”
“Yeah, looked to be,” she huffs. “So, you’re saying you wouldn’t have followed through on your own if I’d chosen myself? Even afterwards?”
“Right. That wasn’t the deal. And tell me, how would that have made you feel? To watch me tuck back into my jeans unfulfilled?”
In a hushed tone, she answers, “Awful.”
“That’s why you’d never have chosen it.”
He’s back to circular reasoning. “Don’t they call this an infinite loop in your line of business?”
Edward chuckles. “I’ll tell you what’s infinite. You choosing me to please myself because it pleases you to please me, and me being doubly pleased because you chose to please me.”
“My head just exploded. I’m gonna need a new pillowcase stat.”
He snakes his arm under my shoulders are pulls me into his side. “What else would you like to talk about?”
“Liking to talk” is oxymoronic for me, but I can’t help it that Barbara Eden’s image pops into my head. Oh, God, if Master only knew what he unleashed today with that one.
“Isabella.” Edward’s voice is suddenly low and commanding, and I hear my Master calling me out.
“Yeah?” I feign innocence. As usual, it doesn’t fly.
“Do I have to tickle it out of you?”
“Oh God, No! You wouldn’t…would you? Okay, it’s just…”
Anything you say can and will be used against you in your next scene.
His fingertip makes an experimental swipe across my belly. No way I can handle more of that tonight. “Okay, okay. Fine. I had a huge I Dream Of Jeannie thing when I was younger.”
The tickly finger presses just a little harder, enough to be pleasantly attentive without making me squirm.
“What kind of ‘thing’?” he pushes, knowing full damn well what a kinky girl with a submissive heart would make of a scantily clad Jeannie who answered her handsome, uniformed roommate with “Yes, Master” fifty times per episode. Come to think of it, how did that show get away with its prime time status and PG rating back in the day, with all the blatant sexual innuendo?
Fine, I’ll bite. If Master wants to turn this ancient fantasy of mine into a role play, I’m all for it. The kink factory is now open for business.
“For starters, the harem outfit? Yeah, that was ever helpful.”
He snickers in the dark. “Me, too, honey. I mean, she was no Princess Leia, but what Jeannie lacked in sluttiness, she certainly made up for in enthusiasm. Definitely a happy fantasy for me.”
“I’ll just bet,” I chuckle back. “And the way she was basically compelled to follow Major Nelson’s orders? Mmm, so yummy. A girl can do an awful lot with that…” and indeed this girl did. My drifting thoughts are interrupted by Edward’s low voice next to me.
“So, mind control then? Mmm, heady stuff.”
Tell me about it.
I prop myself onto my side and Edward shifts to align his body to face mine. His fingers continue their random motion over my hip, along my side, dipping into my belly. Nothing sexual, just connecting.
“And what was the deal with the Major, anyway?” I query, not waiting for him to answer before launching into my tirade. “Never taking advantage of her, never letting her please him the way she was put on this earth to do? It had to be right up there at the top of the frustration charts, second only to those damn fools on Gilligan’s Island!”
“Ha. Yeah, I would’ve thrown her down right there on the beach the day I came across that bottle!”
“And she would’ve loved it,” I respond, making out his toothy grin right in front of me. Then, because I really can’t help myself, I add, in a softer, more serious tone he can’t mistake, “Please tell me you’re inventing a scene right now.”
“Always, sweetheart.” As he moves closer and kisses me, I repeat the mantra in my head. Your wish is my command. My overworked machinery twitches astonishingly to life, but even Edward can’t make me want anything more than sleep right now. It won’t do to have gigantic purple bags under my eyes when I meet his parents tomorrow. I pull back from his sweet kisses and snuggle into his warm body with a soft hum. He wraps his arm around me tightly and kisses the top of my head.
“Sleep now. Big day tomorrow.”
“Don’t remind me.”
He catches the edge of worry in my voice and his warm breath puffs across my head when he answers me. “You nervous?”
“Does the Pope shit in the woods?”
“Um…that would be a yes?”
I carefully tip my face upward so I don’t clip his perfect chin with my head. “What girl wouldn’t be scared to meet CIA Mom and Edward-plus-twenty-five-or-so-years Dad?”
He cups my cheek tenderly and answers, “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe the girl who’s perfect for me?”
