Truly helpless, p.46
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       Truly Helpless, p.46

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

  Adrenaline helped him tear himself out of their hands. Vicious satisfaction flooded him as a wrist bone snapped under his grip. The subsequent shriek of pain gave him even more strength.

  He was in a blind haze of fighting, pummeling and snarling when another man was yanked off him and he realized unexpected reinforcements had arrived. Tyler dropped the guy with a blow to the chest that the bettors inside would have loved, particularly when the guy didn't get up. Marius instinctively went back to back with him and they faced down the remaining crew. More had come to join the fight, goddamn it all. Regina was at his side, the steel bar clenched in both hands, her eyes flaming like an Amazon warrior.

  Fuck, he loved her. He didn't want her to be here, but she'd told him plenty of times, hadn't she? He didn't give the orders in this relationship. The only choice he had was to take out the rest of these assholes so not another one of them got near her. Fortunately, Tyler seemed to be on the same page.

  Over the next few moments of intense hand-to-hand combat, Regina stayed in that ready position, her eyes darting, body tense, but no one got close enough. Marius made fucking sure of it. Tyler might have had something to do with it, too.

  When the last body dropped, and all that remained were unconscious, groaning or fast-retreating men, Tyler gripped her arm and gestured to Marius. "Come on," he said, his tiger eyes sharp and cool as frost on an amber blade. "We need to be out of here."

  No disagreement there. Marius hated that they had to drive separately. Regina seemed in good enough shape to get into her vehicle, though he worried she was running on adrenaline and might be worse off than she seemed. Tyler was right, though. Neither they nor their vehicles needed to be here.

  Tyler led the way out, Regina's Mercedes in between their two cars. He took a few side streets before emerging smoothly onto a main artery. A half-mile down that road, they met two police units coming their way. In his rear view, Marius saw them turn onto the street that would lead them to the fight location.

  About ten minutes later, Tyler pulled into the parking lot of an all-night diner, choosing a back corner where they weren't likely to attract much notice. As soon as they stopped, Marius was out of the car and at Regina's door, pulling it open. She was holding the wheel in both hands, and she was shaking. Shock. Christ, she shouldn't be driving at all. Feeling a mixture of anger, chagrin, and an overpowering need to gather her up and take care of her in whatever way she needed, now or forever, he knelt in the open doorway.

  When he put his large hands gently on her face and upper arm, he wouldn't have been surprised if she'd recoiled from him like he was the plague. Instead her hands came up and gripped his. Her fingers were icy. She had blood on her, and he hoped to God it wasn't hers. She turned her head to look at him, her dark eyes a little glassy.

  "O-okay?" she asked. Her teeth were chattering but she touched the cuts on his cheek and jaw, humbling him and giving him another helpless wave of fury.

  "Very okay," he said, his throat thick. "How about you? Are you hurt? Any of that blood yours?"

  She fingered the back of her head. Tyler had opened the other door. At Marius's gesture, he took a closer look at the area she'd been probing. "It's bleeding," he confirmed. "They slammed your head on the pavement when they put you down? Did you black out, even for a second?"

  She nodded. "Y-yeah to the first. No, on the second. Assholes. Nothing else, though. They d-didn't get that far." Her gaze turned to Marius. "You came out. F-fast fight."

  "I didn't want to fight anymore. I just wanted to be with you. I wanted to say I was sorry for being an idiot."

  A ghost of a smile touched her lips, relief showing in her expression. "I should have trusted M-Marguerite. She said you'd figure it out if I j-just gave you some space."

  "I figured it out, thanks to you. Hope she told you that, too." He bent his head to put his lips against her knuckles. She was still shaking and he hated it. He wanted to make her smile some more. "All I could think about was how I wanted to go home, let Dot curl up in my lap while you leaned against me, on the couch. Fall asleep in front of the TV together."

  "That sounds really good to me." She looked at him a little hazily as he unbuckled her seat belt and he and Tyler maneuvered her over to the passenger side with gentle hands. "We're so d-domestic. W-worried about that."

