Friday, June 1, 2012


~Chapter 56~

“Good Lord, woman! What are you making in here that smells so damn good?”

It only takes Edward one glance at the kitchen counter to see that I’m elbow deep in ricotta cheese filling. He smiles widely and leans over the counter. “Can I help?”

“Yes. Go put a shirt on. I can’t concentrate if you’re gonna walk around in just your jeans.” I let my gaze drop to his zipper and attempt a disgusted air, “Are you wearing anything at all under those?”

“Unh-uh,” he says, grinning devilishly.


“I was just being efficient. I knew I was gonna find you, wherever you had escaped to, and drag you back to bed. So why waste time pulling on underwear you’re just gonna take off?”

“Drag me? I think you forgot your club in the bedroom, Tarzan.”

“Oh no, sweetheart, I can assure you I’ve got my club right here with me.”

Jeeezus,” I repeat, fresh out of intelligent responses.

He slips behind the counter with me, moves aside my ponytail, and drops a kiss on my neck. “How can I make this go faster so I can have you back in our warm bed?”

Unghhh. Or should I say, Mama Mia?

“Okay, fine,” I concede, handing him the mixing bowl with the cheese filling. “Your job is to spread this along the noodles after I lay them in the pan. Capiche?”


He sets to work earnestly, though his work is slightly less than Cordon Bleu-worthy. “How’s that?” he asks after the first layer is cheesed. I regard the large clumps and even larger bald spots, then look back into his hopeful eyes.

“It’s perfect,” I declare, drizzling marinara sauce over everything and laying in the next set of curly-edged pasta.

After two more layers, we’re done. I cover the pan with foil and make room in the refrigerator. “What’s next?” Edward asks helpfully.

Salad, garlic bread, and one massive cleanup.

I regard the beautiful, bare-chested man standing next to me. It doesn’t take a genius to figure the correct answer to his question. “Bed.”

His eyes light up, and before I know what’s hit me, I’m upside-down over his shoulder and we’re on our way to the bedroom.

The ironing board screeches hideously as I force open the underutilized legs. Isabella cringes and looks up over her laptop from her perch on our bed.

“Yikes! I think that thing needs some oil.”

“Yeah, well I’m fresh out of WD-40.”

She smirks and says, “Don’t all you guys have tubes of lube hanging around?”

“All us guys?” I repeat, highly amused.

She sets her laptop aside to watch me arrange my white dress shirt along the tip of the board.

“Want some help with that?”

“Why, Isabella. That is so gender-biased of you.”

She shrugs. “I’m really good at ironing.”

“Hmmm, did you post your chapter yet?”


“Then, no, thanks. You do your work, I’ll do mine.”

“My work?” she snorts. “What are you doing that for anyway? Are we going out to dinner again?”

I glide the hot iron over the front of the shirt, careful to keep it moving and not get too distracted by our conversation. “Nope. I have a meeting with the suits on Tuesday. Rosalie asked me to clean up my act.”

“Hmmm, nice. What color suit are you wearing?”

“I figured I’d go with blue. Powerful, yet collegial. You know, just one of the boys?”

“Hell, Edward, I don’t know which boys you think you’re one of.”

I set down the iron and rearrange the shirt. “I have to try and dispel the myth about IT guys being all nerdy and unapproachable. That’s why I’m being trotted out upstairs. They already like my proposal on paper.”

I press out the back in smooth strokes, adding a burst of steam with my thumb.

“Just make sure to go with your least intimidating tie. What do you have?”

“A little of everything I’ve collected over the years,” I answer, tipping my chin toward the closet.

She hops off the bed and moves gracefully to my tie rack, spinning the wheel thoughtfully. I stretch the right sleeve along the length of the board and carefully swipe the tip of the iron along, trying not to create more wrinkles on the layer below than I’m ironing out on top. I’ve got one eye on Isabella as she pulls down a handful of ties.

Not a moment too soon, the second sleeve is finished and I set the hot iron aside.