For about a week now, I’ve been half-waking to Isabella’s alarm, falling back to sleep, but finding myself fully conscious again long before my own alarm goes off. It’s not just my ever-reliable morning wood, it’s the soft tap of her fingers working the keyboard across the hall and knowing she’s hammering out her journal entry. I can’t resist the bonus window into her psyche, can’t wait to read how she’s worked things out in her head after a scene.
I lock my hands together behind my head and close my eyes. What a delicious seed Isabella’s planted. Truth be told, it’s more like fertilizer lovingly applied to the Jeannie fantasy already half-sprouted in my mental garden. The compulsion to obey, the hypnotist as the gateway drug to the Master. Make me, she who cannot bring herself to submit fully on her own will say.
Frankly, mind control takes a distant back seat to true submission in my world. I want Isabella’s mind under my control, absolutely, but not because she can’t help herself. Exactly because she can.
My stupid radio kicks on and spoils all my fun, and I drag my half-worked wood into the bathroom with the rest of me. I take extra care to fold my towel and hang up my bath mat when I’m finished. I’m neat but I’m not always meticulous when it comes to wiping off countertops and returning my grooming supplies to drawers; however, today, I give the bathroom an extra once over, including hiding the evidence of Isabella’s co-habitation in my master quarters. Mom’s not a snoop, but there’s no need to flaunt our situation and make anyone uncomfortable, especially my girlfriend. I’m always careful about my play equipment, and as I close the closet doors, I feel confident our alter egos are appropriately stowed away.
Straightening my tie, I lean into Isabella’s door frame as she’s applying her thin layer of lipstick. I have to smile when I see that her room is absolutely perfect, not a lick of clothing out of place, not a wrinkle on the bedspread, not a sign of life on the laptop. Good girl.
Turning from the mirror, she smiles anxiously. “Everything look okay?”
“Sure, sweetheart. Looks great. Just like you. Come on, let’s not keep Domenic waiting today or he might tell us more horror stories about the missus.”
She smiles and drops the lipstick into her clutch, snapping it closed. “I love his horror stories.”
“Yeah, me too,” I admit, taking her arm and leading her through the living room. I make another sweep of the area, attempting to view the room through the eyes of a mother. A mother who will, of course, be curious about her son’s new live-in girlfriend, but who—first and foremost—will want to know that she’s trained her son to clean up after himself.
Isabella catches my hesitation and joins me in surveying the room. “You didn’t leave any nipple clamps lying around, did you?” she teases.
“Actually, I was only able to find one last night when I cleaned up.”
Her eyes widen and she drops her purse on the couch. “Jesus, are you kidding me?” She drops to her knees and sticks her nose under the couch. “We have to—”
Chuckling softly, I bend down and pull her back up into my chest. “Yes, I’m kidding.”
Her eyes narrow as she whacks me on the chest. “You big jerk!”
I attempt to stop grinning, but it’s not going well. Finally, she relents and sinks into my arms, placing her cheek against my shirt.
“How is this fair?” she laments. “Why am I more nervous to meet your parents when I was already more nervous for you to meet mine?”
I rock us rhythmically, hoping to transmit my absolute confidence to her. “I understand why you’re nervous, sweetheart, but I know my parents are going to love you. And they’re pretty awesome, too, so I know you’re gonna love them. It’s all good.”
“Easy for you to say,” she mumbles petulantly into my chest.
“Come on. Let’s get you to work and take your mind off this.”
“Good luck with that,” she answers, but at least she allows me to get her out the door without further obsessing over the apartment.
“So tomorrow morning will be your final Warwick run-through, and the focus group is all set.”
Right, the focus group. I lean back into my leather chair and drag my fingers through my hair, lifting it off my warm neck. Deep breath, Bella.
Jessica looks on with concern. “You okay? Want me to get you some cold water or something?”
“Actually, that would be so great, Jessica. Would you mind?”
“’Course not. Be right back.”
I dig into my purse and seek out my phone before I even realize I’ve reached for my lifeline. Edward thought work would take my mind off his parents’ visit, and he was correct. But I’m not sure this is an improvement.
Did I happen to mention tomorrow’s focus group? Xb
You did not. What are we focusing on?
Warwick. This account is a big deal. VP’s are involved
Oh. A certain VP ex?
Got room in your group for one more? I’m flexible tmrw
Bless his sweet heart, but that’s not the answer.
