“Domenic, are you sure you don’t mind coming back for us at ten?”
“Not at all, Edward, it’s my pleasure. I rarely get to see the two of you anymore, and it’s the missus’ Canasta night, so I’m on my own. I’ll just head on over to the Short Hills Mall while you two visit your friend.”
“Okay, thanks, man. Later then.” Edward leans down to wave through the back seat before shutting the door. As the car pulls away, Edward turns his full attention back to me. “Hey…you okay?”
Edward places his hands on my shoulders and looks me in the eye. Though it’s dusk, the light of a nearby post lamp tells him everything he needs to know. “You’re nervous.”
“I…” It’s no use trying for the brave face; I haven’t successfully kept a single emotion from him since we met, and this is no time to start. “Either that or there is an actual herd of elephants in my stomach.”
“Isabella, ultimately, this is your call. If you don’t want to go in, I’ll call Domenic back right now.”
“No, I definitely do want this, but you’re right—I’m really, really nervous.”
Edward looks over his shoulder toward the front door, and when he turns back, his face reflects all the same anxiety that I’m feeling. “I remember my first time walking up this path.” His head shakes at the memory.
“I can’t even imagine how that must’ve felt. You were coming as a submissive; I’m just here as a mentee.”
“It was easily the most intimidating first meeting of my life.”
“You’re trying to help me, right?”
“Yes,” he chuckles, “sorry. It was intimidating, yes, but Marcus is kind of brilliant. He kept me on edge because that’s where he needed me. That’s not necessary with you. He has this other side…” Edward’s voice drops off and a wistful look settles on his features. “Marcus gets it. I know it sounds weird as hell to say this, but he’s one of the most compassionate people I’ve ever met.”
“Edward, that doesn’t sound weird to me at all. Being a great dom requires that, don’t you think? That’s what makes you so amazing at it.”
“Thanks, baby.” He closes his lips over mine. “Shall we?”
He swings around to my side and clasps my hand in his, leading me to the door.
“Ready?” he grins.
“I seriously doubt it.”
Edward’s free hand flies to the back of his head and he grimaces.
His restlessness is unsettling as hell. “What’s that for?”
“I don’t want to rush you or anything, but it’s not generally a good idea to keep Marcus waiting.”
“Jeez.” Half a second later, my finger is on the bell.
There’s a clatter of metal clicks, a final lurch of my guts, and a sweep of the substantial door. The elephant stampede gathers force, and I lean into the security of my boyfriend-slash-Master combo. I’m startled when Marcus turns his deep blue eyes and warm smile to me and addresses me directly for the first time. “Hello, Isabella.”
Not only does his greeting take me by surprise, but his clothing is not at all what I was expecting. Though I’d only seen him dressed elegantly, I realize now that I’d conjured a Dom ready for action—adorned in black from muscle shirt to combat boots—but the man in front of me is dressed in designer jeans and a thin, black crewneck sweater. I feel a gentle squeeze around my hand, drawing my attention to Edward’s face. He lifts his eyebrows and tips his chin subtly toward the man standing with one hand extended toward me in unreciprocated greeting.
Fantastic. I’ve messed up already.
I offer my hand before remembering I’m wearing a glove and retract it just as quickly. “Sorry,” I mutter under my breath, yanking off the leather as swiftly as possible and finally resting my hand in his. “Hello, er…Sir?”
Marcus watches all this with great amusement then clasps his other hand over mine and corrects me. “Marcus, just Marcus.” His hands are as warm as his demeanor, and the elephants slow their roll.
“And you can call her Bella,” Edward cuts in severely, drawing Marcus’s attention and consequently, mine. Bella, his I’m-not-sharing name for me.
“Okay, boundary number one firmly established,” Marcus agrees amiably. “Would you two like to come in?”
He releases my hand and more or less sweeps me inside, pulling Edward into a tight guy-hug.
“Thanks for seeing us.”
“Always a pleasure, Edward,” his mentor answers warmly.
His mentor. Will I ever feel this way toward the man? It’s certainly hard to imagine, given how close the two of them already are.
“What can I get you to drink, Bella? Glass of wine…sparkling water…shot of tequila?”
Instinct kicks in and I look to Edward for approval. He’s wearing a broad grin, reminding me we’re not in scene and I’m free to do as I like.
“You know what? A glass of white wine would be lovely.”
Marcus seems pleased. “And how about you, my friend?”
“I wouldn’t mind a shot of tequila,” Edward responds, clearly taking Marcus by surprise.