  "We usually start the night with you and the strap-on. I don't think the spark is gone just yet." The thickness in his throat had moved down to his chest as he passed gentle fingers over her bruises. "I wish I'd killed those fucking bastards."

  "Me too. And that I'd helped. B-but you're okay. No more fights. None, you hear me?" She seemed to be rallying, her eyes glittering with the spirit he was used to seeing when she was pissed with him. It was as welcome now as the slick heat of her pussy around his cock. She gripped his forearms. "You w-will work at some crap minimum wage job until you get that nursing degree or p-paramedic certification. You will live with me if you can't make your rent. But n-no more fights. You promise me, here and now."

  "No more fights. Only with you."

  "Okay. I need to...damn it, I need to cry. And a shower. A shower that lasts an hour on a hundred and twenty fucking degrees."

  Tyler wisely withdrew with a long look at Marius that said this was his area. Marius was more than glad of it. He'd take it as a lifelong responsibility if she'd let him.

  He'd slid into the driver's seat, so he pulled her over the gear shift and held her, wanting nothing between them, but this would do for now. As the trembling increased, he ran his hands along her back and arms, then cupped her head tenderly with one hand. "I'm so sorry," he said again, wanting to say so much more, anything that would make it all right.

  "It's okay. We're all fine. You were ccoming home. That's what matters. And you're not going to do that...anymore."

  His heart did a slow roll. "Coming home. I like the sound of that. I never thought I would."

  "That's because you had y-your head up your ass f-for so long. Until I took you in hand."

  "Yes, ma'am. That's true." He pressed a kiss to her forehead, her brows, her nose and lips. Sitting back, he framed her face to kiss away each tear. "I'm so glad you're okay. So glad I came out when I did, though I wish it had been earlier. Wish you hadn't followed me. I was coming to you, Mistress."

  He saw blood spots on his hand where he'd touched her head. That, and a glance at Tyler, standing quietly in the open passenger door, said they needed to get to an Urgent Care. One was fairly close by.

  He'd dropped his touch to her wrists, but immediately let go when she winced. Lifting her forearm, he was ready to commit murder anew when he saw the chain of fingerprint-shaped bruises. But they'd had to hold her down so brutally because she'd fought them so hard. Tough mistress. Amazing woman.

  He knew what he could give her, something even better than his violence. He touched her face to draw her gaze to his, so she could tell he meant it, that it wasn't just the intensity of the situation.

  "I was coming to tell you something else. That maybe...I'm not saying I won't need some help staying on the right track, but you've taught me to trust you. It's time I start earning your trust, letting you know I can do the right things to be a better person for you...and for myself. You mentioned that lady that Marguerite recommended, the retired lady who does counseling. I think maybe...I should start talking to her. What do you think?"

  It was the right call. It pulled her out of that alley and put her in the here and now. Her mouth softened, her heart in her eyes, which choked him up more than he wanted to admit. She'd helped him understand what serving a Mistress meant, what it could be. The more of himself he gave to her, the more she filled him up.

  He could tell it mattered to her, that he'd asked her opinion, and felt like a hero just for having done so. She had that effect on him, too.

  Regina stroked his jaw. "What do I think? I think that you're becoming the man I've always known you are. One I want at my side, and at my back." Her voice had steadied
, another victory.

  He dropped his head and pressed another kiss to her hand, to the abrasions on her wrists, and then lifted his face to her. "You mentioned a shower. After we get you checked out, will you do me the honor of letting me bathe you, Mistress?"

  "We're going home. I'm fine."

  He shook his head even before he saw Tyler's mouth open to issue the same no-go message. "Not going to order me around on that one. Unless your head is hard as mine, a head injury's nothing to fuck around with. You're going, even if I have to carry you through the doors."

  "Oh, really? Think you can get away with that, do you?" She looked down her nose at him, a warning he'd pay for his high-handedness later. But her eyes were warm, her mouth still soft.

  He reached over her, belted her into the seat as Tyler closed the passenger door, a sign he was assured the situation was well in hand. Which also bolstered Marius in ways he hadn't expected. But he kept his main focus on his Mistress. "If you go without a struggle, I'll give you a massage after the shower. I give a pretty good one."