Thx, but no.
Hey, you’re gonna be great. Know that?
Wanna meet in the stairwell on 18?
I can already feel my lips curling into a smile. He wants to meet me halfway. No Man’s Land. Where we’re just us—not Master and sub, not IT guy and muckety-muck, just boy and girl.
Nah, I’m good.
Grrr, wish I could help.
You already have. XX
Can’t. Last day to prep
Can u still leave at 5:30?
Of course! Your parents are coming by at 6:30, right?
Yes, but you can meet us at the restaurant instead.
Okay, that does it. Enough with the texting. I dial his number and spin my chair to face the miles of New York City my view affords me.
“You rang?” There’s already a touch of humor in his unsurprised greeting.
“Edward, are you trying to get rid of me? I am not blowing off the meet and greet!”
He chuckles into his Blackberry. “They’re gonna be here until Saturday afternoon. There’s plenty of time to get to know each other.”
“No, I’m riding home with you. We’ll make a quick change into our finery, and greet them as a united front.”
“Whatever pleases you, my dear.”
“Oh, nice. I see you’re trotting out your impression of a whipped boyfriend again. Love it!”
“Just practicing for later,” he teases, then softens. “Hey, I want to do whatever makes this go easier for you.”
“I know. Thank you for that.”
“It’s what I do.” I can totally picture his smug smile.
“Okay, I’m done with you now.”
Laughter. “Happy to have been of service.”
“You’re the best,” I answer, before clicking off.
I shoot Rosalie an email with my schedule for the next week and a half, careful to step gingerly into this new territory of almost autonomy without giving her a reason to feel insecure. She answers with a curt acknowledgment that covers both my proposed training curriculum and the meetings I have scheduled with the VPs and whoever else they want to bring into the room. Curt’s just fine; I don’t make the mistake of requiring warm and fuzzy from Rosalie.
I wheel my chair across the floor and have a look over Emmett’s shoulder. “Whadda you want?” he growls.
“Just want to see how everything’s going. Hit any stumbling blocks with the updates? Anybody kicking hard drives upstairs?”
“Nupe,” he says, not taking his eyes off his screen. “I’ve got it handled.”
I take a peek at his service request backlog and note with great delight that he does, indeed, have it handled. “Okay, then, you know where I am if you need me.”
“Yep, all the way up Charlie Swan’s ass, right where you’ve been for the last three weeks.”
I note the tightening in the cord of muscles in the back of his neck, as if he’s preparing for a blow. My burst of laughter surprises him and he turns his head to look at me, co-worker to mental hospital refugee.
I push my chair away, holding out my hands in somewhat of a peace offering. “I get it, man. I really do.” Emmett’s work load just increased significantly, but the fact that it’s clearly no more than he can handle just proves the point that the department has been grossly underutilized, and there’s nothing worse than underutilized workers, especially when they’re bright.
Emmett looks back at me suspiciously. His brain works just fine for the binary world, but I am too complicated a fucker for him to decode, and we both know it. Truth is, if he weren’t so competent at his job, I could never have been freed up to explore this new territory. As far as coworkers go, he’s all right, and whatever he’s doing after hours to keep our boss happy is certainly benefiting me as well. Honestly, I should buy the guy a dozen roses or something.
“If you get jammed up, just give a yell. Okay?” I offer instead.
“Sure,” he answers uncertainly, as if there’s a jack-in-the-box waiting to pop out at him if he’s dumb enough to trust me.
“I’m heading out to grab a sandwich. Want me to bring you back something?”
“Sure,” he repeats, ditching his suspicion in favor of having lunch delivered to his desk. “Italian sub, extra salami, double hots, two bags of chips, and a root beer?”
Phone. Wallet. Leather jacket. And finally, a moment of privacy.
Marcus emailed me back late last night, a simple message in typical Marcus form: I’m open tomorrow noon -3. Call me when you can talk. Figures, he puts it back on me. Out-domming the dom, I muse with admiration.
As soon as I hit the open air, I hold down the “M” key. Marcus. Master. Mentor. Any way you slice it, it comes up M.
His warm, sure voice makes me smile, as usual. “Hey, old man. Taking a time out between whippings?”
“Basically,” he chuckles. “So, it’s true then? I’ve finally lost my chance to woo you?”