He counters immediately, “I’ll join you.”
“Well, heck, if you’re both doing shots, I’ll have one, too.”
Marcus rubs his hands together gleefully, “All righty then. Let’s get down to it.”
There’s something surreal about clinking shot glasses of Patron with my mentor and my submissive, but as the warmth spreads down my throat and into my belly, I can almost see Isabella’s inhibitions loosen just that fraction she needed.
“Let’s sit down in the living room,” Marcus says.
Isabella and I take the love seat, hands intertwined and legs joined from knee to hip on the couch.
“Edward, why don’t you start by laying out your vision for us,” Marcus suggests.
“Sure. The way I see it, the goal of this arrangement is for Isabella to have a safe place to ask questions, seek information, be able to express things she might feel uncomfortable bringing to me.”
Jesus, that hurt.
“I see you, Marcus, as someone we both can trust to share information as you believe it will benefit my relationship with Isabella. If there’s something you need me to know based on your conversations with Isabella, I suppose she’ll have to trust you to share, and if there’s something you need to keep in confidence, I suppose I’ll have to deal with that.”
Isabella squeezes my hand, and I pause and look up.
“Are you gonna be okay with that, Edward? I mean, I can’t really think of anything that I can’t talk to you about right now, but if and when there does come that time, are you sure this is going to work for you? Because I don’t want to feel as though I’m keeping secrets from you.”
“I have to be honest, Isabella. I hope those things are few and far between, but I imagine they will be. I’m guessing with Marcus’s guidance, we’ll be able to work through just about anything together. Marcus, do you have any insight here?”
Marcus leans forward, clasping his hands between his knees. “My role is not secret-keeper or go-between; I’m here to listen and advise you the best I can, Bella. At times, I might say to you, ‘I’d really like to talk to Edward about this Master-to-Master,’ but what I see happening most often is my saying to you, ‘Here’s how I think you need to bring this up with Edward.’ I think what Edward is laying out makes sense, with the understanding that the goal is always going to be communication and honesty between partners. Is that helpful?”
Isabella is glowing with the comfort provided by his wise counsel already, and we’ve barely gotten started. It helps ease the lion’s share of my misgivings. In any case, I’d swallow my pride any day for her. I nod and Isabella does the same, a relieved smile taking the place of her worried frown.
“Okay,” I continue, “for the record, just to be crystal clear, there will be no intimate touching between the two of you.”
Marcus gives Isabella his best devilish grin. “Are you sure you can live with that one, Bella?”
“Cut that shit out,” I scold, but Isabella’s tinkling laugh at my side relaxes me again.
“Bella, how about you? Any concerns? Questions?”
She hesitates for a moment, but then forges on, “What happens after tonight? I mean, will we come here again…together? Or will I come alone? Or do we set up phone times or do I just email you? I’m concerned about taking advantage of your kindness here.”
I’m so fucking proud of her I feel might burst, and from the expression on Marcus’s face, I can tell that he, too, is beyond impressed.
“Just the mere fact that you’ve had the misgiving tells me you will never take advantage. I want to be here for you, in whatever capacity makes sense. Depending on how things go here tonight, I’d say maybe it makes sense to have you come back out in a few months, and I can’t see Edward allowing you to make that trip without him?”
With a slight nod of my head, I confirm his belief, and he continues.
“I don’t have any problem with emails—I return them when it’s convenient. Scheduled phone calls are fine, and we can always Skype if we need Edward in on the call as well. Of course, you should feel free to call if you’re having some kind of emergency, but I don’t foresee that happening, not with the Master you’ve got. What else is rattling around up there?”
Yes, Isabella, he can see right into your brain. Just spill; it’s so much easier.
“Can I see where Master had his training?”
Marcus barely contains his smirk, but to his credit, he doesn’t answer without my permission. “That’s up to your Master.”
Isabella turns her doe eyes on me and pleads in a way that is both exceedingly familiar and also brand new. This isn’t just about me, though I’m quite certain she’ll fish for more details about my time in chains. She wants to see the dungeon—the toys and equipment I don’t have, the stuff of vivid fantasies.
“Stop batting your eyelashes at me; you know that doesn’t work.”
Marcus chuckles, because all three of us know it has already worked.
I turn away from her beseeching expression and stare down Marcus. “What happened in the dungeon…”
“Stays in the dungeon,” he assures me in no uncertain terms.
Satisfied with his answer, I’m able to turn back to Isabella and answer her with a sloppy kiss.
