Truly helpless, p.14
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       Truly Helpless, p.14

         Part #10 of Nature of Desire series by Joey W. Hill

  At the tea party, Regina had teased Lyda about leaving Noah at home. Lyda had promptly responded that Marguerite had said no pets. That bitch. Which was a shame, because looking at a collared Noah, kneeling at Lyda's feet, was never a hardship on the eyes.

  Regina imagined Marius doing that. When she'd ordered him to kneel, he'd wanted to obey her. She'd felt it.

  After their two encounters, she had an even better understanding of why a lot of Mistresses didn't go any further with him. Who would bother, even if they had caught that glimmer inside him she had? Most Mistresses would rightly decide he could take his precious dysfunctionality and go jump in a lake with it. Get over yourself already, dude.

  But she was dealing with more than some narcissistic, self-pitying, the world-doesn't-understand me crap. She went back to that moment when he'd stared at her breasts in a way that wasn't entirely sexual.

  As a woman, she'd responded to the desire of the fully grown, powerful man. But her inner spirit, that deep Goddess Mother that every woman carried, had felt the yearning of the child, his need. She thought he was trying to find his way to her through alligators and monsters, things so twisted in his own head they were blinding him. His only hope was that she would hear his silent scream with something that went far beyond hearing or sight.

  What had happened to this man? The abyss within him was deep and dangerous, and she knew she was too close to the edge. But she wasn't stepping away. Which was the crux of why she was here, trying to find out more. Even though she'd told him they were over and had meant it.

  Yeah, it didn't have to make sense.

  There were Mistresses who had the damsel-in-distress problem, only the damsel was male. However, no different from their male counterparts who embraced the surface role of hero, they lost interest once the "damsel" was seemingly "saved."

  It was a dysfunctionality she recognized and disliked. It had no more substance than falling in and out of love every six months to enjoy that euphoric high of the connection.

  Up until now, she'd set clear lines with the troubled subs she'd taken on. She was up front about what the relationship would and wouldn't be. But she wasn't clear about what this relationship would and wouldn't be. Which meant she wasn't done with it yet.

  As she entered Tea Leaves, Regina felt the spurt of warmth she always did at seeing Chloe, Marguerite's full time employee. The young woman was working the mostly occupied tables with the help of another girl, perhaps a part-time hire from the local college. Marguerite would take her time choosing a second fulltime person to replace Gen. She didn't enter into any relationship lightly.

  Chloe was unique in the BDSM world. She was self-admittedly vanilla yet sexually adventurous, enough to have won the interest of Brendan, a delicious and fully committed submissive male who thought the sun rose and set behind Chloe. When she looked up and saw Regina, she beamed and waved with such infectious pleasure in her brown eyes, Regina couldn't argue with Brendan's assessment.

  Chloe could top Brendan when needed. Dominance and submission were traits as well as an orientation, and everyone had a reservoir of either one. Fortunately, it seemed Chloe could call on her Dominant qualities in ways Brendan needed. He served her with all the devotion and care that any worthy man in love did, regardless of his sexual interests.

  It was yet another example of why Regina loved the BDSM world. No relationship was predictable, though the undercurrent was something as familiar and stable to those in it as the foundation of a home.

  Chloe straightened and pushed back a lock of her curly hair. She had it bobbed right now and it was tousled in a series of chaotic ringlets, some of them dyed blue. Her purple T-shirt had a Tree of Life on it with the gentle declaration "And it harm none, do as you will."

  "She's in the back garden, Regina. Just go behind the counter and out the side door. She's expecting you. I made you those little strawberry cakes you like."

  "Bless you. Just right for my mood." Regina didn't hesitate to give the girl a quick hug. Chloe responded with a strong return squeeze and a girlish, breathy laugh.

  "Marguerite insists that Tyler stays with her only for my baking skills. I told her if that was really true, I'd kill her off and he could sample my goods anytime he wants."

  Regina laughed. "Don't you have a man, you insatiable midget?"

  "The best man in the whole universe," Chloe agreed without hesitation. "But it's Tyler. He's a god, not a man. Those amber tiger eyes, the trace of sexy silver in his hair... Brendan understands."