“’Fraid so, big guy. Don’t take it personally. If not for your…”
“Big, wrinkly cock?” he supplies.
“Yeah, that. I think we might’ve been able to make a go of it,” I tease.
“Well, the cock and I are pretty much a package deal, so...”
His joke stops me dead in my tracks. “Day-um, you still got it! But seriously, I’m about to eat lunch and I really don’t want to be thinking about your package while I do.”
“Ah, wish I could say the same of yours, my boy.” His wistful tone always holds a note of truth. “So, she’s a writer, then? Captivated you with her words, did she? Or was it the ‘spectacular’ part that did it?”
“Honestly, I have to say it’s her mind first. But you won’t believe me once you meet her.”
“Damn, Edward, you have me so curious, now. In fact, I don’t know which of you I’m more jealous of—you, for getting a brand new subbie of your very own, with no bad habits to break (although we both know that can be mighty fun), or this girl, for the opportunity to train at the feet of my most gifted protégé. I cannot wait to see this for myself!”
“So you’ll join us for dinner, and I’ll put her through her paces for you?” Jesus, the very thought of it makes my cock swell.
“How does she do in public?” Ever the professional Dom.
“She trusts me. We’ve done a couple preliminary scenes that have gone well.”
“And third parties?”
“We haven’t tried it yet, and frankly, I wouldn’t risk it with anyone but you.”
“Well, I appreciate your faith in me, Edward. What do you need me to be for you? Good dom? Bad dom?”
“To be honest, I haven’t gotten that far yet. Can you follow my lead and keep things fluid? I don’t always know where her head’s going.”
I hear a soft chuckle. “Tricky business, this. Sure. Whither thou goest and all that good stuff.”
“And Marcus, I’m serious about the touching, and even addressing her directly. I have to hold this close to the vest. You okay with that?”
“Of course! Your sub, your scene; you know I totally respect that. I’m just honored to be invited in. When are we doing this thing?”
“How about a week from Saturday? The twenty-first?”
“All clear here.”
To be honest, I’m surprised it was that easy to get on his dance card. “What, no weekend subs to scare shitless?”
“Bah, I gave that up a long time ago. I keep bankers’ hours now.”
“Pfff. You, my friend, are so not a banker.”
“Speaking of taking interest and all, are you sure you won’t consider me as a mentor for your sub? After all, who knows inside your head better than I do?”
“Frankly, that’s what scares me. I don’t know that I want Isabella to have quite that much inside information.”
“Hey,” he counters, and his voice becomes more serious. “It would certainly be my privilege to ride on the inside rails of the most important relationship of your life. And you know I’d do right by her. And, of course, by you.”
His words stop me dead in my tracks. Frankly, I hadn’t really considered Marcus for the role, assuming that since he was my mentor, he couldn’t be impartial. But maybe, in the end, impartiality is not the primary qualification. “Let me think about it.”
“Fair enough,” comes his immediate reply. “So you’ll send me the details for our date?”
“Watch your inbox.”
“I’d rather watch yours,” he jokes. “Or is it only an outbox these days?”
“None of your damn business,” I shoot back, but I’m sure he can hear me grinning.
“Edward, thanks for thinking of me. I really am so happy for you, and I can’t wait to meet your girl.”
“Sure, Marcus. Looking forward to seeing you next weekend. I’ll be in touch about the other…as well.”
“Great. See you soon.”
“Bye, old man.”
Edward has an extra bounce in his step when he pushes through the stairwell fire doorway into the lobby where I’m waiting anxiously for him. I know my case of nerves will be easier to bear once we’re touching, even if it’s just the brush of his trouser leg against my knee. But as always, he gives me so much more than the bare minimum.
I’m starting to think my guy is an exhibitionist at heart, the way he basically mauls me at the edge of the marble floor. Not that I’m complaining. I can’t seem to get enough of him, either. In fact, lately, it scares me sometimes how needy I’ve become, how truly inseparable we are, how much I physically crave his presence in my life. Despite my sexual leanings, I’ve always thought of myself as a truly liberated, independent woman, and though I’m starting to gain a clearer understanding of how those two concepts can peacefully coexist in one person, I’m pretty baffled by this new overwhelming sense of wanting Edward near me all the time.