“Is that a yes?” she asks breathlessly.
“God help me…yes.”
Marcus stands. “Well, Bella, if there’s nothing else you need your Master for…?”
“No, I’m good!”
“In that case,” Marcus says, pulling his key ring from his front pocket and tossing it to me, “wait for me in the dungeon.” A wide grin consumes his face. “God, it feels so good to say that again.”
The jolt to my system is undeniable. My cock twitches inside my jeans, and I blush like a girl for him.
Marcus is a class act. He doesn’t embarrass me about it in front of Isabella; he simply smiles humbly and mutters, “Me too, kid, me too.”
I watch Edward’s back until he turns the corner. Here we are—Marcus and I—alone at last.
“How about that glass of wine now?”
“Will you join me?” Maybe it was bold of me, but I don’t want to drink alone.
Marcus sizes me up, for the umpteenth time tonight, and nods. “Sure.”
He turns and moves to the sideboard, opening an under-counter wine refrigerator and retrieving some bottle of white. I’m riveted to the way his body accomplishes the simplest movements—the plunge of the corkscrew, the twist, twist, twist, twist, and finally, the wedge and shimmy. The cork doesn’t stand a chance. Marcus is a powerful locomotive barely restrained by his human outer coverings, a tightly-wound coil poised to spring. If not for his uncanny intuition and inclination for good, he could be a dangerous force—no doubt about it. Shame on me, but given free rein to ogle him, I have a hard time not imagining him wielding a crop or bending a submissive over his whipping bench.
I suck in a mouthful of air—the whipping bench I will soon be viewing, in person, with my very own eyes!
“To a new partnership,” Marcus toasts, handing me a generous glass of wine. I nod and clink and put his clothes back on in my mind. Then again, he’s most likely done the same to me—if not tonight, then at the restaurant where we first met.
And now I’m blushing.
“Let’s sit down again,” he offers kindly, a slight smile playing on his face. “I know you’re still nervous, Bella, but why don’t you tell me how this all began for you. When did you first discover your submissive tendencies?”
I feel a tingle below recalling Master asking me to recount my earliest fantasy—the alien abduction. “I was probably around eleven,” I tell Marcus.
He sits back and crosses his ankle over his knee, waiting. Okay then.
“I’d read some snippet of some bondage story and that was all I could think of from that moment forward.”
“So you’ve had other D/s relationships?”
“No. God no. Edward is my first.” Edward is my only.
“Hmm. I can’t help but notice you’re a young woman in your…early thirties?”
“How did you go so long without satisfying this need?”
I don’t know how much Edward has told him about me, but I’m aware that Marcus knows about my difficulty accepting this reality.
“I kept it locked away…it was too shameful to admit…I could never ask for what I wanted from any of my partners.”
“And why is that?” Matter of fact.
“First of all, I don’t think I was ever with a man who would’ve bent that particular direction.” Understatement of the year where one Jasper Whitlock was concerned. “And secondly, I had a very hard time getting past my shame over it.”
“Is that past tense I hear?” He sips at his wine, not pressuring me, so I sip at mine.
Again, he nods, the wise sage accepting my truths without judgment. I have the feeling I could say anything to him, and he’d be neither surprised nor disappointed. It’s unbelievably liberating. Aside from Edward, there has never been another person I could confide in.
“You’re still working on it.”
“And your Master is helping, I take it?”
“Yes.” I can’t help my grin, and he smiles back knowingly.
“That’s good. That’s really good. So how do you think you’re doing as a submissive?”
“Well, I haven’t had too many complaints,” I joke, defense mechanisms kicking in.
Marcus intercepts my glib answer and shoots back, “Does that mean you haven’t been on the receiving end of any discipline?”
“Not very much. A few mild moments here and there.”
“Mild? What do you consider mild?”
“Oh…um…” Crap. Okay, let’s go. “The first punishment I received was some wasabi rubbed onto my body.”
His eyebrows pop up. “Wasabi? How creative.”
“Yeah, we were having sushi for dinner.”
“But aside from that, there have been one or two spankings…” oh yes, it’s super fun to talk about being spanked with an almost complete stranger, “but mostly, it’s been a firm reprimand and then I’m back on track.”
“You’re a pleaser, not a tester then?” he posits.
“I don’t know that I’ve ever had the urge to test him.”
Marcus smiles. “You will. At some point, down the road. You’re going to need to know that he still loves you and he’s paying attention, because the way a dom shows his love is by not letting his submissive get away with anything.”
