Friday, June 1, 2012

53 BOWL OF SOUP

~Chapter 53~
BOWL OF SOUP

she
Thursday morning’s alarm disturbs one of the most restful nights of sleep I’ve had in ages. I can’t remember details, but from the general sense of well-being buzzing through me, I’d guess I was visiting Edward’s Isle. I ride on my little wave of bliss over to my room. It doesn’t escape my notice that even with all my worldly belongings freshly stored away, the room feels less like “my room” than ever before.

I take a quick peek at my inbox, so happy Edward set up a second account for my writing so I can easily discern which is which. I’m excited to see KK’s already responded, expecting she’ll provide the usual pearls of wisdom lovingly couched in humor. She doesn’t disappoint:

Confused little p -
I think you're on the right (if not convoluted) track.  You've gotten the “giving” down to a science.  But perhaps you just need to see the “taking” as just another way to give. I’ve come to look forward to your postings, as it “gives” me a chance to “take” your confusion and enlightenment and see how my own relationships measure up.  I once again thank you for sharing, kk

Okay, here we are again, going around in circles. At any rate, I feel the kinship in her response.

KK- Confused I am, logic and reasoning never having been my best subjects. Given Master’s abilities with computer programming, I’d guess he’s pretty astute at such topics. I do think I understand your point, and not to belabor the topic, but I think just by virtue of the fact that taking is so much harder for me, it may be more of a gift to Master. Anyway, I hope my post has helped you see something in a new light for yourself, hopefully one that is productive! Thanks for being here with me. ~p

I click open the next message, expecting to see one of the few names I recognize. But this is a new writer. I eagerly click open the comment:

little princess-
You are a dirty girl and I will make you beg to serve me.  Leashes and nipple clamps are just the beginning, I have those and more. I have years of experience with submissives like you and I know what you need. Write me back with your contact info and I will handle everything. Don’t keep your NEXT Master waiting. Sir Derek

Gone are the afterglow of my perfect lovemaking with Edward last night and the serenity of our deserted island. Gone is the comforting presence of my online supporters. I feel dirtied by this stranger’s response to my very intimate words, and I close out of my journal as if clicking the ‘x’ can expunge the words from my memory.

The hot spray of the shower tries to soothe me. As I work the shampoo through my hair, I fight against becoming overly dramatic because of one creepy reader. I knew there was a chance I’d garner a creep or two along the way. After all, what does this guy have to lose by anonymously making the lewd offer? Obviously self-respect is not high on his list of personality traits. Am I going to let one person force me into seclusion and silence the voices I do want to hear?

I know I’ll have to show this to Edward, and he is not going to be happy. I run through some practice conversations in my head. I haven’t really seen Edward angry since he stood up for me with Jas last week, and even then, I know he was holding back.

I twist a hand towel around my hair and a bath sheet across my chest. Padding into the bedroom, pondering all the new clothing choices I now have, I’m halfway to the closet when I notice a very strange sight.

Edward is in my room. He has been exceedingly respectful of my privacy, and not once has he entered uninvited. Yet, there he is at my computer, his back to the room, straight out of bed. Wild hair, unshaven face, and if pressed to guess, I’d say he hasn’t even brushed his teeth this morning. Yet here he sits, naked as a jay bird, tapping away on my laptop.

“Edward?” My voice startles him. He turns around, classic kid-caught-with-his-hand-in-the-cookie-jar horror written all over his face. “What are you doing?”


HE
“I’m sorry…I shouldn’t have come in without permission.”

“Okay, but what are you doing in here?”

Fuck. I pull my hands away from the keyboard. It’s no use now. I’m already busted. I stand and turn to face my accuser. “There was a post to your account during the night that was…” I grit my teeth, “…inappropriate. I was trying to spare you.”

“You saw that?” She looks horrified but not surprised.

“Wait, you saw it?” Of course, she would’ve checked before she got in the shower.

She shrugs and her face falls. I open my arms and she walks right into them. “I’m sorry, sweetheart. I wish I’d gotten to it first. That guy is an asshole.”

