Truly helpless, p.9
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       Truly Helpless, p.9

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

  Careful, girl. Don't fuck with your own head. He'll do enough of that without your help.

  "Meet me there and I'll tell you." Setting the pen aside, she laid a hand on the side of his face. "Get some rest. Take care of yourself."

  When he tried to clasp her arm, she drew back and shook her head, a denial. His lips set in a thin line. "That a command, Mistress?" he asked tonelessly.

  "Take it however you want."

  He curled his fingers around the edge of the table, body leaning forward, eyes suddenly cold and hard. "It wouldn't matter anyway, since you don't really like me."

  "No. I don't," she responded frankly. "But I care about you. That doesn't require that I like you."

  Maggie O'Day was a woman of considerable wealth. Currently in her seventies, she'd decided a decade ago to establish "The Preserve," a Dommes-only playground of over seventy-five acres. The property was populated by trails and woods perfectly suited for primal scenes, slave hunts and capture fantasies. The two roomy barns were stocked with stalls and a few carriages for pony play, adjacent to a dirt track for Mistresses to race their "ponies." Covered shelters scattered throughout the property offered other outdoor setup options for equipment, or there was a fully stocked dungeon room in the "clubhouse," along with sitting areas, kitchen and wide screen TVs with full cable hookups. A library of adult films catered to female tastes.

  Like The Zone, The Preserve's membership was intended to weed out dabblers. The vetting process was handled by Maggie's savvy personal assistant and collared slave, Emile, but Maggie always had final say and reviewed his every recommendation. If she took a shine to a Mistress of lesser means, she would offer a membership proportionate with the woman's income. She'd been known to say, "I don't really need the money, but people appreciate what they have to pay for or earn. If they don't," she'd add, "they'll be out the door. With my size ten Army boot up their asses."

  Maggie had been out as a lesbian since her teens, and was a vast resource of laywoman history on lesbian rights and struggles to be accepted by mainstream society. She was also a strong champion of women in general. From the beginning, The Preserve welcomed Dommes, gay or straight, but the only men allowed through the gates were submissives under the supervision of a specific Domme. "Children must be accompanied by an adult," Maggie would quip. The men and women who maintained the grounds were all submissives and slaves loyal and bound to Maggie.

  She'd imposed The Preserve's gender restrictions with an unapologetic and succinct explanation. "Girls need a place to be girls." Twice a year, she held an eclectic fertility festival that also honored the Greek poet Sappho. Regina was on the invitation list, along with about a hundred other Dommes Maggie counted as her friends. They could each bring their chosen subs for a weekend of fun, frolicking and debauched revelry.

  But Maggie believed in committed relationships, and it concerned her that Regina didn't have one. Sometimes her grandmother and mother side emerged, as much a part of her matriarchal personality as her Mistress traits. At the last event, Regina recalled Maggie cornering her about her long-term relationship plans.

  "You like the challenging ones, but you train them to be better for the next Mistress and don't keep them for yourself. You're looking for the right one, aren't you?" The older woman had adopted a dramatic tone, clasping her hands over her heart. "Your soulmate."

  "Maggie, if you're taken, there's no one else for me," Regina teased her. But fueled by fertility festival moonshine, she'd allowed some truth to come out. "Nothing wrong with having my own personal treasure hunt. I'm happy single, but when I find him, I'll know he's who I want."

  Maggie had sighed and hugged her. "Dumb, sentimental bitch. Just don't be too picky."

  Regina smiled at the memory, but the smile disappeared as she thought about Marius. She might be a little more absorbed in him than her recent past engagements. But that didn't translate to him being "it," "the one," or choose the romance novel term of choice. She'd committed to this much, this day, and she'd see where it went. If he even showed up.

  When she pulled up to The Preserve's gate at 6:30, he was waiting. That was a mark for him, his understanding that she wouldn't take any disrespect up front tonight. If he'd been even a minute late, she would have turned the car around and been on her way. So he'd decided to see where this was going to go. Or he wasn't giving up on the question and challenge she presented, seeing whether he could fuck with her the way he did other Mistresses.