That sounds scary, sounds like a lack of faith. “That doesn’t sound like us,” I tell Marcus very confidently.
Marcus takes a long drag on his wine before answering. “Don’t worry, Bella. Your master will take care of you. He knows right now that a stern word or even a gentle caress will set you straight, and he’s wise not to overplay the discipline, because then it would fall on him to make sure you’re behaving, instead of you. That’s not what we want as doms. That’s not the kind of devotion a master like Edward deserves, and you’re right, it’s not who you are together. But make no mistake, should that time come when you challenge him—and it almost always does—he will correct you swiftly and with great compassion, and if I know Edward, great creativity. You’ll be toeing the line in no time.”
“Highly reassuring,” I chuff.
Marcus smiles, pauses, then says, “You’re making light, and that’s fine, but you’re a sharp cookie, Bella. You know deep in your gut that what I’m saying is true.”
“Of course I do.”
“Okay, so it sounds as if your Master is happy with your behavior; how about you? How do you feel you measure up?”
Again, sarcasm kicks in first. “Does it matter?”
Marcus simply waits. It’s your nickel.
“Sorry.” Wow, I can easily imagine how effective he’d be in the play room if his well-placed silences have me spilling my guts all over the floor. “I know I’ve come a long way, but there are still things I wish I could do better.”
“Anything you’d care to share?”
“I guess there’s not much point in my being here if I don’t, huh?”
Deep breath, hold, and exhale. “I’m not very good at…we’ve tried a couple times but…”
“Want me to close my eyes?” The lightness in his voice helps me over the embarrassment.
“No, I’m good thanks. It’s the anal thing. I can’t seem to make it work.”
“It’s important to you then?”
“Not me, so much…”
“Your Master has expressed his disapproval?”
“No, not at all. He says I’m doing fine.”
“Oh, so you've decided not to trust his assessment of the situation?”
“I just think he’s trying to protect me. I don’t know if he’s being honest.”
“Now I understand the problem. We’re not talking about anal sex anymore—you get that, right?”
“Yeah, I know, and believe me, we’ve been up and down this conversation.”
“Yet, you still don’t really trust that he’s fine with where you are?”
“It’s pretty hard when I don’t get to see his checklist. I mean, who knows?...maybe he has this rated ‘Definitely want to be doing on a daily basis,’ but I’ll never know.”
Marcus guffaws. “I don’t know where you got that checklist of yours, Bella, but it sounds like a whole lot of fun!”
“You know what I mean. Is it normal for Masters not to share their checklists?”
“Normal? There’s a word that gives me the willies.”
“I guess I should know better by now.”
“Looking at your situation—and more specifically, where you were before your collaring—I’d most definitely agree with Edward’s decision not to share his checklist with you. He’s one to hold his cards close to the chest anyway, but it even makes more sense where you were a complete novice. You most likely would’ve tried to mold yourself to what you thought he wanted instead of discovering who you are.”
“Every checkmark that didn’t match his would’ve made me feel inadequate before we even got started.”
“That’s right. Besides, I’m willing to bet that you’ve already changed your opinion on many of the activities in just a few short weeks.”
“Definitely,” I answer, the video scene fresh enough in my mind to bring a new blush to the surface.
Marcus nods and relaxes back into the couch. “Edward’s a versatile guy; he’s open to most things, but it’s not like he has a bucket list to slam through.”
“That’s exactly what he told me last night.”
“You have to know you’re his joy, Bella. If he can bring out the best in you, he’s wholly satisfied. As a mildly objective third-party observer, and as a dom, I can guarantee you that.”
“So I shouldn’t ask him if he’s missing anything?”
“My understanding is you can ask him anything you want. The caveat is when he answers you, it behooves you to believe him.”
“Fair enough. He hasn’t steered me wrong yet.”
“No…and he won’t. Edward’s a very special guy, and an incredibly gifted dom.”
“Funny, he said the same of you.”
“Well,” Marcus smiles broadly, “I did teach him everything I know.”
The heady aroma of leather fills my nostrils as I push past the threshold of the dungeon. My eyes sweep around the room, taking in the very familiar as well as the newest additions. Marcus has exquisite taste, and the black cast iron fittings coupled with rich dark leather provide a compelling environment for the discriminating dominant and the eager submissive.
