Truly helpless, p.34
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       Truly Helpless, p.34

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

  "And if I can't?" He rubbed his eyes. Sometimes, it was kneejerk to be a smartass. He really had to work on that too.

  "You can," she said evenly. "So not an option. There are two items on the bed you'll be wearing, but they're not for you to put on yourself. You bring them to me after you shower and get dressed in the rest of the things I left you. You'll know which ones I mean."

  Hooking the corner of the blanket with the toe of her elegant heel, she stripped it off the bed, leaving him lying naked on the mattress. Her gaze slid over his body, his morning erection.

  "Beautiful," she purred. "Fold the blanket up and put it on the mattress with the pillows plumped up and the fitted sheet straightened. There better not be anything happening in the shower other than washing. Your hand stays off what's mine except for functional purposes."

  She strolled out of the bedroom, leaving him wanting to fuck her brainless and yet do everything she asked. He'd lost his mind, and apparently handed over his man card to her on top of that. But he didn't feel emasculated from the way she looked at him, how she approved of his obedience. He felt more like a man when he pleased her than he ever had when he pounded bigger men than himself to their knees. Go figure.

  He wasn't straight enough to marshal a plan to counter those feelings, and he didn't have much desire to come up with one. The grip on her wrist was the only evidence of his controlling behavior so far today. But it was early.

  Suppressing a sigh and the thought, he got up to check out what she wanted him to wear. Nice stuff. A pin-striped blue button-down shirt to go under a gray silk vest. The shirt sleeves were designed to be rolled up to his elbows and secured with a button. Stressed jeans and a brown belt completed the look. All the sizes looked right, but he wouldn't have expected anything different. A package of black briefs took care of the underwear.

  It'd been a long time since he'd bought new clothes for himself. These were new, but except for the underwear, they appeared to have been washed and pressed, because they didn't have the creases and new store smell. Instead, they captured the pleasant, clean scents of her home. Did she have a laundry or maid service who had done it? He'd be far more comfortable with that than the idea his Mistress had ironed and done laundry for him. Thinking about doing that for her, though, brought a whole different kind of feeling, not unpleasant.

  Pretty much all his sub stuff, except for the occasional eye-candy wait staff job at an event like Tyler and Marguerite's annual Carnival, had been session-or demo-based. Not service stuff, caring for a Mistress. But sometimes he'd thought about what it would be like to care for one. Usually late at night, when he couldn't stop himself from having those kinds of thoughts.

  When he lifted the clothes off the bed, he found the two items he wasn't supposed to put on himself, and they just amplified his crazy thoughts about caring for, and belonging to, a Mistress. A cock harness, and something in a small velvet bag. It felt like jewelry. He knew enough not to open it, but as he held it clutched in one hand, a surge of emotions shoved through him, that mix of good and bad. He was always unsure which was going to get the upper hand.

  One thing was certain, though. He was going to have a hard time not jacking off in the shower.

  Going to the bathroom, he laid all the items out carefully. He proceeded the same way with his shower, handling himself with studied functionality, refusing to let the thought of doing more with his cock than washing it even cross his mind. He wasn't going to defy her. He was going to show he could do this, be a "good" sub. The jagged-edged voices in his gut laughed at him. Yeah, it would probably last less than two minutes. Why did he care, anyway? What was so different about her?

  Everything, asshole. Don't ruin this.

  But that wasn't the problem, was it? She was amazing. He was the fuck-up. Wasn't it better to let her down sooner rather than later?

  No. Shut the fuck up and get dressed.

  He dried the shower and cleaned up after himself. As he brushed his teeth and hair and donned the clothes, he could hear her talking on the phone. Picking up the two items, he followed her voice to the kitchen. His nose directed his gaze to the bacon and eggs in a fry pan on the stove. His eyes went to her. She was sitting in a kitchen chair, legs crossed, body twisted around to type on her laptop as she spoke into a handsfree piece in her ear.