“Come over here,” she beckons, standing in front of the mirror over the bureau. I step into place and Isabella moves behind me. One at a time, she holds each of the ties she’s chosen up against my cheek and announces her verdict from over my shoulder.

“Nope, you look too strong in that…Too corporate…Looks like you’re trying too hard…And…perfect!”

“So, this green one with the little blue thingies is your final answer?”

“Yes. It says competent but not cocky, powerful but not overbearing, friendly but not pushover.”

“Wow! That is a lot of words for a silly scrap of silk.”

“Oh yeah? You wouldn’t believe what this one whispered in my ear.” Isabella brushes my black velvet bowtie up against my cheek and makes googly eyes at me in the mirror.

My eyes narrow at her reflection. “I don’t think you want to get me started again right now. Didn’t you say something about baking cookies?”

 “Edward Cullen, did you just choose chocolate chip cookies over sex?” My eyes don’t leave his in the mirror while I whisper directly into his ear and tickle his cheek with the soft velvet.

“Let’s put it this way,” he says, fighting to resist my considerable charms. “I’m passing up round two with the full knowledge that you are going to be mine to do with exactly as I please starting at about 8 pm and on through tomorrow. In the meantime, I would really love some freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies and I know Riley would also greatly appreciate your efforts.”

His little speech concluded, our reflections stare back at us—his at me, mine at him. I don’t move until I see his real gaze slide toward mine and feel his hand cup my cheek. “Don’t forget to post your chapter.”

He kisses me and holds my stunned face. “Thanks for the help, babe. Here, I’ll take those.”

I hand him all the ties and put the finishing touches on my chapter. Taking a deep breath, I submit. Once on line, I can’t resist the chance to check my comments. I promise myself I’ll just read a couple and then get the cookies going. Kitkat is first, and she doesn’t disappoint.

princess- I wonder what your fellow diners thought. Could they see your concentration? Did your devastation when you failed play across your face?  Were they able to see your elation when you bent to your Master's will without a second thought? I'm sure you'll end up finding ways to earn a punishment once things become dull...and how much fun will that be?  kitkat 

I respond:

KK-Thx for your support. I can’t say I have one clue what anyone else in the restaurant saw! I can only hope Master saw that elation (and I believe he’d say he could). Master has assured me things will never become dull. So please…don’t go anywhere! x p

Ahh, TwinkleToes! I read her advice with great interest.

yp, Public scenes are intense—and not just for you. The Dom/me has to manage simultaneous factors, including your headspace and responses. I think you realized this: that it's a lot of work for the Dom/me mentally, and you do your Master no favors by second-guessing anything he commands in-scene. 

Do not forget this: Your job is to respond, intelligently at times, yes, but always "respond," not "analyze and respond." Those moments of self-doubt, worry and (probably) mild panic, are a barrier. They keep you from pleasing your Master and enjoying his gift to you.

And of course he will raise the bar. Silly sub. A year from now, things that make you balk and that you can hardly consider doing, you will beg for shamelessly and probably loudly (unless you are gagged). And that waitress looking at you as though you are a "mouse" will make you wet and smirking. You'll look back at this and think: how could I have ever doubted him? And then you'll doubt him on a new thing, screw up, he'll punish you thoroughly (if he's any good), and all will be well, again. -TwinkleToes

TwinkleToes, Yes, I can see where Master has so much more to deal with in a scene than I do. Sometimes, it’s actually hard for me to comprehend why someone would find that a turn-on, with the level of vigilance required. That said, I do believe my Master enjoyed himself during dinner and later. I appreciate your reframing things as enjoying Master’s gift to me. That perspective is helpful, especially as I suspect Master’s next “gifts” might be a couple of things I might not normally regard as such, if you get my drift. I’ll do my best to save the analysis for afterwards, when we process together. Well, TwinkleToes, Master has officially confirmed he will raise the bar often and aggressively, so looks like I’m in for more challenges (and I can assure you he’s quite good). I’ll continue to work on those doubts, and in the meantime, thank you so much, again, for your wise and compassionate yet somehow always titillating advice. x p

“Gee thanks, Rile. You didn’t have to bring me flowers.” I relieve Riley of the mixed bouquet and hold it out of the way while I crush him with a man hug.