I loop the key ring over the tiny hook next to the door and leave the door ajar for them. My feet carry me toward the center of the room to the whipping bench, a broad expanse of leather set on four solid cherry legs with two cuffs attached at one end for wrists and two at the other end just above the knee supports, perfectly placed for locking thighs to the sturdy frame. The damn thing makes my ass burn just to look it. As I discovered under Marcus’s watchful eye, the whipper really doesn’t have it all that much better than the poor sucker strapped to the contraption, at least while the whipper is learning.
“Eight, thank you, Sir.”
“Nnnnngh…nine, thank you, Sir.”
I looked over at Marcus one last time, and I didn’t like what I saw. His scowl was the deepest I’d seen yet, and that was saying something after my first week of apprenticeship. “Hit…her…harder!” he intoned through clenched teeth.
I wound up my thrashing arm one last time and let loose the flogger on her bright red bottom. Swish…THWACK!!
“Ahhhh! TEN, THANK…YOU, SIR!”
Marcus walked over to the heaving mess of girl and cupped her chin in his hand. “Where are we, Penny?”
He wiped a tear from her cheek. “We agreed on eight today, did we not?”
Marcus stepped away and crossed his arms again, giving me a slight nod. By the time the flogger bit into the girl’s flesh for the fifteenth time, I’d made a promise to myself that I would not be seeking submissives who needed more pain than I was prepared to inflict.
After the eighteenth stroke, Marcus checked in with her again. When she reported that she was at seven, he braced her shoulders with his broad chest and kissed her before signaling the final blow.
“Enough,” Marcus commanded, and I dropped the whip to the floor and collapsed into the spanking chair, my shoulders sore and my hands raw from gripping the sliding leather so tightly.
Marcus uncuffed the girl and flipped her spent body into his arms. He carried her over to where I was wallowing and turned his body so my eyes fell on the girl’s face.
“Thank you, Sir,” she said, her mouth forming a smile despite the watery eyes.
Marcus gave me a nod. “I’m going to take care of her; we’ll talk later.”
For half an hour, I polished every inch of the play room, my penitence for the harsh punishment I’d been made to deliver. I couldn’t decide which of us I hated most—myself, Marcus, or the girl—but my blood was still boiling when he returned.
“How is she?” I asked, anxiety oozing out of my every pore.
“She’s fine. Actually, she’s way better than fine; she’s flying pretty high.” Marcus slipped his hands into his front pockets and leaned back against the wall.
“It wasn’t too much?”
“No, Edward. It was just what she wanted. She gets off on it; a lot of people do, you know.”
“I don’t,” I growled back.
“Not okay, Marcus. I feel like shit right now.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. I wish you would’ve safe-worded if you were feeling uncomfortable.”
His words took the wind right out of me. “I should’ve…? But you were there…and she was the one taking the beating.”
“Yet you’re the one who got hurt, and for that, I am truly sorry.”
My chest dropped to the whipping bench as my bravado gave out. Marcus glided to my side and pressed his hands to my shoulders. Despite my self-loathing, I accepted his comfort and the soothing motion of his strong fingers kneading my sore muscles.
“Marcus, what kind of pussy dom am I gonna be?”
“Edward, you are the farthest thing from a pussy. You just discovered one of your hard limits, that’s all. Everyone has them.”
I turned my head and found those eyes I trusted with my truest self. “Even you?”
Marcus chuckled. “Yes, of course, even me.”
He stared at me without speaking while his hands worked their magic on me, waiting to see if I would back down. I held his gaze as if my future depended on it.
“Okay,” he finally said softly, “I won’t do breath play, or blood play for that matter.”
“Seems reasonable. But…fuck, isn’t whipping pretty much front and center on the job description?”
“THE description? Every submissive is a different situation. There is no one-size-fits-all here. I cannot stress that enough. So you’re going to steer clear of submissives who need the heavy beatings. To be honest, it’s not exactly my favorite thing either, but Penny is special…and she is flying right now. You should talk to her when she wakes up; you’ll see.”
“I believe you. I just can’t…I can’t.”
“You’re not any less of a dom for it, Edward. You were doing fine up until that last set. Most girls won’t want it past there.”
“I sure hope I don’t fall for a pain slut.”
Marcus laughed out loud and patted me on the back. “It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.”
I smooth my palm over the cool leather and imagine Isabella stripped bare and cuffed to this bench for me, completely at my mercy. I visualize gliding my palm down the arch of her back and over her fleshy bottom, and teasing her with my crop until she begs to be fucked. I picture the wild look in her eyes as she watches my reflection climb onto the bench behind her and pound her so thoroughly we both forget out names.