“I know. I’m all right.” She pulls back and puts a brave little smile on so I’ll believe her. It’s convincing enough, and I know she’s not one to infuse drama where it doesn’t belong.  I’ll leave it alone unless and until there’s evidence I shouldn’t.

“Hey, you were going to tell me, right?” I quiz her.

“Of course, I was…but it seems you’ve already got it covered.” Now she quirks a suspicious brow. “You get alerts when I get comments?”

“Yeah. I’ve got it set up that way. I follow you and all your comments. Anyone can do that. It’s not some fancy IT thing.”

At first, she seems relieved that I haven’t done anything especially stalkerish. But a moment later, the reality dawns on her. “So this guy might be following me, too?”

“He was.” I might have admitted that a little bit too quickly.

“What did you do, Edward?” Her eyes narrow slightly. One hand pinches her towel at the top and the other finds her hip.

“I had a word with Sir Dipshit, Master to Master.” A smile creeps across my lips remembering some of my choice words. “Anyway, he’s not on your list of followers any more. So at least, for now, he’s gone away.”

She looks at me with those big brown eyes that seem to say, “My hero.” Or maybe that’s just what I want them to say. “Thank you,” she actually says.

“You’re welcome, but don’t be fooled. He could easily come back later with a new user name. Just be careful, okay?”

She takes a shallow breath and blows it out with a nod. “Yeah.”

“Okay, I should probably…”

“What, not going to work like that today, baby?” It seems I’m forgiven.

“Nah, those days are over,” I tease.

She pulls the towel from her hair so fast I barely see it before it snaps against my ass. We don’t have time for me to pounce on her, so I get my butt out of range before she can do it again.


she
“Have an important appointment today?”

“No, why?”

“You’re wearing your sport coat.” I hadn’t noticed until he pulled on his overcoat instead of his black leather jacket.

“Oh. This is for later.”

“Ohhhhh.” I’m sure my cheeks have now turned bright pink just from thinking about our scene later. I have absolutely no idea what we’re doing, other than the fact that Master will be wearing a jacket.

“How are your preparations for your trip going?”

“Fine. We have a team meeting at three today.”

“Oh. So lunch is out of the question then?”

“I could grab something quick with you…Hale and Hearty?”

“Good. Yes, let’s do that.”

“Edward, is there something you’re not telling me?”

“No,” he answers quickly. “It’s just that we haven’t really talked since we got back from Montauk.”

“What?” The word trails out on a burst of laughter. “We’ve been together practically every second since we came home!”

“Yes, but with Turandot, our scene, and …well, last night…” Incredibly, he actually looks a bit shy as he trails off. “I feel like we have a lot to talk about. My little chat with your dad—”

“And Jasper,” I add.

“Yes, that. And the stuff with Rosalie.”

I nod along, realizing how much actually has transpired in such a short time.

“And then of course, there’s that conversation you’ve banned from our morning rides.”

His eyebrows wave suggestively, no doubt to distract me from the icky encounter earlier with ‘Sir Dipshit’.

 “Sounds like it’s going to be one hell of a bowl of soup.”

“Hot and steamy, baby. Just like you.”

I roll my eyes at my goofy sweet boyfriend-Master combo platter. “We’re here.”

Leaving him in the lobby isn’t so hard today knowing we have a lunch date planned. Jessica leaves me largely interrupted to work on my presentation, stopping in only to have me sign my change of address card.

I know it’s not wise to check my phone when I hear the alert of an incoming message. If it’s more trouble from him, I’ll wish I’d waited for Edward. But you know what they say about curiosity killing the princess, or something. Glancing furtively around my office, I luxuriate in the private tingle that precedes my naughtiness. Damn this website for not divulging the source of the comment; every alert is identical, and it’s not until I open the comment that I can breathe a sigh of relief. It’s Less Than Vanilla.

Safe.