  When she dipped her chin toward the oven, he opened it and saw a handful of flaky biscuits, still warm enough to give off the fresh baked scent. She'd cooked for him again.

  Not like other Mistresses had done. With more than a twinge of guilt, he remembered Lady Di, who'd done things like this for him. But even if he was being an asshole, it had reminded him of the pathetic slavishness of a person trying too hard to win the affection of their favorite pet.

  He didn't get that sense of dependence from the woman currently on the phone. Regina was taking care of him because...he wasn't sure why.

  She'd said he was hers to command for the duration of this trip, which apparently included dressing him the way she wished. He'd never thought about being into that, but she'd bought him a good outfit, and telling him what to wear seemed to underscore the ownership arrangement.

  That was also what her fixing breakfast said to him. She was in charge, which meant when she provided for his basic needs, or bought him clothes, she was reinforcing that he was hers. It also reminded him who he served in provocative ways, big and small. He served her, and she took care of him.

  It was a new thought, and an unsettling one that aroused his body and mind, and made his soul even more hungry and messed up.

  She gestured to him. When he approached, she extended her hand, slim fingers and glossy nails. As she continued to talk on the phone, he laid the velvet bag and cock harness in her hand. Her gaze shifted to the jeans, then back to his face, a command.

  He unbuttoned and took down the zipper, pushing briefs and jeans to his thighs. She caressed his cock, scratching him with her nails. His cock jumped in her hand, growing thicker. He'd already been half-erect, just thinking about this. She put the harness on him, two crossed straps that went around the base of both his cock and testicles. He bit back a grunt as she took it one hole more than was comfortable in his current state.

  "No, I think it's a good idea to hold the handouts until the first break. I want them to exercise their listening skills first, because that's key to the rest of the approach."

  She gripped him, stroking. As if she was entirely unaffected by his state. It was maddening. Intolerable.

  He yanked her up from her chair by the shoulders, planting his mouth on hers, discovering the heaven of her heated, damp tongue and lips, the scent of cinnamon toothpaste and sweet woman. She didn't struggle, didn't draw back, but gave as good as she was getting, her hand dropping to clamp down on his buttock. Which gave her better leverage to use the other hand to grip his cock and twist.

  Fuck. He let her go, but since her weight was forward, he didn't want to unbalance her. He pushed through the discomfort, holding his position to ease her back to the chair. Her cheeks were flushed, her eyes heated and a little pissed. That made him harder. She pointed to the floor and now he embraced obedience, dropping to his knees. She shook her head, pointed to the floor again. She wanted his forehead on the floor, his ass in the air.

  He frowned but did it. Inexplicable things uncoiled in him as she put one shoe on the back of his neck, the other against his side. The heels dug into both places. She continued her call for another fifteen minutes, using her bent knee as a prop to make notes on a pad, the heel on his side gouging in deeper between his ribs when she twisted around again to type. He held fast in that position, though, serving as her foot rest. His unfastened jeans stayed off his ass, his cock and balls trussed up in her straps.

  At last she cut the connection and removed her feet. "Sit up and apologize."

  "For what?" He hadn't meant to sound belligerent. He just couldn't seem to help himself.

  "I've seen you brat, purposefully seeking punishment to y
ank a Mistress's chain. I know the difference between that and what you're doing now. Back down to the floor."

  She didn't wait, clasping the back of his neck in a firm hand and shoving him toward the linoleum. He tried to push back and she just held him down with an admonishing noise. He could have gotten rougher, fought harder, but he didn't, and didn't examine why not. She rose, a click-click of heels across her kitchen, and he heard the clink of a utensil against the granite countertop.

  "This will do the trick."

  He bit back a snarl as she hit his bare ass with something metallic that felt like it cut skin. She did it to the other side and then held it to his flesh. The metal spatula she'd apparently been using for his breakfast was heated but didn't burn. However, pressing that heat on top of the sting intensified the temperature.

  "One more."