  "Really?" Her brow lifted. "That's a talent you've kept hidden."

  He shrugged and slid his hand under the dark, slim ropes of her hair to fondle her neck, a move that soothed when she did it to him. "Most Mistresses only seemed to want my cock."

  "Well, it's a very fine cock, but that's not why you kept the talent hidden. You wanted to keep it about sex, didn't you?"

  She never let him bullshit her. Even now, she saw through any attempt to do so like she was a human X-ray machine. He bit back a smile. "Yeah. But I'd like to take it a lot farther than that with you, Regina." This time he purposefully used her name, putting them on equal footing. "Be like you said. The sub you can use and enjoy the way we both like...and the man you can depend on. I'll probably still fuck up a lot, but I want to at least say it, so you know I really want to try."

  "Okay." There was a bated pause and she took a shaky breath, one that had him gripping her hand in concern. But she shook her head at him and sent him a watery smile. "Then we're going to start on that right now. I need you to get me through the whole Urgent Care thing and then get me home. Help me get rid of these clothes, and the stink of all of them, and wash me with your strong, warm hands... So when I go to sleep tonight, my head won't take me back there, to that..."

  Tears were spilling down her face, scaring him, enraging him, and making him love her even more. He had his arms around her, his lips on her face, taking the tears away as he kissed the tracks, her lips, all so lightly.

  "I will. I promise. You don't have to think or do anything but rely on me to get you home. To get us both home."

  She might not realize it, but she'd just given him the greatest gift possible. Not just permission to help, to make it better--but the right to do so, to be that man for her.

  "I'll take you home," he said. "And I'll take care of you. Promise."

  Chapter Eighteen

  A Few Months Later

  Marius leaned against the wall of The Zone's public play room, studying the scenes currently in progress. Some interesting needle play was happening at station three. All the Dominant players on the floor were veterans, though Mistress Zee had a relatively new male sub still figuring out his own head. She was showing the right amount of patience with him, taking it slow and staying alert to any cues that he might not be safe wording when he needed to do so.

  Marius shifted his attention to the smaller playroom behind him where a punishment was reaching critical mass on the versatile oak frame housed there. Red marks were multiplying on the bountiful pale ass of the woman bound to it. She was moaning with a mixture of obvious pleasure and reaction to the pain, so she was enjoying the scene, but he'd keep an eye on it because breaking skin was only permitted if approved in advance, and Sir Todd didn't have that clearance.

  Marius didn't anticipate having any problems with him. Todd was a good guy and an intense Master. He just sometimes got caught up in Dom space and had to have a gentle reminder of the rules to bring him down to earth.

  "I'd say about ten more strikes with that thing before one of us has to step in," Alex said, stepping next to him. He kept his voice low to avoid disruption of the sessions.

  "Yeah. You here to relieve me?"

  "Yep. Your shift's up, buddy. Your Mistress said to get your ass to her as soon as you were done. She has plans for it."

  Despite the instant leap of blood, heart and cock, Marius sighed with dramatic effect. "Work, work, work. She's a slave driver."

  "And you're her one and only favorite slave to drive." Alex paused, looking toward Todd's scene. The casual tease took Marius by surprise. Since Marius had come back to work at The Zone a few weeks ago, Alex had been reserved but cordial. Rumor was he was visiting Siren. Not in the dating sense, but as if the man kept checking in on her out of guilt for her state of mind. Marius carried the lion's share of that, and wished he could visit her, but Regina and Tyler had made it clear she wasn't ready for that. At least right now. He sincerely hoped Alex's visits were helping, though.

  He'd pushed up from the wall, ready to take his leave, when the other man spoke.

  "Thanks for saving my job, man. Tyler gave you a second chance for the right reasons. I didn't see that, but since they reinstated you, I've seen the difference." He cleared his throat. "Siren let me read the apology you wrote her. I also heard about the tea party you threw for the Dommes. And the afterparty."