  "Too true. But let's not remind Tyler of that too often. He already thinks too highly of himself." Regina ran an affectionate hand down the young woman's arm and moved toward the counter.

  No matter the suggestive banter about Tyler being the top of the pyramid in man candy land, Chloe knew the same truth that anyone else did who'd ever seen Tyler and Marguerite Winterman together. Those two souls had been forged in the fires at the beginning of time and would always be the only one for the other.

  Regina initially had been dismayed when she'd heard that Marguerite switched for Tyler. Most Dommes' hackles rose over that kind of thing, because way too often Dommes were interpreted one of two ways by an ignorant world. Either they were a pro-Domme, whose dominance was tied to professional services offered, or they weren't really a Domme at all; just a strong-willed woman waiting for the right man to top her. Give me a fucking break. She'd like to break the first person who'd planted that seed. Probably from the same family of inbreeds who suggested a raped woman was asking for it.

  Marguerite's Domme skills had been legendary at The Zone, and they still were. Yet before meeting Tyler, Marguerite had been closed off, reserved, sitting on something in her past that had given her Dominance a different form. Powerful and amazing, yes, but...detached. Regina realized abruptly it might be a different form of what she felt in Marius, a wall between himself and sincere submission.

  Remaining a Mistress yet submitting to Tyler, Marguerite had found a whole new level. She'd needed that ability to switch to tap into something she needed, both as a Domme and as a woman. If that worked for her, it wasn't Regina's place to pass judgment. And Tyler had clearly found the woman he'd been wanting all his life.

  So again--there was nothing like the BDSM world. A carnival of possibilities, and nothing was written in stone. There was no one path, which was what kept it a maze of interesting adventures.

  Marguerite was sitting at a wrought iron table beside a large pot of overflowing flowers and vines. A whimsical sculpture of a rabbit sat in the middle of it, matching the smaller one sitting on the table between two place settings. A pot of tea was waiting on the table, along with an assortment of small sandwiches, fruit, cookies and Chloe's cakes. The cloth napkins at the place settings were in a triangle tent design on the matching china. Showing her usual style, Marguerite had created a lovely setting and props for their conversation. The relaxed environment eased something in Regina she hadn't realized was tense.

  Even with the changes due to her relationship with Tyler, there was still a reserve to Marguerite that set her apart from everyone. Frankly, it made her intimidating at times, and Regina didn't get intimidated by much of anyone. So that coil of loosening tension suggested she'd been a little concerned about what Marguerite would think of the situation.

  Well, she was looking for some genuine guidance, even if she was told some things she might not want to hear. She considered the woman a friend and amazing Domme, her opinion highly respected.

  A semi-serious curve of lips was Marguerite's version of a smile, but her gaze was warm as she rose to take Regina's hand in a brief grip. "It's so rare we get time for a one-on-one visit," she observed. "I'm glad you called."

  "If you'd come to my place, I would have cracked open a bottle of wine and dusted the cobwebs off the porch chairs. This is beautiful." Regina sat down, smoothing the table cloth. "You make a visitor feel like a VIP."

  "I've been to your place, and your back porch is a gorgeous outdoo
r living space. It needs no embellishment, and a glass of wine sounds like the perfect way to enjoy it. From your message, this felt like a meeting of import, and it's been my experience that requires the right kind of headspace. An intimate tea, done correctly, gives us a quiet space to do that."

  "No arguments, though I may wolf down all Chloe's cakes and get a sugar crash." Regina chuckled and indicated assent as Marguerite gestured to her tea cup. Marguerite was elegant and graceful in all she did, but there was a ritual to the way she did tea that enhanced it. It created a calmness in the recipient, as well as a respectful silence as she poured and prepared the tea with spare movements. She'd remembered Regina liked mint-flavored tea, and the amount of sugar and milk she preferred, which didn't surprise Regina.

  After Marguerite was done, Regina sat back and sipped. A hanging planter festooned with dozens of tube-like lavender blossoms was being mined by a hummingbird. The creature dipped its long, sharp bill into each bloom, drinking the nectar. His wings were a blur of motion over his glossy green and purple body.