“I didn’t,” he answers, pushing me gruffly away. “Those are for Bella.”

“Thanks, Riley,” Isabella says sweetly. “We’re so happy you guys could join us.”

Riley pulls her in for a warm hug while I greet Sean and then there’s the awkward shuffling as everyone switches places.

“Well, I should pop these into a vase,” she says, taking the flowers and heading toward the kitchen cabinets. “Edward,” she calls over, “do we have a vase?”

“All the way over to the right, top shelf,” I answer.

Riley smirks and mouths “we” and I punch him lovingly in the gut.

“Hey!” Sean says protectively, stepping between us. “Go easy, man. I need him in one piece.”

Riley and I just stand and grin at each other until I finally decide to play host. “Come on and sit down. You guys want a beer?”

“Sure,” Riley answers for both, and I turn toward the kitchen.

“I got it,” Bella announces, fluffing the flowers in the glass vase she located. “You want one, too, Edward?”

“That would be great, thanks, Bella.”

She turns and eyes me briefly at the unfamiliar use of the name she uses with the rest of the world, then appears to remember our post-Monday-night-football conversation, and a small smile appears on her lips. Bella brings four beers over and takes the available seat on the end of the couch next to Sean, leaving me wishing I’d invested in the matching love seat. As she folds a leg under her and turns to the guys, I resolve to not be a sourpuss just because we’re not sitting next to each other right this moment.

“Dinner smells great, Bella,” Sean says.

She grins in my direction. “Edward helped with the lasagna.”

“Thanks for outing me, baby,” I say sullenly, raising my bottle in mock salute to my girlfriend.

“No shit?” Riley adds with a matching grin.

“I believe I’ve cooked for you before, Biers,” I respond somewhat crossly.

“Yes, Cullen. And it was by far the best Kraft macaroni and cheese I’ve ever eaten,” he finishes with a self-satisfied smirk.

Sean rolls his eyes. “God, you two are like an old married couple.”

Isabella giggles loudly, and her mirth snaps me right out of my petulance.

“So,” she asks, her eyes bouncing between me and our guests, “do you all have a big bet on today’s game?”

“Not me,” I answer, then notice the odd looks passing between the two of them. Sean becomes suddenly focused on the label of his beer bottle, and I catch the reddening of his neck where it disappears into his dark hair. This is far too delicious to leave unearthed.

“Sean? Got a wager?” I prod indelicately.

Rather than intercede, Riley relaxes back into the cushions, thoroughly at ease despite his boyfriend’s obvious distress. Sean’s eyes shift to Riley, who simply shrugs his shoulders. Isabella looks over at me, fully aware of what’s going on. Sure, I may have told Riley about our little football bet, in broad brush strokes, that is. Now she reddens adorably as well.

“Uh…yeah,” Sean says tentatively, unable to quite meet anyone’s eyes. “I’ve got the Bengals.”

Riley is sitting there with a huge knowing grin on his face, the smug fucker.

“Bella, this garlic bread is delicious,” Riley says.

“Mmm, yes. Is that parmesan cheese on top?” Sean asks. “It’s amazing!”

Edward smiles over at me and I feel an enormous surge of pride. In my cooking. Weird.

“Yes, it’s one of the few family recipes my mother managed to transmit to me, fully against my will, I might add.”

“That explains why Edward’s getting paunchy all of a sudden,” Riley teases.

“That’ll be the day,” I chuckle, but not before Edward shoots him an amused smirk and mumbles, “Jealous,” under his breath.

“So who’s the cook in your …um…” Shit.

“I am,” answers Sean accommodatingly, before I dig myself further into the hole. I’m ever appreciative for their ease around me, despite my occasional inability to trust myself.

Sean clarifies, “I mean, if you consider setting out two bowls of Corn Flakes with Froot Loops cooking.”

