Headmaster, p.2Part #2 of Lessons From the Rack series by Tara Sue Me
Andie nodded. “He would according to the gossip I hear from the students in the kitchen.”
“I bet you hear a lot.” Marie shook her head. “But all that stopped after he met Winnie. They hit it off right away and that was all she wrote. From then on it was Winnie and Lennox.”
“Did she know how you felt about him?”
“I don’t know. I never told her that I had admired him from afar or that I had a crush on him. Besides, he never looked at me the way he looked at Winnie. And that hasn’t changed.”
So why hadn’t she given up? Why was she still half in love with him after all these years? Why had she jumped at the chance to work at his academy when he called her up and offered her a job so soon after its completion?
Because some part of her held on to the hope that someday he would want her, that he might desire her in that same way.
“There’s no delicate way to ask this,” Andie said. “So I’ll just be blunt. What does he do for sex? I mean, I find it hard to believe he’s been celibate for so long.”
Mariela knew she wasn’t able to hide either her wince or the bitterness in her voice. “I can’t say for sure, but I know he heads to the mainland a few times a month. It’s always overnight on a Friday and he’s back on Saturday. I assume that’s what he’s doing. Though I don’t know anything about who he might be meeting there.”
She’d thought about sneaking out to spy on him, follow him to see where he went.
“There’s no good way to follow him,” Andie said. Obviously her mind was as devious as Mariela’s. “Since it’s an island, he’d see another boat behind him.” She thought for a second and snapped her fingers. “I know! Have you thought about telling him you need to go to the mainland? That way you can ride the boat with him and maybe follow him when you get off?”
“Yes, but then I think about being on the boat with him. Knowing, or at least being fairly certain of, what he’s getting ready to do . . .” She shook her head. “I can’t do it. I can’t be so close to him, knowing that there’s another woman waiting for him on the other side.”
“I can understand that.”
“I can’t help but wonder about her. Is it always the same woman? Or does he have a handful that he rotates through? What’s the sex like? Is it rough? Does he dominate her, just a little? Or is it strictly vanilla?”
“You have to stop. You can’t torture yourself like that.”
But Mariela couldn’t stop—and it felt so good to be able to share her thoughts with someone else, she didn’t want to stop. “And then, after I ask all those questions, I look in the mirror and ask myself, why not me? Is it so impossible that he could find something in me to interest him?”
“Because you’re worth more than that and you deserve better. You want to be more than a convenient way for a man to scratch an itch.”
“I can’t help but think that sometimes maybe scratching the itch is enough. I mean, it’s more than I’m doing now.”
Andie pressed her lips together in a line. It was so hard for Mariela to believe that a few months ago, Andie had enrolled at the academy as a virgin. Now she was sitting in Mariela’s office offering her sex advice. The universe was certainly funny sometimes.
“I know what you need,” Andie finally said with a nod. “Yes, indeed. This is perfect.”
“I can’t wait to hear, Oh, Wise One,” Mariela said, and she was teasing, just a little.
“Joke all you want, but this is foolproof.”
Mariela lifted an eyebrow.
“You need a plan,” Andie said confidently. “A master plan of seduction.”
Holy hell and a half, Marie knew him! Okay, truthfully, she’d never met him, but she knew who he was. Lennox MacLure. Real estate mogul. Except she had an odd look on her face when she admitted she knew who he was, like there was more to the story than that. But she wouldn’t tell me. I didn’t understand, she’d never withheld information from me before.
Then she told me he wasn’t my type. Well, screw her. She only said that because she wanted him for herself. I could tell by the way she looked at him. But the thing was, I knew she wouldn’t do anything about it, so I decided to march up to him and introduce myself.
On a scale of one to ten, Mariela put the idea of a seduction plan at around a six. She didn’t think anything too scripted would work. Besides, hadn’t she been working from a plan for the last couple of years?
But Andie looked undeterred. In fact, she looked downright excited.
“Where’s some paper?” Andie jumped off the loveseat and jogged to the desk. “And a pen. We have to write this down.”
