Truly helpless, p.3
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       Truly Helpless, p.3
 

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

  She didn't know if this would close the file on her interest, but it would be the end of something. As her gaze swept Room 7, the cold feeling told her what had happened here. It also explained Alex's frustration and Terry's anger.

  Boy, you are so done. You finally pushed it too far.

  Even so, his condition sent a spurt of angry incredulity through Regina. While Siren wasn't the most experienced Domme at The Zone, and she had qualities that Regina knew might have been rubbed the wrong way with a difficult power sub like Marius, she had enough experience to step back if she was losing control of her emotions. But she hadn't. Obviously.

  Marius was off his feet, hung by his arms. His torso, legs and upper thighs were a mass of ugly welts, some inflamed enough to weep blood. The tools responsible were lying in a discarded stack on the ground. Fuck, she'd thrown everything but the kitchen sink at him. Dragon tail, violet wand, steel paddle. Even a frigging sjambok, a wicked-looking rubber cane.

  The painfulness of the marks, the strain in his shoulders, should have been evident in his expression. Yet she only saw boredom, a mild annoyance. Until he turned his eyes toward her and she caught a flash beneath all that. A look which stopped everything and put her Mistress instincts on high alert.

  Feral. Wild and violent, an animal in a trap. Then it was gone and the boredom was back.

  Two things were happening. He was as spun up as any submissive would be, caught an intense scene that had gone bad. Yet another part of him, the part she suspected had contributed largely to that wrong direction, had iron control over his exterior reaction, making him look detached.

  It was a dangerous deception, one she admitted she'd never had to defuse. Most times, a topping sub stayed in control. Marius was both in and out of control.

  This boy shouldn't be within a hundred yards of a BDSM club environment. Not anymore.

  Because another disturbing element in that buried-deep-but-not-deep-enough look was the desire to do harm. It made her cut Siren a little more slack, because it wasn't something that particular Domme would have recognized until it was too late. It was what a human predator emanated, emerging out of a cloak of shadows in a dark alley. But Regina was no one's prey.

  "If the Mistress is done with me," Marius said to no one in particular, "it'd be nice to get some slack."

  Siren had stayed hunched on the chair, shaking her lowered head as Terry spoke to her, the manager's hand on her shoulder. Yet when Marius spoke, the Domme's head whipped up like she'd been stung by a bee.

  "You didn't give me any slack." She spat the words in a hoarse growl and exploded off the chair, taking Terry by surprise. Before she could grab Siren, the Mistress had charged Marius like a wounded animal, going after him with black nails and shoving hands, tearing a grunt from him as the impact jerked him against the chains.

  Alex quickly subdued her in a neutralizing pin, and Terry moved to block her view of Marius. Regina stepped over the threshold, catching the manager's eye. "I'll handle him if you want to get her out of here," she offered.

  Typically, the sub would have been the first person they attended. But Marius was being an ass, his studied indifference a passive attack, and they needed to get Siren away from that act now.

  Terry had come to the same conclusion, prioritizing the care of the Domme to protect the interests of the club. "Appreciate it," she said shortly.

  Siren was weeping in Alex's arms. In that condition, they could shepherd her out between them without further incident. Regina slid past them and approached Marius.

  "Poor thing," Marius murmured. His tone was flat, not mocking, but Regina went with instinct.

  She fetched him a sharp slap that boxed his ear.

  It might not look like "safety first," but that hadn't made it any less necessary. He'd been moving his head, following the activity in the room, so she wasn't worried about neck issues. The rebuke served the right purpose, snapping his attention to her. Seizing his sweat-dampened dark hair, she jerked his head around and clamped her other hand on his jaw so he could see Siren being led down the hallway. Marius had a solid, strong-boned face, his jaw covered with a manly dark sandpaper stubble that rasped under her fingertips.

  Alex had paused to give Siren a tissue from one of the liberally distributed dispensers before putting an arm around her again.

  "That's your handiwork. Proud of yourself? Look at her. Unless you can't."