I’ve never been one to believe that chivalry cancels out feminism, but I have to admit, this is a whole new level of dependence I have never experienced before in any type of relationship. How will I manage next week when we’re apart? I’m already dreading my trip, but I don’t have enough head space to focus on that for the next two days.
Not while the Cullens are visiting. And not while this particular Cullen is pinning me against the wall with his mouth and his hips, the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed sex beast finally pulling off me and licking his shining lips. Whatever need for this man I am currently drowning in, it’s clear he’s spinning in the same whirlpool.
“Good god, you’re revved up. You always get so excited to see your mommy?”
He shakes his head. “Not my mom. I just read your journal entry. Fucking hell, Isabella. You do have a way with words.”
Cue deep blush.
His shit-eating grin gives me an enormous rush of pleasure and takes the edge off the embarrassment I’m feeling. Posting the admissions to the anonymous ether is so much easier than discussing the topic face-to-face with my ridiculously sexy boyfriend—the man who delights in pulling my strings, especially when he’s close enough for his warm breath to set fire to my skin.
He wraps an arm around my waist and propels us both to the revolving door, sending me in first. “Come on, let’s talk about it in the car,” he suggests, spying Domenic.
“I thought we had an agreement,” I protest mildly.
Undeterred, he smiles and says, “That was for the way to work, not home. Anything goes on the ride home.” He looks at me pointedly, then turns to Domenic and says, “Shields up, my man.”
As we get situated and Domenic raises the privacy glass, I bury my face in my hands and reflect upon what I posted this morning.
PAIN/Journal Entry Six
January 12, 2012
Master’s assignment: Tell me about the pain
If you’d asked me how I’d characterize my feelings toward pain just two short weeks ago when I filled out my submissive checklist, I would’ve said fear, aversion, and probably turn-off. Today, I’d more likely say I have a love-hate relationship with the kind of pain you are so skilled at inflicting, Master.
It’s not that those $%&*@~! nipple clamps feel GOOD. I know many a self-proclaimed pain slut would feel aroused by the tight, harsh pinch. Not me, Master, to the contrary. I hate the sharp sting when you tighten them around my vulnerable flesh, and even worse, the excruciating rush of blood when you remove them.
So, where’s the love, you’re asking? I’ve thought about this a lot, because frankly, it surprised me at first. I’ve worked it out now. Like everything else that arouses me in scene, it’s all about you, Master.
First, you want me to take the pain, for whatever reason. Whether to bring me maximum pleasure later on or simply because the fact that I’ll do it for you brings you so much pleasure, your need becomes my own.
Secondly, as in the case of your needing to crop me or clamp my nipples during last night’s scene in order to correct me or make a point, I receive the pain as a loving message, delivered with the firm hand I desire. (Yours, naturally.)
And key in all this, I should not fail to mention my faith in you to know how high to turn up the volume. I know you won’t dole out more than I can take, and your confidence in me gives me that extra push I sometimes need to get through.
Finally, I can love the pain because of what comes with it—or some point after. I know when those clamps come off, my Master’s hands are going to be on me, one way or another. Or that vibrator assaulting me mercilessly is going to bring the deepest, bone-chilling pleasure. And if there’s anything that might linger past the scene, I trust my Master to be there with the jar of salve or a deep massage. Mmmmm.
I have to admit, posting all this brings a fluttery feeling of nervous anticipation, while it probably leaves you with a wide, semi-evil grin, Master. I suppose it’s too late to plead the fifth on the topic? Sigh.
With deepest gratitude for you, Master,
“First off, let me just say, you are absofuckinglutely right about my grin.”
“Obviously,” I moan into my hands.
“This would be a lot more fun if you would look at me,” he coaxes.
“For you, maybe,” I pout, but finally do lower my hands and look into his animated eyes.
“Hey,” he says with a voice growing soft and warm. “I really just wanted to say thank you.”
“Oh.” Fucking hell, the guy is disarming.
“Seriously,” he starts, his face tipped down to meet my eye level, offering me no escape. “I love that you trust me to take you to all these new places.”
I drop my eyes from the burning intensity of his, and he responds by nuzzling his nose to the side of mine, gently breathing me in. When he speaks again, I can feel his lips move along my cheek. “You have …no idea …how that makes me feel.”
When our eyes meet again, I see that his are watery, and I’m completely choked up. I am crystal clear in that instant that every ounce of faith I have in this man is well-deserved.