  He'd healed up some. The bruises from the face shots weren't so purplish, and the cut from Killjoy's ring had scabbed over. However, he'd still be feeling some aches and pains from the overall battering, and she'd use the physical and emotional effects of those for her own purposes.

  He'd shaved earlier in the day, and wore jeans and a button-down dress shirt. Southern straight white boy's way of "dressing up" for a girl on a casual date. It didn't displease her.

  She rolled down her window and gestured. He came to her, a saunter of motion that was part deliberate cockiness and part just the way a man moved who was in superior shape. A fighter, who walked light on his feet with full awareness of his physical capabilities. She'd been around cops and former military who had that vibe, but there was a different quality to it for Marius. His version had an edge, like he'd honed the skills for personal survival and retaliation, not protection and specific service to a cause greater than himself.

  He looked good, though. No matter his fucked-up nature, Marius had a body meant to be used hard by a Mistress. If she got nothing else out of this, she would get that. But he was more than willing to provide that to any Mistress who hooked up with him at The Zone. Maggie was right. She was looking for more. If she didn't find more than that tonight, she'd probably be done with this.

  "Mistress." He spoke the one word as a greeting.

  "Marius. Are you familiar with The Preserve?"

  "Heard of it. Never been here."

  "Follow me in. There's parking at the clubhouse. I'll take you where we're going from there on foot."

  She rolled up her window and eased forward to the gate. In her rearview, she saw him pause and then move to his car. He'd probably expected more chitchat. She saw no reason to delay the program she wanted to execute tonight. Until then, the only thing she'd be getting out of his mouth was bullshit.

  Yesterday, she'd stocked the area she would be using with the equipment and supplies needed, so it left her hands free as she exited her car. When he left his own to join her, Marius looked at her like she looked at a cupcake. He didn't try to hide his interest in a deeper exploration of her body, showcased in snug jeans and a red tank that clung and caressed her curves. A ruby pendant winked in her cleavage, drawing his gaze there.

  "Seen enough?" she asked tartly.

  "Not nearly. Mistress." He added it with a grin she wanted to slap off his face, but she logged the data it gave her. The smile at the fight, that lopsided gesture when he'd told her his favorite flavor of Jell-O? That had been real. This wasn't.

  "Does it get exhausting?" she asked. "Always playing a part? Or do people falling for it energize you? In the right kind of way?"

  She meant it seriously, not in anger. Though he didn't appear to expect that, he shrugged in answer. Letting it go for now, she strode up the dirt road to the nearest barn. Once there, she led him down the wide corridor of stalls to the one at the end, next to her personal supply cabinet.

  She saw him noting the tack mounted on the wall, the array of combs and brushes. His expression became wooden. Stoic.

  "Are you familiar with pony play?"

  "Yeah. Done a little bit. I'm not usually a fave for the pony play Mistresses. I don't get into it the way they want. Just because I'm hung like a horse doesn't mean I know how to be one."

  She rolled her eyes. "Your cock has the proportions to please a woman, but I've had subs who are hung like a horse. They'd put you to shame."

  "So why aren't you with them?" he asked with a touch of belligerence that made h
er hide a smile.

  "Because it's not about size." She drew him into the stall that had a knee-high wooden platform covered by a rubber mat. An array of rings were driven into the platform to allow for tie-down straps. "Take off your clothes and get on your hands and knees on the dais."

  "Just like that? No preliminaries, no talk of safe words?"

  She moved toward the shelf of supplies. "I've watched you plenty at the club. You don't ask for limits, and you never volunteer a safe word. A Mistress can impose one on you, but you never use it, so why would I waste my energy? What I'm going to do to you here won't be half as physically demanding as other sessions I've seen you handle." She arched a brow. "Or are you asking for a little romancing? You don't seem the type to need pointless reassurance."

  "A woman who thinks romance is pointless reassurance." His voice was dry. "Sure I haven't died and landed in male heaven?"

  "I haven't killed anyone in a session, but there's always a first. Enough chatting. Clothes off and on the platform, hands and knees."