I shake my head knowingly. “Only if you add milk. Otherwise, it’s just pouring.”

“Oh yeah,” chimes in Riley proudly, “he even served me some banana with it last night.”

Edward loses it first, with an indelicate snort he tries unsuccessfully to cover up with his napkin.  But the second Riley catches Edward’s teary eyes, he starts laughing uncontrollably. Even though Sean is mortified, I can’t control my own response, with the other two dissolved into mute shoulder shaking and table pounding.

Finally, Sean joins us in the laughter at his own expense. Riley pulls Sean’s chair right next to his and wraps his arm around Sean’s shoulders. Placing his lips near Sean’s’ ear, he murmurs something that we’re not privy to, and follows it up by nibbling on his earlobe. Sean appears to be pacified.

Edward smiles over at me happily and tucks into his lasagna. Yes, this double date is going far better than the train wreck with Garrett.

“Oh!” Riley yells, standing suddenly, fully focused on the TV screen. “Look at that lollipop Dalton just tossed on fourth down…oh…OH…INTERCEPTION!”

Edward jumps up and high-fives Riley. Sean deflates into the slats at the back of his chair.

Riley rounds behind Sean and shakes his shoulders gleefully. “That’s it, Shawnee!”

Edward’s eyes flash toward me, and suddenly the jeans and tee shirt I’m wearing fall away and I’m right back there in that scant apron I wore as Master’s dinner slave. I can’t help but imagine what Riley has planned for poor Sean.

Poor Sean? Who am I kidding? That was one of the best nights of my life!

I feel as if I’m invading their privacy by trying to get a read on Sean’s emotions. Then again, Riley’s not exactly hiding, his lips buried in Sean’s neck and his arms draped all over his boyfriend’s chest like an overly affectionate pashmina. One thing’s for sure—Riley is having a great time.

Edward grins over at me, and though he’s a good two feet away, I feel his touch along every inch of my skin as if he were lying on top of me full-on with no clothes between us. Jesus! What the man can do to me without lifting a finger!

Riley finally lifts off Sean’s shoulders, plants one last kiss on the top of his head, and returns to his seat. Sean pinches his closed eyes with one hand and pushes the hair back off his forehead, blinking up at the ceiling and muttering, “Shit.”

Edward shakes his head at his best friend, and in that one moment, I imagine all the secrets the two of them share.

“Pass the wine, Bella?” Sean’s request snaps me out of my musings. Poor Sean looks slightly less than enthused to do the serving. I give Sean my best supportive shrug and empty the remains of the Beaujolais into his glass.

 “Aw, Shawnee, don’t look so sad. We’re gonna have a blast,” Riley promises.

Well, you are, my friend. Not so sure about your anxious partner. I might have to take Riley aside before they leave and make sure he’s thinking carefully about introducing this kind of play into their relationship. Perhaps I’ve shared one too many stories in my past, but I’m me and they’re them and I wouldn’t want to be responsible for—

“Bella, has Edward had a chance to tell you about the Indy 500?”

I narrow my eyes at Riley in warning, but he’s on cloud nine right now, and there’s no way one measly hairy eyeball from me is going to knock him off.

“No,” Isabella answers, shifting her eyes over to mine with curiosity. “What about it?”

Riley chuckles and answers, “It’s the only time I can remember Edward ever losing a bet.”

“Really?” Isabella smiles and shifts in her seat next to me. “How interesting.”

“Not really,” I mumble feebly, accepting the fact that it’s already too late to slow this runaway train. Isabella’s interest is piqued, and even if I could somehow shut Riley the fuck up, I’d just have to tell her about it later. “It was a long time ago,” I qualify.

“April of 2008,” Riley supplies, grinning madly. “Edward just couldn’t accept the fact that a woman could win the race.”

Sean sits a bit taller in his chair, relieved to have someone else in the hot seat.

I shrug. “It was Japan,” I explain, as if that somehow eradicates my stubbornness or detracts from the win.