Mariela found she couldn’t roll her eyes and tell her to drop it. Poor Andie was way too positive this plan would be the thing that turned Lennox around. No, she couldn’t tell her to stop, but she could tell her the truth.
“I really don’t think this is going to work,” Mariela said. “Trust me. I’ve done it all.”
“Not like this you haven’t.” Andie had found a pad of paper and turned to a clean page. “You see, I bet you’ve always worked on trying to get Lennox to notice you.”
“Isn’t that the point?”
“Eventually. But what we need first is for him to understand that he needs to accept his Dominant nature.” Andie wrote furiously on the paper.
Mariela had to admit it sounded like a good place to start. And, truth be told, she hadn’t approached Lennox from that angle. It might be worth at least hearing Andie’s plan. “Go on.”
“He’s a man,” Andie spoke without looking up. “So we have to keep in mind that whatever we do, you need to let him think it’s his idea. He’ll balk if he realizes it’s someone else’s plan.”
“That’s a man for you.”
“Exactly. The second thing to remember is we have to take baby steps. No big leaps. He isn’t going to go from nothing to a full-fledged scene, you know?”
Mariela nodded, a bubble of excitement starting to grow in her belly. “Makes sense.”
“The third and last thing before we get into the actual plan is that we have to expect setbacks and not let them get us down.”
“That’s a hard one.”
“Right. But probably the most important.” Andie looked up. “You’ve said he’s been in denial for a long time and that means his patterns of behavior are seriously ingrained. Setbacks are going to happen.”
She knew Andie was right, but she also knew how hard it was not to feel discouraged when he acted cold toward her. She had to remember she was in this for the long haul.
“I guess when any setbacks crop up, I’ll have you here to support me and not let me quit.”
“Now you’re starting to get the idea.” Andie had a mischievous gleam in her eye. “Now, step one. Do you think he needs to direct a scene?”
Mariela shook her head. “I think we need an even smaller first baby step. I’m not sure the last time he watched a scene.”
Andie gave a low whistle. “That bad?” At Mariela’s nod of confirmation, she continued. “Okay. So step one should be him watching a scene.”
“We should jot down any ideas we have for how we’re going to accomplish these things.”
“Yes.” Andie wrote something else down. “I think that one should be relatively easy. We have the new students coming in. We can arrange for all the instructors to be busy and he’s the only one who can be in the classroom making sure no one gets hurt.”
“Yes, that’s the perfect first step. It’ll be just far enough outside his comfort zone to stretch him, but not so far that he’ll have to refuse.”
“This is going to work. I can feel it.”
“I hope so.” Mariela had to admit, it was the most optimistic she’d been in a long time. Heaven alone knew why she hadn’t given up hope entirely way before now. She’d actually tried to break away once. She left for the summer two years ago, never planning to return to the islan
“Step two is him directing a scene?”
“I think so.”
“Possible ideas are either do something with the students again or maybe Fulton can approach him about something involving us. We don’t want to use the students too much or he might catch on.”
“You’re going to bring Fulton into this?” She wasn’t sure what the Master Professor would think.
“Maybe not the whole game plan, but definitely some parts of it. I think if it were only the two of us, Lennox might catch on that we’re up to something, but if we bring Fulton in?”
“Okay, you have a point.”
“Should we ask him how he feels after each step?”
“If we do, it has to be in a roundabout manner. You know, something like, ‘Oh my god, are you okay?’ More that kind of thing instead of, ‘Tell me how it felt when the Dom used the flogger the way you asked.’”
Because Mariela knew how the latter would go. She could hear him. “Not another damn therapy session, Marie.”
Andie tapped the pen on the pad. “See? Here’s where it gets a bit iffy. After he directs a scene, what’s the next step? Will he be ready to be an active participant in one?”
“Smaller baby steps,” Mariela reminded her. “I say we find a way to have him assist in a scene. That way he’s not the lead, and if we make it that it’s his idea, he’s only helping. In his mind, that would be far different than being in a scene for his own pleasure.”
“Good point, and it may be that we have him assist in several scenes before we think about trying to set him up on one where he’s the only Dom.”