  This time the aggression that flashed to the surface of his expression stayed. Good. She needed to spill off as much of that as she could, in addition to tending to the physical issues. Releasing him, she rested one palm between his shoulder blades and picked up the remote control to the suspension system. As she started taking him back to the ground, she could feel his explosive energy through her touch. If it wasn't defused, he could take this situation from bad to worse.

  He'd stiffened when she put her hand on his back, and she noted he pinned his gaze to the top of the doorframe. She snorted. "Yeah, that's what I figured. You can't look at her. So just shut up," she added when his lips parted. His eyes narrowed but she ignored him. She brought him back to his feet, his elbows down around his ears. It eased the shoulder strain but not all at once, which would have been more hazardous.

  Marius was close enough to six feet to be taller than most women. Not Regina, since in her high-heeled boots she was six even. He was built like a brawler, his thick dark hair chopped in a spiky style adding to the bad boy look. Tough facial features framed striking blue-gray eyes that went to silver when agitated, another way she could tell he was far less detached than he seemed. Right now the irises were the color of newly minted nickel.

  He was clad only in a pair of latex shorts, his cock a thick curve under them even when not on duty. It wasn't the first time she'd noticed he had the proportions to please a woman at full erection. If only the rest of him didn't seem so at odds with that goal.

  He only had one tattoo, a recent addition and nice work. Covering his right shoulder, the design looked like his skin had been torn away by claws to reveal armor beneath, a leather-style jerkin with buckles.

  It was a shame he hadn't had actual armor to protect him tonight. But as she assessed his condition, she saw older scars and faded bruises. Cataloging past injuries, she suspected his nose had been broken at least once and possibly his right cheekbone. There were abrasions on his knuckles, mostly healed, layered over scar tissue.

  That was another change in recent months. Before then, when he wanted to do so, he exuded pretty boy charm that transformed his features accordingly. He still had the charismatic looks to catch a woman's eye, but pretty no longer described him. He looked like a man who'd survived a lot of fights. Fights he'd gone looking for.

  Siren was the first scene he'd had at The Zone recently, but there were other clubs, some far less reputable, that might allow rough play to exceed the boundaries of good sense.

  She kept an impassive expression as she checked him for injury, but how he'd stiffened when she put her palm on his back took her back to that demo session they'd shared. Though he'd tried hard afterward to shrug off the obvious inroads she'd made during the flogging, she remembered when he'd rested his head on her knuckles. Only for a couple heartbeats, but it was as if a sudden weariness had come upon him, or he'd simply needed the connection.

  She knew when a sub needed aftercare, and it had been like that, except she hadn't sensed the need came from their session. She'd had the unexpected thought that maybe the need had surfaced as a delayed reaction to a lot of past sessions, where he hadn't let himself ask for or accept it.

  When his eyes had opened, something in the depths had reached out to her, a cry in the wilderness. Then it was gone. He gave her that shit-eating grin and stepped off the cross, turning his back on her. He'd thrown the obligatory "Thank you, Mistress," over his shoulder, and made the female subs laugh as he rubbed his ass in pained affectation.

  If he was just an asshole, as Lyda had said, Regina would have put it to bed
some time ago. But that moment he'd put his head on her hand had kept her gathering intel.

  As a Zone employee, he worked part-time security and as a DM several nights a week. Over the bar were casual snapshots of staff members bantering with one another, posing and smiling. In those pictures, he displayed a whole different persona from what she had under her hands now.

  However, those images were older, the most recent one of him taken well over a year ago. Lyda's assessment "He's become a total asshole" was key.

  Regina thought of her first impressions of him. He'd always been hard to top, but he'd avoided causing frustration with powerful sex appeal and a playful, prankster's charm. The combination left a savvy Mistress shaking her head but amused with him, cutting him loose after some mutual pleasure taking. Often they came back for repeat business, particularly when they wanted to try some new stuff on an experienced sub. Marius's only real limit was he didn't do men.

  While Regina always suspected his charm and flirty nature were a defensive act, there'd been a more genuine quality to them then. Kind of a, "Yeah, you're not getting deeper into my head, but we can have a lot of fun if you stay in the approved area. Don't knock too hard on the doors and we'll be all good."