  She pulled a stool over and took a seat, hooking a boot heel over one of the slats as she crossed her arms and leaned back against a pole. He stopped in the act of unbuttoning his shirt. "You like to watch, Mistress? Want me to make it a strip tease?"

  She shook her head. "Take off your clothes the way you do it when you're alone, Marius. Are you capable of not performing?"

  Tossing her a cheeky grin, he started to swivel his hips, like a male stripper. Sighing, she rose and put the stool aside, turning toward her supply cabinet.

  "Okay. Jesus. Fine, I'll do it the way you want. Boring."

  "I don't have patience for second chances or attitude, Marius. Let me know when you're on the platform the way I ordered you to do it, or head back to your car."

  She perused her liniment choices and thought the one with eucalyptus would be excellent. She ignored his grumbling, because she'd made enough of an impact he kept it low so she couldn't hear the words. She would have liked very much to watch him undress, shrug out of the shirt, wriggle the jeans off his hips, hook the underwear beneath and drop it to the floor, showing off the whole man. But the first part was often like this, both of them having to be denied until he got with the program.

  She hadn't considered her previous pet projects easy--pun intended--but he was already more of a challenge than any of those had been. She wasn't going to anticipate it going in a right direction any time soon. Hearing him kick the clothes to the corner with definite attitude, she was certain of it.

  "I always figured the Mistresses who are into this never got their birthday pony from Daddy," he said. "I'm on the platform. Buck naked, by the way. On hands and knees."

  She hummed a note of acknowledgement, but selected and arranged her supplies to her satisfaction before she at last turned.

  Oh, Lord, what a fine creation You have made. It was something her mother said when she saw a particularly good-looking specimen of manhood.

  Marius was in an acceptable hands and knees posture on the raised platform. Head up, eyes forward, back straight, knees spread to shoulder width, palms braced flat, weight distributed evenly. The position showcased the layers of muscle over his ribcage. Hip bones and ribs were more prominent in this position, making her wonder if he fueled his muscles with protein shakes rather than actual food. His buttocks were taut and begging to be marked, his thigh muscles flexing as he shifted. Siren's marks were still there among the fight bruises, but fading. She wished they were gone. She wanted a blank canvas, no evidence of another Mistress's hand upon him.

  The hair on his neck was groomed to a small point. He'd gotten a haircut. It had been longer, spikier, at the fight.

  Picking up a handful of short straps, she ran them over his knees, calves and ankles, fixing them to the rings embedded in the platform to restrain his legs. Cuffs around his wrists were likewise snapped to rings. The cuffs were a temporary measure, but would limit his ability to quickly resist what she had in mind next.

  He was watching her closely out of his peripheral vision. She'd take care of that, but first she'd put the piece on him that was most difficult for her to add without betraying her emotions. A collar wasn't part of the usual tack she used for pony play, but something told her she should use it on Marius, as another essential way to alter his headspace.

  Maggie wasn't entirely wrong about Regina looking for a particular kind of sub. Or being picky. Regina merely refused to settle for less than what she wanted. A lot of women did it and made it work for them. They figured out how to chisel pieces of themselves away to fit with a lover who likewise chiseled at himself to make that fit happen. It could be a lovely way to show love growing and adapting.

  The problem was--no. She wasn't going to call it a problem. It wasn't a problem to be a woman who was enough for herself. She liked every bit of who she was, and had never met the man who made her want to adapt any of that to his nooks and crannies. If she found one who did, she'd expect a similar sacrifice from him, a meeting in the middle. If she didn't, she could live every fascinating, glorious moment of this life without a lover at her side. But that resolve didn't mean she didn't want to find that man.

  As a Mistress, she wanted to collar a sub and call him her own forever. It was one of the deepest wishes she had, and one she'd never said aloud to anyone. When she put a collar on such a man, she'd finally let her fingers tremble, her heart leap. She'd trust him enough to let him see her eyes and mouth go soft with need.

  Every time she buckled a collar on a sub, it reminded her of that soul-deep wish. With Marius, she wanted to keep her fingers under the strap, hold and tug him to her lips. Indulge in his sweet mouth, feel his hunger grow with hers.