  He did his best to bristle, not flinch, but Christ, she knew how to deliver a blow. She landed this one smack in the opening between his thighs, so his balls got a glancing blow, a sting through the joining point of his sac to the rest of his more tender regions.

  He could handle loads of pain, even more than this, but something was raw inside of him, making it hurt more than usual. Or maybe it was that it hurt in places that had nothing to do with his nerve endings.

  There was a clatter as she tossed the spatula in the sink. Grabbing his hair, she jerked him up to his knees, holding him against her thighs as she wrenched his face up, using a grip on his throat and jaw. He was staring up into her face, which was cold and disapproving. A reaction that also hit him in the gut.

  "I let you sleep in and made you breakfast. So what do you owe me?"

  A million smartass answers fought for supremacy, and she saw it, because she got closer, her eyes boring into his.

  "You let me see into your soul," she said in measured tones. "Doesn't matter what you do today, that won't ever change. Your cover is busted, Marius. I know who and what you are. How about you try out a different version of yourself today? One a lot closer to who you wish you could be, the person I believe you actually are. You can be mine today and for this trip, or you can hit the road. I won't put up with the attitude on a work day. So, last chance. Tell me what you owe me."

  That grip on his jaw moved slightly. A brush of her fingertip on his chin. A caress, at odds with the freezing temps of her expression, the hardness of her hold on him. Two sides of the coin, and she would give him both or only one. He wanted both.

  He put his hands over hers. Not to grip, but to express himself. "I'm sorry, Mistress," he said roughly, adjusting his gaze to her waist. "I owe you...respect. Good manners. I should have helped you more last night, too. Gotten up this morning and made you breakfast instead."

  He didn't mean to say all that, but he did. He also had to suppress an urge to press his face into her midriff. She'd likely knee him in the balls. "I do like biscuits and gravy. Thank you for making them."

  She sighed, and he thought he heard a half chuckle. "I thought you would, sweet boy. Pull up your pants. Go make yourself a plate for breakfast and stop tempting me to fuck your ass with an open bottle of Tabasco sauce."

  He had no doubt she'd do it, and that was something he'd prefer to avoid. Releasing him to do as he'd been told, she returned to the table. He tilted his head to look at her out of his peripheral vision. She went back to her laptop, not a tremor in her hands, but he sensed...disturbance. He'd caused that.

  Wrestling with an unfamiliar sense of guilt, he cleared his throat. "Can I make you a plate, Mistress?"

  She nodded, her eyes on the laptop screen again. She didn't provide him additional guidance, but he'd gauged the portions she preferred from the last time they'd shared breakfast. He brought her the plate of food and a glass of juice before returning to the counter to make his own. Might be stupid, but it made him feel somewhat better to see her glance at the plate and then pick up her fork to dig in, his choices obviously meeting her approval.

  She'd left him a place setting, but he took a seat cross-legged at her feet and began to eat that way. He was aware of her eyes on him. A long few minutes later, her hand fell on his shoulder and stroked him absently as she resumed her work. The straps bit into his cock and balls, which knotted things in his gut. He wanted to slide under the kitchen table, spread her thighs and give her pleasure again. But he hadn't been given permission to do that. He might have, if he hadn't messed it up. He'd denied them both with his bad behavior. And suddenly that mattered to him.

  She'd pocketed the item in the velvet bag. No matter how crazy it was, how he told himself he'd never wanted something like what might be inside that pouch, he knew he did want it. But he'd screwed up. Maybe she'd put it on him later. If he could keep himself from screwing up again. Not much chance of that. He'd always known he was hopeless; had never cared if everyone else felt the same about him.

  Until now.

  Returning to the present at the airport, Marius found he'd started to get hard from his imaginings of her taking such absolute control of him. The response reminded him with sharp clarity of the strap cinched around the base of his cock and circling his balls. He didn't usually give a second thought to a hard-on, since most of his time was spent in places like The Zone or the fight ring. However, being in an airport lounge with people way above his class and station had him feeling more selfconscious. If he didn't keep a lid on it, they'd get an eyeful.