  "I'm betting you never brought a sub to this inner sanctum." Regina smiled.

  "No. This isn't a place for that. It's a good place to think and plan about it, though." A glimmer of humor went through Marguerite's gaze before it was replaced by something more serious. "Or consider big decisions like the one you're facing."

  "Well, technically, there are no more decisions to be made. I drew a line in the sand and he crossed it, so I kicked him loose. I told him we were done. It wasn't a bluff. It can't be." She sighed and put down the cup. "But I'm here, Domme to Domme, because I know it's not finished. And I'd like some insight in how to reconcile those two truths."

  Marguerite pursed her soft lips. "There's a difference between a bluff and changing your mind in the face of new information. Which is, I suspect, also why you're here. You know I've had a successful session with him, and you want to know more about how that went."

  When she didn't say anything further and the pause drew out, her expression remaining closed, it prompted Regina to ask the question. "Is there a Dom and sub confidentiality clause?"

  "If the Dominant feels it's necessary," Marguerite said.

  "Is it necessary, in this case?"

  Marguerite gave her a long look over the tea cup, this one more Domme than friend. Regina held the pale blue gaze, giving as good as she was getting. Not a wise idea to let Marguerite Winterman see you flinch.

  "Tell me the most important thing you've learned so far about him, in session," the woman said.

  Regina ate one of Chloe's cakes, gathering her thoughts. "Most Mistresses think he's a pain slut or uber-brat, craving physical punishment. But he absorbs that like a bottomless cup. Pain fuels the twisted part of him and shores up his defenses, so the last thing he should be given is extremes of physical pain."

  "Hmm." Marguerite's body adopted an eerie stillness when she was listening. Regina forced herself to say nothing further, to wait her out and not fill in the silence with pointless information. A few breaths later, Marguerite decided that confidentiality clause didn't apply to Regina, revealing it through her most common method of communication. Minimalist and to the point.

  "Stay away from his childhood."

  Regina's brow creased. "But if that's where the root of the problem is..."

  Marguerite shook her head. "I'm not saying overlook or ignore it in the decisions you make. Stay away from it in scene. It's a place that holds no safety for him. The submission he knew there was forced, cold and dark, the kind no one wishes to experience. Introduce him to the pleasures of submission and safety in the here and now to get to the treasure beneath. There's a trove there."

  Regina felt an absurd push of jealousy. "Oh? What kind of treasure?"

  "It wasn't mine to plunder or enjoy. Just as he wasn't mine to heal." Marguerite met Regina's gaze. "I felt that cold, dark place from him, but I didn't compel him to speak of it, nor did I push past it. The details I provided are the details I have."

  "So how did you know it was there?"

  "Intuition. You stand outside an abandoned building in a bad part of town, you feel the opposite of what you feel when you enter the gates of a spring carnival. Energy has its own language that can be read without the details." There was a faint note of rebuke in Marguerite's tone. "You've done enough sessions to know that."

  "Yeah, but you're putting it into context for me. Don't do the Morpheus Matrix thing. I know you're like a Domme guru, but it's annoying."

  Humor flitted through Marguerite's gaze, but she inclined her head in gracious apology. "You're correct. You're a formidable Mistress, and I was reacting to what I know of that, rather than being sensitive to your own energy. When someone gets into our heart or soul, it circumvents our knowledge and experience, and plays havoc with that logic."

  "But he hasn't gotten into my head, fucking me up the way he's done the other Mistresses," Regina mused. "He's trying hard to do that, and he gets points for effort, but it's something beyond that. Something I feel from him. Something I recognize that I don't think anyone else has. Except maybe you. It's an ego stroke, I don't deny it, but it's also a challenge."

  "A challenge can also be a warning."

  "Is that from your husband?"

  Marguerite's lips curved again. "He is concerned about his role in this, but I told him he made the right call."