  To keep that compulsion at bay while she strapped the collar around Marius's thick, corded neck, she ran through her domestic to-do list. The Mercedes needed to be serviced. She should add detergent and dark cherries to the weekly online grocery order. Her fingertips might be lingering on the faint rasp of a few hours' growth of beard, but that was permissible.

  It was done. She withdrew her touch. Aware of his gaze on her face, she tugged his hair, an absent affection, though what she really wanted to do was take a handful and yank his head back. She'd pull on his scalp, letting him feel the sharp edge of her nails.

  Shifting behind him, she ran a hand down his back, slow, learning the shape of him, all the way over the rise of his ass.

  "You could keep going," he said. "I'd prefer to feel your hand on my cock rather than any of this horse stuff."

  "Hmm." She brought the additional tack to the platform. First the shoulder harness, which she enjoyed securing over that broad terrain. Then the saddle. She cinched the chest strap but left the one that went across the abdomen dangling, for now. And resisted the compulsion to reach beneath him and caress his cock, aroused and stiff. His erection had grown from the moment she started to restrain him, but a significant extra jump had happened when she'd put the collar on him. It probably explained the mouthing off. He didn't want her to notice that.

  Tough, baby. I notice everything.

  She picked up another piece of tack with a clink of metal, the straps falling together as she lifted it. She asked him to open up the same way she would a horse. Not with words.

  Inserting her thumb in the corner of his mouth, she pushed the bit against his teeth. Before he could resist, she'd forced the piece back to the furthest set of molars it could reach and tightened the head straps to keep it there. When he tried to pull away from her, she merely jerked his head down, forcing him to an elbow while she finished the adjustments. The bit had a port, a flat piece to keep his tongue from getting over the bit. It also enhanced the bit's ability to prohibit speech.

  "Now, where was I?" she mused. "Before my horse decided he was Mr. Ed and could talk?"

  What she was doing wasn't going to work. Marius wasn't into this pony bullshit. He wasn't going to "become a horse" just because she slapped tack on him like one. He for sure wasn't going to l
et go of the million-and-one calculations his brain was doing to stay on top of the situation.

  She connected the rings of the bit to cross ties hooked to his left and right on the wall in front of him. Now he couldn't turn his head. She returned to the supply cabinet, because he could hear the faint squeak of the doors as she opened them and slid something off a shelf.

  "Here we go." She hung a mirror on the wall in front of him. It was like a locker mirror, about a foot square, but it let him see what she was putting on his head.

  He'd seen the full pony masks employed at the club, which were mostly featureless. This was not that. This was a custom-made fetish piece. As she slid it over his face, the mirror before him showed a proud stallion. The rakish fall of mane and the molding of the features around the eyes and long nose conveyed a badass attitude. The decorative browband across the forelock was embellished with silver chain and spikes.

  The mask blocked his peripheral vision. Now he could only see directly in front of him. The mirror provided him a scant few inches of rear view on either side.

  "Yeah, you're realizing I've taken care of those wandering eyes, haven't you?" Her fingertips slid down the valley between his shoulder blades. "Putting blinders on a horse narrows his distractions, minimizes what makes him nervous."

  He wasn't nervous. If she couldn't read him any better than that...

  "You'd deny this makes you nervous, and I'd agree. That's not the word I'd use for you. Any emotions you perceive as weak--nervous, afraid, defensive--you merely channel into aggression, taking the offensive tactic. You seek the high ground, in the battle sense, not the moral one. It's what a predator does."

  She used additional straps to secure the mask to the harness she'd put around his shoulders, and did the same with the saddle, so it couldn't slide back.

  Her fingers slid over the collar on his throat as she did that, but didn't linger. He'd looked for some hint of her feelings about putting that piece on him, because most Mistresses went a little starry-eyed over it, even if they only intended to keep him for a night. He hadn't picked up anything from her but efficiency in getting the task done. She appeared so not-engaged in the act, she could have been going through a laundry list in her head. A stab of disappointment about that irritated him. Why should he care? He didn't get starry-eyed over that kind of shit, either.