Fuck, how much longer? It probably wasn’t wise to work myself into a lather with nothing but a long car ride ahead of us. I flip the security camera the bird, turn my back to it, and adjust myself before someone gets hurt.
“How are we doing on time? I’m sorry, I’ve kind of lost track.”
“You’re fine. It’s 8:30.”
“Oh gosh, poor Edward.”
“I wouldn’t worry too much about him. I have some reading materials in the play room that he always used to find interesting.”
Gulp. Edward. Waiting for me in the play room. Having read interesting things.
“Maybe just one more glass.”
My host refills both our glasses and gives me a wink as he tips his head back for the first taste. I mirror his actions, minus the wink, and enjoy the freedom afforded by the alcohol.
“All right. You have another burning question for me; I can feel it.”
I roll my eyes. He’s right. Edward’s right. The two of them are so attuned to my wavelength, they’re practically psychic, and I decide to just accept the inevitable.
“So…my last journal entry…the three fantasies?”
Marcus’s smile grows ever wider. “Ah yes. A Master’s delight.”
I pull my lower lip between my teeth, one last ditch effort to swallow my questions.
“You know, I can’t help if you don’t ask.”
“I know. All right, here goes. There was a fourth fantasy that I was kind of afraid to list.”
“Do tell, beautiful Bella.”
“I don’t know why it’s so compelling all of a sudden, but…”
“It’s really not a good idea to tease me, Bella.”
“Do you think it’s possible that Edward would ever let me dominate him?”
Marcus sets his wine glass down on the coffee table between us and falls back into the couch. “Wow.”
“Wow, I was really not expecting that from you.”
“You certainly are.” He rubs two fingers across his chin while he figures out how to answer me.
“You do know that Edward is not a switch, right?”
“So he’s mentioned.”
“No, Bella. I’m not sure you’re feeling me here. I don’t mean that in a casual way. What you need to know is Edward really and truly hates the submissive role. Coming to me was the hardest thing he’s ever done in his life.”
“So, that’s a no?”
“It’s not my place to say yay or nay for Edward, and you should absolutely tell him what you want, but let me help frame it for you, okay?”
“I can see it going one of two ways, if he allows it at all. First, he might direct you in scene to take the upper hand within boundaries that he’d establish. For example, he might tell you that you can do anything you like to him with your feet, but he’s not allowed to come before you do.”
“Mmhmm. Ever tried getting off a guy with just your feet?”
“Can’t say I have.”
Marcus grins. “It’s interesting. Whatever…substitute mouth or knees or tits…it all works.”
I nearly spit my wine into the goblet.
“Sorry. That was a little glib.”
“Just a wee bit. And the other way?”
“I could see him allowing it as Isabella and Edward, not submissive and Master. And don’t expect him to behave like a submissive.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Anything that even hints at humiliation is going to send him running, so if you’re fantasizing about spanking him or—”
“Ohmygosh no! I can’t see him that way either. Oh wow, that was pretty hypocritical of me, wasn’t it? I guess if it were something he really wanted, I’d find a way to make it happen.”
His laughter interrupts my anxious rambling.
“Seriously, Bella, you can stop right there. There is no chance Edward wants you to spank him.”
He gathers himself. “What did you have in mind exactly?”
I swallow the rest of my wine and wave off his unspoken offer for more. “I want to be free to use his body at my whim. I want to drive him crazy with teasing and maybe tie him up or blindfold him, but not for the purpose of humiliating him.”
Marcus clears his throat. “Lucky guy.”
I’ve had enough—or too much—wine, and it slips out. “Don’t you mean, ‘lucky girl?’”
My heart thunders for a few seconds as I consider the boundary I’ve just overstepped, but Marcus quickly puts me at ease. “Lucky pair.”
“So, Mr. Mentor, how do I make this happen?”
“You need to bring it up with Edward, and having alcohol involved for the conversation isn’t a bad idea. Give him time to think about what he’s comfortable with. Trust me, if you frame it as your boyfriend servicing your needs, he’ll be all over that.”
“Sounds good. Thank you.”
“My pleasure. And Bella…I would suggest you not wait too long before talking with him about this. You seem pretty amped.”
“Oh my god, speaking of waiting…”
“Yeah, we should go. He’ll be climbing the walls by now.”
Marcus stands and I set down my glass and pop up off the couch. “Thank you again, Marcus. This was so great.”
“Truly my pleasure, Bella. Come on, let’s find your Master.”
A/N: From my kinky heart to yours, warm wishes for a joyous holiday and a New Year filled with love, friendship, and peace. XXX ~BOH