  As a staff member, he was a valued member of the security team and an excellent, even handed Dungeon Master, able to defuse or reroute sessions into safer and healthier waters when inexperienced players or those in the wrong frame of mind went awry. Ironic, to say the least. His sharpness and intuition as a DM were also why he could fuck with Mistresses the way he was doing now.

  It was obvious something had changed in recent months, and had reached a breaking point tonight. He'd used that charm as bait for a trap, and lured Siren into those darker rooms. Then he'd shut her in there all by herself and turned her fear and insecurities on her. He'd mindfucked the mistress. Until she'd seen that feral look, Regina wouldn't have put it together, but she came to the unsettling conclusion he'd developed a sadistic streak, and not the pleasurable kind.

  That didn't make sense, especially not for a true sub. She was certain that was what he was, no matter what smokescreen he put up to confuse the issue. The man who'd rested his head briefly on her hand might be a wild animal, with no capacity for trust. But the gesture had expressed a fleeting wistfulness, a wish that he could trust her, with everything happening in his fucked-up head.

  Speaking of fucked-up... His firm lips had curved in a half smile now. The gesture was crooked because of a scar across the corner. She remembered when he'd shown up with the busted lip, though she didn't know the cause. She just remembered he'd had stitches in his chin and along his cheek.

  The smile brought the right touch of concerned and rueful to his expression. His slate-colored eyes would have been mesmerizing except for that hardness in them, a calculating watchfulness that said he never completely stepped out of the picture and let go. It made the discerning woman wary, instead of melting with need. Until he turned on the charm, which he did now, masking the earlier flash of attitude.

  "Sorry, Mistress. Didn't mean to be disrespectful. Was coming out of the zone," he said. "Hope she's okay."

  "Do you now?" she asked coolly, rubbing the muscles in his shoulders, working out the knots, making sure he hadn't been injured. If he had, she suspected he wouldn't have revealed it with a single word. It took time to convince a male sub to admit when he was hurt so he could be properly tended, and Marius resonated with the tough-guy vibes. So she was thorough.

  He tilted his head unconsciously to give her better access, and a breath escaped him, making her suppress a tight smile. There you are, bad boy. She had good, strong hands. She knew how to mix power and tenderness together the right way.

  "Yeah." He recalled himself enough to answer her question. "I don't mean her any harm."

  "Just worked out that way, hmm? Interesting choice of words. Most subs would be upset with her for losing control like that, for not keeping them safe. Sounds like you hold yourself partly to blame. A humble or insecure sub might incorrectly do that, but you're neither of those."

  "Sounds like you got me all figured out." The broken lip curled. "So tell me what I am, Lady Regina."

  He moved so his ass brushed her thigh. Not only an insolent move, but inappropriate, both in timing and situation. That didn't stop sparks from igniting wherever their flesh touched. Fortunately, her libido didn't do her thinking for her. Her Mistress side did.

  She dropped the slack on the chains so he could lower his arms fully. In the same motion, she gripped his wrist, twisted, and bumped the back of his leg, shoving him to one knee. She ignored his grunt. Yeah, he was hurting, but he wasn't injured. As Keanu Reeves a la The Replacements said: Pain heals.

  The wrist pin kept him in that position. With the threat of excruciating pain if he tried to get out of it, it would keep most subs still. At the height of his session with Siren, when the air had likely crackled with violence, Regina suspected he'd have been one of those who'd risk a broken bone rather than be subdued. But for now, he went still as she bent over him and spoke against his nape. It was easier to keep his head bowed with the hold she was employing, but she wondered if he was doing it purposefully to play her. That wouldn't interest her. If his true sub part was responding, that would, but neither route had her attention right now. He wanted an answer to her question; she'd give it to him.

  "You're a fucked-up soul," she said flatly. "Been lost in the woods for so long you stopped calling for Mommy, even though the need to do it is still there, pissing you off so you blame everything female for it. It digs into your heart and squeezes until you think the blood's gone, leaving stone. Probably why your eyes are the color of poured concrete."