I settle into the message.

p- After cogitating for half an hour, I have decided it's a trick question. Giving and taking can be debated from both sides. From your arguments, it reads like you find giving harder, because you are denied giving what YOU want to give. Taking IS easier, because this is what it's all about. Your Master is giving not only what pleases him, but what you need. But either way, there's only one way to get to Carnegie Hall - practice, practice, practice! LTV

After the arduous process of logging in on my tiny screen is complete, I respond:

LTV- A trick question, indeed. Major conundrum. Requiring, as you suggest, much practice. Thank you for cogitating on my behalf. x p

The remainder of the morning passes quickly and I’m pleased at my productivity level. I easily pick out Edward’s coat from the sea of similar black wool garments outside the elevators.  Or perhaps it’s that I feel his eyes light up when he catches sight of me at the rear of the elevator car the moment the doors open.

It’s just lunch. Just soup, for Chrissakes, but when he opens the flap of his overcoat and I tuck myself inside, I am right back on that little island of ours. I snake my arm around his lean waist and he encloses me in the cocoon of his body and his coat. I draw in a long, happy contented breath.

“Ready?” His breath riffles my hair as it passes over.

“Sure,” I giggle. “We’re gonna walk like this? Like we’re in a three-legged race?”

“Sure. It’s like heeling, only on your feet!”

I pinch where his love handle would be if he had an ounce of spare body fat.

“Hey, I’m heeling, too, you know!” he protests with a good-natured chuckle, guiding me carefully through the revolving doors.

HE
Predictably, there’s a long wait and we settle into line, keeping an eye out for a table to open up.

“So…you and Charlie?” One side of Bella’s mouth lifts into an amused grin.

“We had a nice little chat about Montauk.”

She crosses her arms. “Really!”

“Yes. And I lectured him on his sloppy computer maintenance. And then I remembered who the hell I was speaking to and I shut the hell up!”

She giggles. “Did you dig yourself any other holes with Daddy dearest?”

I rub my hand along my chin. “No. I was a good boy. He likes me.”

Her eyes lift. “And you know this…how?”

I play my trump card. “He advised me to bring your mother chocolates.”

“Wow,” Isabella seems sufficiently impressed. “So no Big Bad Daddy routine to scare you off?”

“No.” Not out loud, at least. “That came from Jasper.”

“Oh boy, I’m sure that went over well.”

I nod slightly, remembering how hard it was for the poor guy to voice his concerns. “Hey, look, those people are getting up. What are you having?”

She answers, “Creamy tomato soup with a half tuna on sourdough, but it’s my turn to pay.” She adds a slight frown at the end for effect.

I give her pout a little kiss and add, “Don’t worry, princess, you’re buying dinner.” She doesn’t know quite what to make of that. For the next ten minutes while I wait in line, she watches me, chin in hand, thoughtful expression on her face.

What are you working out, baby?

Delicately transferring hot liquids and ungainly bottles on a mall-eatery-orange plastic tray, I slide my chair around the small table so we’re shoulder to shoulder. Great soup, but the atmosphere is shit in here.

“How’s your smoked turkey corn chowder?” she asks, blowing waves across a spoonful of red velvet.

“Pretty much the same as always.”

She blows and sips, spooning in about half of her soup before taking the sandwich. I usually can read her pretty well, and it’s driving me a little nuts that I can’t divine her thoughts.

“Isabella?”

“Hmm?”

“What’s going on in that head of yours?”

Smiling around her mouthful of tuna sandwich, she turns to me and answers, “I’m just getting used to the idea of being in love with you.”

SHAZAM! I’m sucker-punched to the wooden slat across the back of the chair, grateful not to have been mid-route to my mouth with any boiling liquids.

Don’t ask me why I’m bowled over by that particular line of words spoken at this exact moment in the most nonchalant tone imaginable. She’s observing me again, lips quirked into a knowing smirk, delicately masticating her meal.

“Gotta problem with that?” she challenges.

“Nope. I am Jim Dandy with that!”

 “So, you were saying, about Jas?”

she
Edward recovers nicely. It’s good for him to be knocked off balance every once in a while. Besides, I can’t stop looking at him today. And why should I? He’s mine. Every gorgeous inch of him. But it’s not just the beautiful casing on the outside that makes me desperate to be in his company. He’s such a disarming combination of boyish simplicity and insightful man, served up with a mischievous sense of humor and voracious sexual appetite. Well, every kind of appetite, actually.

And as I get to know the inside of Edward, I’m finding at every turn that he’s a good, good man.