  He looked up to see her studying him again. She closed the laptop, put away the phone and gestured to him. As he strode across the lounge toward her, he was aware of a couple women's speculative glances. Rich women, who appeared to be traveling on their own. Yeah, it wasn't the first time he'd run into that kind. Even The Zone had a few of those interested in owning a good-looking sub mainly as their show pony, and he didn't mean for pony play.

  Regina had money. But she didn't give him the impression that was what she was seeking. She might like treating him like her boy-toy sometimes, but the way she might want to do that didn't bother him. Far from it.

  He had to suppress a strange urge to drop to a knee at her feet, bow his head and wait for her to express her desire, the way he would at The Zone. There was more than one way it was hard for him to act civilized in the mundane world. So instead he sat beside her in a chair, stretching out his legs in his usual sprawled way and laying an arm on the back of her chair. Yeah, it was a less-than-casual possessive gesture, but there were also a few rich guys in the lounge who were too interested in getting a piece of the tall, dark and totally hot action that Regina represented.

  She laid a hand on his thigh. "That should take care of work for a little while. Sorry I had to ignore you."

  "Not the way it works, Mistress. I'm here for your pleasure."

  Her eyes sparked, her mouth tipping up in a little smile. "You said that in such a nice way, I didn't mind hearing it."

  She leaned back against his arm and he coiled his hand around her shoulder, playing with the ropes of her hair, winding them around his fingers. She didn't seem to mind that, either.

  She stroked his thigh. "This outfit looks really good on you. You're a handsome man, Marius. I expect you know that."

  He shrugged. "I clean up good."

  Her fingertip slid along his lip, the twisted scar. "You're not pretty, though. Not like you were at one time. I saw pictures of you early on at The Zone."

  "Well, fighting takes away some of the prettiness. It was an advantage when it was there, because they tended to underestimate me. Now, not so much."

  "No, I imagine not," she said wryly. "You don't seem bothered by that."

  "It's just skin. You take it off, what's under..."

  A twitch went through his leg, his fingertips. It hit him unexpected, fast, hard, like a scary clown jumping out of his closet and landing full body on him in his small bed, a recurring nightmare he'd had as a child.

  He was on his feet and didn't remember bolting from the chair. His throat closed, trapping air, his stomach coiled in a weird panic
as a bunch of images he so-the-fuck-did-not-want invaded his head. Regina, on his father's work table, him using a curved knife to take away the skin in long, ribbonlike strips... Only it wasn't his father. It was him. Marius.

  "Hey. No. Easy." She had maneuvered him into the corner behind the potted palms, not a great screen, but one that gave him the illusion of privacy. He slapped a sweaty palm on the cool window, using it to brace himself. His other hand was on her, clenching the lapel of her coat. He sought her eyes out like a drowning man.

  She was speaking to him, one hand on his side and the other braced by his on the window, but not hemming him in or holding him. "Breathe, Marius. Come back to me. Right here. We're at the airport. We're going to New Orleans. You're a grown man, Marius. Not a child. He's dead. Look at me. Right now."

  He was looking at her, but he knew what she meant. He surfaced from those memories with a gasp, pain spearing through his lungs. Her tone was sharp, but it contained something his subconscious clung to like a flotation device.

  "Breathe with me. Nice and even. It's okay. We're right here. After everything you dealt with the other day, it's completely normal you might have a little post-traumatic stress, things dredged up from your childhood. Just breathe through it."

  As things leveled, he managed to choke out a response. "I don't like this. I kept this stuff locked out."

  "Locked down, not locked out. Big difference. Think how well that strategy worked out. All those healthy relationships you've had; I don't have enough fingers to count them all."

  It pulled an unexpected chuckle out of him, grim though it was. When he pressed his temple against the cool glass, wishing he could strip down and put his whole body against it, and then against her, her expression softened, eyes showing pain and concern for him. It made his stomach and chest turn inside out, made it hard to breathe again, for a different reason.