  "Thank you." Regina lifted her tea cup to take another sip. "Okay, stay away from his childhood in session. Got it. But you said 'introduce him to submission.' He's already an experienced sub, and I know you know that, so what did you mean?"

  "He knows how to act like a sub. I'm not sure he's ever allowed himself to embrace it as his true nature. I expect that would be a wondrous thing to see. The Mistress who can get him there will receive a gift, but it will be a hard-earned one."

  Marguerite broke a cookie into three parts and put them in a line on her plate. She wiped her fingers on a napkin and rested her hand on the table.

  "Marius is an accomplished, self-aware split personality. At one time, he excelled in any structured role that didn't challenge what lies deep inside him. It allowed many Mistresses to enjoy him. In turn, they likely provided him an outlet that kept the darker things managed. But at a certain point..."

  "A switch flipped." Regina nodded. "He couldn't do it in session anymore. But he also couldn't submit, so he started to push back harder and harder, until it went into the unhealthy area. He can't stay on the surface of his submissive cravings anymore, but he can't let go enough to do the deep end, which is really where he wants to be."

  She blew out a delicate breath. "I was trying to narrow down when it happened. The first time I noticed it was the session he did with Lyda. That was what, about seven or eight months ago?"

  "Yes." Marguerite appeared to be running through the timeframe in her head. "Soon after that was when he started coming to work with more injuries from his fights."

  "So you knew about that?"

  "Not at first. As long as we've known him, Marius has trained in different fighting styles. He's also competed, but they've been events through his local gym, well-monitored and legal amateur sports. When Tyler realized he was starting to participate in the underground circuit, he confronted Marius about it. Marius explained it was to make extra money and refused Tyler's offer to help him find additional work, less hazardous to his health. He is proud, as most men are. He also told Tyler it helped him manage aggression. As I said, he is self-aware, and likely realized his sessions were turning sour."

  Marguerite sighed. "Since it is illegal, Tyler debated whether he should terminate his employment then, but decided not to do so, if it did not negatively affect his work performance at The Zone."

  "Tyler realized if he fired him, Marius might turn to it as his sole income and he'd end up with his brains as soup."

  "Yes." Wrapping both hands around her tea cup, Marguerite dipped her head without drinking, as if inhaling the aroma deeply. She was quiet a m
oment before she continued. "Tyler has a particular soft spot for...lost souls. It was difficult for him to make that decision. While it was far harder to fire Marius, the decision was more clear-cut. Endangering members of The Zone is something Tyler won't tolerate."

  "Nor should he," Regina agreed. "He did the right thing, both in making that decision and in giving me the choice to get involved."

  "I'll tell him you think so, and perhaps he'll realize he's not expected to be God."

  "If you'd stop calling him that during sex, he wouldn't be such a megalomaniac."

  Marguerite chuckled dryly. "You are very inappropriate, Lady Regina."

  "But I am right." Regina grinned. "It's one of the few ways we other Dommes confirm you're human. You blush when you're teased about him. Not lobster or anything. More like light pink roses in your cheeks." She paused. "I followed him to one of his fights. Marius, that is."

  "Oh?" Marguerite's gaze lighted with interest. "And how was that?"

  "It was terrible, horrifying. Marius was both train and wreck. I've never seen anyone fight like that. In movies and professional sports, it's so choreographed. This was like watching a snuff film." Regina offered a grim smile. "Though my primal female side didn't care about my moral outrage. I was so turned on, I had a marathon evening with my Hitachi. Just imagining that amazing, powerful body wrestling, flexing, pounding..."

  "We've had several members propose gladiator events at The Zone for just that reason." Marguerite's eyes gleamed. "The suggestion is still under review, but is receiving favorable reaction, so don't be too hard on yourself."

  Regina sighed. "I've grilled myself as hard as any interrogation scene I've ever done, trying to figure out why I have my eyes wide open and I'm still walking right into a mine field. I've told myself I'm not in deep enough to worry about it yet, that I can stop it at any time, but I did stop, didn't I? And yet here I am." She drummed her fingers on the table. "Give me a sanity check. Am I addicted or on a mission? Even if it's a mission, is that the right reason to pursue this?"