  They flashed. Feeling the thrum of tension through his shoulder, she tightened the screws, her hold on his wrist, before he could do something inadvisable. "But stone is what you better get used to feeling, boy, because you just hit rock bottom here."

  He stared at the floor. A muscle in his jaw twitched, a quiver of reaction going through his body. As if he knew she'd detected it, he tensed from head to toe. The surge of reaction she felt like an impending explosion told her he was going to do something stupid, like break his wrist trying to throw her hold. Releasing him before that tension could translate to action, she shoved him forward, forcing him to catch himself on his palms.

  She left him on his hands and knees and moved across the room, refusing to look at him again. "You don't have any injuries requiring formal medical treatment, though you're going to be sore as hell the next few days. Won't be the first time, so I expect you know how to handle that. Put something on those welts to minimize the chance of infection."

  It wasn't until she closed the door behind her that she let her own reaction surface. Leaning against the door, she blew out a breath. Shit and double shit.

  Over the years, she'd explored and binged on a lot of BDSM practices. Primal play, Mommy/boy, rope, electric, wax, impact, interrogation, pony and puppy play. All the basics in restraint and pain for punishment and pleasure. The Zone had been her place to indulge and learn, and network into other opportunities in private homes and at BDSM events during her work travels. The skills had earned her the regard of others, a resource in her own right for other Masters and Mistresses.

  Her work as a correctional officer had helped pay her way through engineering school. Now, as a consultant in the technology and manufacturing industries, staying on top of all the latest advancements was critical. She had the type of mind that sought and devoured new information. If she had interest in acquiring a new skill set, she wasn't a dabbler. She wanted to master it and did.

  Yet there was a type of interaction with a sub that had nothing to do with the mechanics, and it had kept BDSM an enduring passion long after she'd mastered and moved on from other interests. That connection simmered beneath the surface of scenes, a potential treasure that could surface during any of them. She'd played along the edges, dipped her toe into it now and then, keep
ing it a casual addiction. She was too busy and had far too many other pastimes to bog herself down in a relationship.

  Yet when she'd seen others experience it at far deeper levels, she'd felt the twinge that told her one day she would want to go deeper and find that treasure for herself.

  She was aware that emotions were her unknown frontier. She wasn't averse to the idea of getting involved with someone; in her practical way, she simply knew it would take the right opportunity to motivate her in that direction.

  Months of studying him, chewing on the enigma in random moments, should have told her that she wasn't yet done with him. The thrum that went through Regina's bones now was a message easy enough to read.

  "Yeah, he's trouble. But there's something shiny hiding under the heap of hurt he'll dish out."

  His violence and Siren's distress had packed the room with dense negative energy, but that glimmer remained as hi-def clear as the cold starlight in Marius's gray eyes, impossible for her to ignore. A diamond dug out of a septic pond was still a diamond. The question was how dirty a person was willing to get to obtain it.

  She wasn't a romantic. She'd rarely seen that glimmer of treasure and, when she did, often it was fool's gold. But she could feel the difference in that part of herself that knew such things. If she doubted it, she only had to defer to the equal surge of "oh shit no" that came along with it now, afraid she was right.

  Yeah, the timing might suck, or it might be where it was supposed to be. Didn't matter anyway, did it? His ass was so done here. As quickly as the realization of her serious interest had happened, the optimal conditions in which to pursue it were going to close. She wasn't going to chase the boy down in whatever corners of the world he inhabited outside The Zone.

  She strolled back to the floor, to all appearances dismissing the whole thing. Yet she kept a close eye on the corridor until Marius emerged from it, moving stiffly. Alex intercepted him on the way to the locker rooms. Marius balked at whatever the DM told him, but Alexander set his jaw and put a hand on his arm. An ultimatum had been delivered. When he pointed, Regina glanced up to the third level and saw the light on in Tyler's office. Fuck, she hated to be right. They'd called the boss man himself. She suspected Alex was saying Tyler wanted Marius in his office now, no time to change. He could either comply or clean out his locker and leave, period.