Riley presses on, “So when Irina bet him that Danica Patrick couldn’t win the Indy, he happily took the bait, figuring he had another easy win on his hands.”

“Irina?” Isabella pulls her wine glass from the table and turns full-on to face me. “Do tell, Edward.” Her eyebrows lift over intense brown eyes, beaming telepathic truth serum into my head.

Tossing one final look of chagrin at my former best friend, I slide the napkin from my lap and drop it on the table in surrender. Here we go.

“Irina was one of my feistier subs. I never should’ve given her the chance to have the upper hand. But she posed a bet she knew I could never resist. Who would’ve thought a 26-year-old American girl would have the balls to pull out that win on the other side of the freaking world?”

“Wow.” Isabella moves the wine away from her face, and I can see the full flush she’s sporting. Those gears are turning. Oh, Riley, what have you inspired?

“Why don’t you tell us what that ‘upper hand’ entailed, Edward?” Riley eggs me on from across the table, his blue eyes flashing devilishly into mine.

I’d really like to kick Riley in the nuts right now, the bastard. It’s probably my fault for sharing so many details with him back then. But in a way, that’s how my deal with Riley works. My penance for not returning his lusty feelings is a certain liberal amount of sharing and titillation. I let him do whatever he needs to with his fantasies. It’s never bothered me, and it’s always seemed to work for him. And the beat goes on.

Of course, that was all before Isabella. I’ll drop a hint here and there just to tease Riley now, but I’ve dialed back significantly on the details of our lives as Master and sub, and the boyfriend/girlfriend stuff is completely off the table.

“It en-tailed a really fucking sore tail, a pair of bruised knees, a stiff jaw, and a week’s worth of chafing,” I direct my answer toward Isabella.  Her eyes grow bigger and her mouth drops open just enough to let me see the tip of her wine-stained tongue.

Bella swallows very deliberately and swipes her tongue across her lower lip. Her wide eyes bore into mine.  “That is so…hot.”

Riley guffaws at her reaction, and all I can do is stare in amazement as I literally watch the newest room in her kink factory reveal itself.

“Oh, god,” I hear Sean mutter in despair, no doubt seeing his near future in my distant past.

Despite the noise from the peanut gallery, it’s just the two of us locked in this moment. I cannot contain my grin, or my emotions. “Have I told you lately that I love you?”

I am having the hardest time moving past the image of Edward on his knees, jaw engaged in the service of pleasing a demanding woman. And when I do manage to set that lovely view off to the side, the void is quickly filled with a flood of pictures of Edward’s ass receiving a palm or a crop or—dear God—a paddle. The rest of the dinner conversation is lost on me, as I let my imagination go, and the way Edward keeps glancing at me tells me he knows exactly where I am. Kinksville.

I blame this on the lethal combination of the two beautiful gay boys playing their games across the table from me and this latest glimpse into my perfect Master serving a woman on his knees. Of course, Edward’s allusions to life with his mentor have lent themselves to some lovely fantasies in the past, but this area is all new. Maybe I’m all the more shocked because Edward told me right from the start he’s not a switch, and I am quite sure his submission was something wholly unexpected and entirely unwelcome.

I have to say, I’m surprising myself a bit that the idea of Edward doing all this with and for another woman bothers me almost not at all. It’s probably that the scalding hotness factor is sufficient to wipe away any germ of jealousy I might be tempted to experience.

Or maybe there’s simply no room for jealousy in my brain right now, as the latest vivid picture takes up every spare molecule of thought. Edward. Naked. On his knees. Hands cuffed and locked together behind his head. Black leather collar around his neck. Very, very short leash, locking that face in place, right where it can do the most good.

It’s fortunate I have the dishes to occupy my hands and the counter in front of me to lean on. With all three men helping, the table is swiftly cleared and the dishes are easily managed. There are no leftovers to wrap.

I can’t even look Edward in the eye when he gets close to me, and he just smiles sweetly and takes every opportunity to brush against my back or press his lips against my neck. I pour my sexual frustration into scrubbing the pots and pans and soon the kitchen is sparkling.