He doesn’t view life as a zero-sum game, where every gain has to be balanced by a loss somewhere else. He’s compassionate and patient. He’s fun-loving. He takes chances, and he doesn’t sit around what-if’ing afterwards.

And as much as he teases about being a pleaser, I can easily see that he does possess a longing to have the approval of people he cares about. His parents. My parents. Me. His co-workers and his friends.

“Jasper was very concerned about your well-being. Wanted to make sure I wasn’t hurting you. Physically, that is.”

“Oh. That sounds like Jas. What on earth did you tell him?”

“Well, knowing what you’d already shared, I just let him know that I would never hurt you, and that we’re not playing at this.”

I feel the smile cross my face. “Those two concepts seem at odds with each other.”

Edward nods in understanding. “You know what I mean, though, so you know they make absolute sense together. And I really wanted to give Jasper the peace of mind that goes with understanding that, too.”

“So how did you explain it?” I’m more curious than concerned, given my trust in Edward.

“Basically, I told him I know what I’m doing. In essence, that I’m not some Sir…Dork looking to prey on vulnerable girls who believe their fantasy is to be beaten and humiliated until some guy actually does it to them in the worst possible way.”

“And how did he take that?”

“He was stoic. He asked a couple questions.”

“Poor Jas. About what?”

Edward looks up a bit sheepishly, as if he really doesn’t want to tell me. “Toys.”

I drop my face into my hands, trying to blot out the image of Jasper’s innocent face superimposed with Edward paddling me, gagging me, tightening those nipple clamps…oh god, the leash!

Edward chuckles. “He pretty much had the same reaction.”

I bravely peek out above the tips of my fingers. “How did you end things?”

Edward answers, “He told me he doesn’t like me.” He smiles even broader and adds, “Yet.”

“Amazing, right? I mean, seriously, have you ever met a guy that gentle and sweet and almost biologically incapable of anger?”

There’s a brief flash of something in Edward’s eyes, an evasive tic. I don’t need to say anything. We’re sitting close enough that I can just bump his arm with mine.

HE
If I say it, I can’t unsay it.

I scrape my plastic spoon unconvincingly around the bottom of the cardboard container, as if my life depends on capturing that last scrap of corn.

“Edward?” she prompts quietly.

Resigned to sharing the unwelcome thoughts, I set down my diversion and fold my hands in my lap. “Yeah, I’ve met a couple guys like him over the years. On line, I mean.”

Her face registers understanding after a brief bout of confusion. “Ohhh. Wait, I thought you didn’t…dom…guys.”

“I don’t. I didn’t. But that doesn’t stop people from making requests.” I contain my smug smirk and settle for an eye roll. “As you found out earlier today, people tend to say what they want to say when they feel they’re anonymous.”

“Wow. Yeah,” she processes, then turns the conversation back to Jasper. “So…you think…he’s really…?”

“I couldn’t say for sure.”

“You suspect.”

“Yes, Isabella. I strongly suspect. As much as he would love to hate me, I have to say…”

Oh Christ, am I really saying this?

“I got the strong sense he would’ve happily rolled right over onto his back, thrown four paws in the air, and begged me to scratch his belly.”

Her jaw drops and her eyebrows spike toward the ceiling. “Jasper’s not gay!” she protests.

I shrug. “I wouldn’t say it was exactly sexual. It’s more about power. He’s in a confusing place right now, and he’s just trying to work it all out. Meanwhile, I’m standing right in front of him, and in his mind’s eye, I’ve got a whip in my hands, dressed in…oh let’s see, black leather pants with a crotch flap…”

“Yeah,” she teases, “where are those pants anyway?”

“At the very top of the list of items you will never see me wear, along with tighty whities and sock garters!”

“Bwahahaha!” She shakes her head for a few seconds then says, “Well, I sure hope Alice can help him figure things out. And give him what he needs.”

“My guess is she can.”

“Good.” She covers my hands with one of hers on top of my knees. “Because I’m not sharing you with my ex-boyfriend.”

I let out a mighty guffaw and grab the tray. “We better get you back to work.”