  Marius remembered that afterparty vividly himself, so he was glad Alex didn't expand on it. Though he wished he could ask how Siren had reacted to the apology, his Mistress had forbidden him follow-up of any kind. But Alex did throw him a bone.

  "All good steps, man," the DM said. "My thanks is way overdue, but I mean it. It's good to be working with you again."

  It felt damn good to hear it said straight out, but Alex wasn't done. "I'm sorry I let my feelings for her interfere with my judgment. I should have verified with Regina when she told me Regina knew about the plan. I should have called someone to take over monitoring you when I saw the situation in the other room was going to take longer to resolve. I fucked up on every level. Even with your input, I'm surprised Tyler didn't fire my ass. Not so sure I wouldn't have fired me if I was in his shoes."

  Marius shook his head. "You were trying to help out a Mistress you cared about, who needed to get her confidence back. You didn't realize how far she was going to take it that night. So you deserved the second chance far more than I ever did. If we're talking degrees of asshole."

  Alex digested the comment. "Just so you always remember who's the bigger asshole of the two of us," he advised.

  That was that. The switch flipped, male conflict resolution accomplished in that simple way that always mystified women. He and Alex were good again. Nothing else necessary but male razzing.

  "I know a Mistress or two who'd be willing to don an elephant dick strap-on and stretch yours out some."

  Alex chuckled. "Yeah, that's never happening. You sub boys have bigger balls than I do."

  "Don't you forget it. Pussy." Grinning, Marius gave him a nod and headed toward the exit to the public play area. He paused at the door, though, doing Alex the professional courtesy of keeping an eye on the other sessions as he moved to talk to Master Todd. When the Dom nodded agreeably and put down the whip to pick up a soft flogger instead, Alex came back to the post where he had a full view of all scenes and gave Marius a thumbs-up. He was clear.

  Management had hired Marius back, but he wasn't a full member again. And he wouldn't be, by his own choice. He was part of Regina's family membership, a membership dependent on her being his Mistress and him always being in her company when at The Zone on his leisure time. He had no interest in playing with anyone but her, unless it was under her direction and driven by her desire.

  That had been part of what the counselor had helped him understand. He needed the structure of that one-on-one relationship, the safety of it. Learning how to handle one very important relationship a
nd all its many variables was plenty to manage. Except for that afterparty Alex had mentioned, Regina rarely invited another Mistress into their play. When she did, she remained in control. As long as that constant never changed, he was good with that. He'd learned it was okay to put his hard limits out there. His Mistress encouraged him in that, made him feel proud of himself for doing so, for not risking his soul to prove he could be more badass than was good for their relationship, or himself.

  Marius had advocated for Siren as he had for Alex. While Tyler had heard him out and thanked him, she'd still been expelled. It had bugged Marius deeply enough that Regina had made a point of helping him understand why Tyler and the other owners had made the decision. And that had led to the things Alex had just mentioned. The apology, tea party...the after party.

  As he moved through the club now, Marius remembered that conversation. They'd been out on Regina's sunporch on a Sunday morning, shortly after the ruling about Siren had been made. Regina had made him breakfast and then ordered him to strip out of everything but his collar and bracelet. Following her commands, he'd lain on the cushions of the chaise lounge on his stomach, soaking up the sun on his backside. She'd said him being naked enhanced her view of the canal, as she propped her feet on his bare ass and read a book. But at length, she'd realized he was stewing about The Zone decision, and had set the book aside...

  "I'm not going to ask why it bothers you so much," she said quietly, fixing her gaze upon his brooding face. "Because I do understand that. But maybe you're too focused on your own need to make reparations, and missing that the decision was a necessary one."

  He had his arm over the side of the lounge to play with Dot, moving his finger in circles around the tile floor while she batted at it. "But Alex didn't lose his job."

  "No, he didn't. He should have, and probably would have, if not for you, and a couple other factors Tyler took into consideration." His Mistress's lips pursed, her eyes flashing.

  He rocked his hips, moving his ass under the soles of her feet to tease her. "He's a good guy. You really should forgive him, Mistress."