“Come on, let’s watch the end of the game in the family room,” Edward says, bringing the plate of cookies over to the coffee table. “Damn, I love chocolate chips, don’t you, sweetheart?” he addresses me, biting into the soft cookie and shooting me a private wink.

“They’re my favorites,” I admit.

“Hey, come sit with me over here.” He holds out an arm invitingly and I slide into his wide arm chair and onto his lap. Without hesitation, Edward slides one hand inside the back of my shirt and slips his hand around to my belly, pulling me back against his chest. “Ahhh, that’s more like it.”

I hear Riley’s warm chuckle from the couch. “I’d love a cookie, Sean, thanks for asking,” he says, folding his hands behind his neck and reclining back against the couch. Sean dutifully grabs a cookie off the plate and holds it out to Riley. When he doesn’t make a move to take it, but opens his mouth instead, Sean sighs and delivers the cookie to Riley’s mouth, blushing madly.

I feel the low rumble of Edward’s laughter coming up from his chest and he nuzzles his nose into my ear and says, “And away we go!”

Poor Sean. Did his deal include performing in front of us? I shoot him a panicked look, and Edward pulls me closer and says, “Don’t worry, baby, there’s only another minute and a half in the game and then they’ll take their show on the road.”

“All right, man, go easy on the poor guy.” I look back over my shoulder where Sean is saying his goodbyes to Isabella. In a lower voice, I remind Riley, “You don’t want to scare him away.”

Riley draws me in for a hug. “Don’t worry, buddy. I’ve picked up a few pointers from Domward over the years, but I know my limitations. I promise I’ll be good to him.”

Domward? Really?”

“Oops, shit. Did I say that out loud? Damn, get back inside here, you naughty fantasy.”

“Whatever, dude.” I chuckle at my friend. I can’t deny his lifelong attraction is an ego boost, not that mine needs it. “In all seriousness, be careful with Sean, or I will be forced to kick your ass. And I already owe you a knee to the nuts for that other shit you pulled earlier.” I do my best to look menacing, but Riley’s not having any.

“Aw c’mon, Edward. You know I was just trying to help spice things up for the two of you.”

That makes me laugh out loud. “Gee thanks, Rile. I think you got my girl good and heated for me.” My eyes find Isabella as she and Sean head our way.

“You’re welcome,” Riley whispers, adding a light sock in the arm for effect. Then louder, “Sean, let’s go. You’ve got a long night ahead of you.”

“You are so wicked, Rile.”

He winks at me before thanking Isabella one final time. “Good luck, dude,” I tell Sean, ushering them both out the door.

Isabella falls into my arms as I turn back into the apartment. “Poor Sean,” she laments, her words dropping onto my chest.

“I wouldn’t worry too much about Sean, Isabella. He’s right where he wants to be.”

She tips her face up. “You think?”

“I know. Besides,” I continue, “you’re not gonna have time to think about anyone but me for the next twenty hours.”

“Mmm,” she hums against me. “Sounds like heaven.”

“You ready, babe?”

She giggles softly. “You could say that.”

“Okay, then go kneel outside your room for me.”

“Like this?” She draws a hand down her front, indicating her jeans and tee shirt.

I cup her chin in my hand, “Don’t worry, sweetheart, you’re not staying dressed for long.”

Her eyes light up and she swallows hard.

“Go,” I say firmly, swatting her ass as she turns to her room.

Isabella owes me a fashion show and I’m ready to collect.


  1. I love those boys!
    hmmm wonder if we'll get an outtake of them and what Sean really has to do for Riley??? *begs ever so politely*

    1. Hmm, you never know! Though there's another potential for these two down the road. Keep reading!

  2. Love how Bella's mind works! It's good that they can have over company that is friendly. I like Riley and Sean. You could probably write at least an outtake on them, I bet.

    1. Riley and Sean feature heavily in the Marcus sequel, so you'll see more of them!