“Sadly, yes.” We both pull on our coats and I steer her through the maze of tables as another couple swoops down on ours.

Pushing out into the cold, Isabella turns to me and asks, “And would Rose like you to rub her belly as well? I mean, is there anyone in the company you haven’t enchanted?”

I laugh loudly in the cold air, watching great puffs of white smoke billow from my mouth. “I would hardly call it enchantment with Jasper—more like morbid fascination—and no, Rosalie is an alpha dog. She’s most definitely sniffing my ass, but she’s not rolling over.”

“Golly, you’re colorful. So how does that all play out in your little bunker downstairs?”

“Very carefully. There’s only one way this works, and that’s drawing a line down the middle of the room and agreeing that neither will cross it.”

“She gets her title and you get your project.”

“Exactly.”

“But she’s your boss.”

“Yes, I’m aware.”

“So doesn’t that throw the lines off a bit?” She’s got a small smile going and she’s baiting me a bit.

“It’s about respect, Isabella. She and I both know I can program circles around her any day of the week.”

She stops dead in her tracks and stares me down. “You passed up that promotion, didn’t you?”

I shrug. “Let’s just say I made it clear that I wasn’t interested in the position.”

“Even though you have to work for someone else who’s less qualified?”

“I wouldn’t say Rose is less qualified for the position. In many ways, she’s way better for it. She’s an administrator, and I’m more of a…cowboy. Now that we both know where we stand, I’m free to roam the range, lasso up some prize cattle…” Now there’s an image that makes me smile ear to ear.

“Did you just call me a cow, Edward Cullen?”

I lean in for a kiss, cupping her chin in my hand. “If the moo fits, Miss Swan.”


she
I groan loudly through his kiss, but his pun is just like his off-key singing; it’s just so awful, it’s good. We continue along, hands intertwined and swinging between us.

“While we’re on interesting topics, does my Master have any feedback on my latest journal entry?”

“Sure,” he smiles. “You made a comment about giving up thinking. That it was a big challenge for you.”

“Right.”

He smiles and tweaks my hand in his, a lighthearted warning maybe. “It’s actually a lot easier when you’re leashed and crated. You’re already halfway there…to that place where you’re not expected to think.”

Gulp. Like way down deep inside. I must have a fairly horrified expression on my face, because Edward rubs his thumb across my knuckles and says, “Relax, princess. All in good time.”

A shiver runs through me.

“Oh, and to answer your question, yes. I very much want you to want. Constantly, desperately, vehemently. With every molecule of your being. Does that cover it?”

I mean to answer yes, or perhaps something cleverer—such as, “I don’t expect that will be a problem as long as we’re both breathing”—but attempting words is folly. Hell, I can’t even remember how to make my head go up and down.

Arriving back at our building, Edward pulls me close to his body. “While we’re on the topic of what Master wants, can you be downstairs by 6?”

“Sure.”

“Great, I’ll be waiting for you in our usual spot.”

He tugs me into the revolving door with him, pressing his front to my back. Exiting into the heated lobby, he deposits me in front of the elevator doors and gallantly pushes the up button. “Good luck with your meeting.”

“Thanks for lunch,” I answer from my foggy, floaty Edward place.


“My pleasure, Isabella,” he winks, then slinks away into the stairwell. 

4 comments:

  1. This man cannot get any more perfect!!! He is my favorite of any wards yet!!!

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  2. I'm back. Yesterday was a mess of contractors, painters, and getting ready for an appraisal. RL needs to come first sometimes, dammit! Anyway, on this give and take thing.....I get what she's saying. Giving must come naturally for a sub, but taking, not so much. The point made that by her taking from Master, she is really giving him what he wants rings true. I can see that. That creepy dom, sir dipshit, scares me. or the idea of him does. a friend, recently into this life, told me of a meeting she had with a "dom" who told her she needed to have sin whipped out of her and he was the one to do it, long story short. and wanted to meet her in church. needless to say, she ran the other way! This just stresses to me that on needs to take great care when starting out here....What is Edward not saying that he can't unsay....?? I won't be on much today, or this weekend, as house cleaning is a priority now, ugh. But I can't help but try to sneak a chapter or 4 in when I can....

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