Mariela nodded. “We’ll have to play that part by ear. Adjust if needed.”
“Yes, and hopefully, by the time he’s assisted in a few scenes, he’ll be ready to play one-on-one. We can see how things are going and decide if we want to bring another submissive in or if you want to do it.”
Would they even get to that point? Mariela had her doubts. Sure, the plan looked good on paper, but there were so many pieces and so many things along the way that could go wrong. Plus the big question mark was how was Lennox going to act? If at any point he made up his mind he didn’t want to do something, there would be no persuading him and the plan would go straight to hell.
“You’re worried,” Andie said. “Don’t be. We have this all under control. And with the two of us as masterminds, I promise it won’t be long before you have him eating out of your hands.”
“I hope so.” But she still wasn’t sure.
“I don’t even want to know what you two are plotting, do I?” Fulton asked from the doorway.
“Probably not,” Andie replied. “Probable deniability and all that.”
“Probable deniability? Lord help me, woman, you aren’t going to have us wind up in jail, are you?”
“Oh no. I’m not planning anything illegal,” Andie said.
“Let me ask another question. You aren’t going to get us fired, are you?”
“Mmm.” Andie put a finger to her lips. “That’s more likely than jail time, but still an unlikely possibility.”
He crossed his arms and cocked an eyebrow at his sub.
Andie held her hand up, as if taking an oath. “I hereby solemnly swear, I am planning something for the betterment of mankind and, if it goes according to plan, it will improve the academy as well. Trust me.”
“Okay, but if I hear anything that sounds remotely like it’s a bad idea, you’re going to tell me everything.”
“Mariela?” Fulton asked.
She blinked innocently. “I can neither confirm nor deny I have anything to do with this.”
“You don’t have to confirm it, it’s written all over your face.”
“Damn, and I thought I washed that off this morning.”
Andie ripped the paper she’d been writing on from the pad, folded it, and handed it to Mariela. “So,” she said, looking at Fulton, who didn’t miss the handoff. “What’s up?”
He looked at his watch. “We need to head out if we’re going to have dinner at that place on the mainland you wanted to try and still have time to run by the market and get back before dark.”
Andie looked at Mariela. “Date night before the staff comes back.”
She waved the couple out the door. “You two go. Have fun. Get a hotel room for the night if you want.”
But Andie hesitated, looking up at Fulton and asking a silent question. He nodded.
“You could come with us if you wanted to. Just dinner and the market,” Andie said.
“You just said it was date night, so no. I won’t intrude. Besides, I don’t like the mainland.”
Though she thought it was awfully nice of Andie to think of her, she’d been the third wheel enough. A lifetime of memories threatened to overtake her, but she forced them back into the past where they belonged. No more. She had promised herself she would never be the third wheel again.
And it wasn’t a lie that she didn’t like the mainland. It would be just fine for her to never leave the island again. The mainland held too many memories. On the island, it was easier to shove them away and leave them in the past. But the mainland was a different story. On the mainland, they would refuse to stay buried.
Maybe it made her weak. Maybe it said something about her character, but regardless, she wasn’t going to face them today.
“If you’re sure?” Andie slid her hand in Fulton’s. He leaned down and whispered in her ear. Probably about how she rarely left the island. She’d told Fulton and Andie part of her history with Lennox and Winnie, but she’d left out that part. Fulton would know, though. Simply from working with her for years.
“Positive. I’ll be just fine here. I have some work I need to take care of and a few plans to think through.” She gave Andie a wink.
“Okay. Bye!” Andie called over her shoulder as Fulton led her out the door. Mariela couldn’t help but smile as Andie giggled over something Fulton said. Those two were made for each other. You only had to look at them together to see it.
Mariela sat down with a sigh and straightened out the paper Andie had jotted their plan on. Would it work? Was it enough to revive a long dormant Dom? And if so, was it enough to possibly have him notice her in a sexual way for the first time? Why did she possibly think this would work now when nothing she’d ever tried in the past had?
She sat staring at the paper for a long time, and it wasn’t until she heard footsteps in the hallway outside that she realized it was Friday night.
And Lennox was headed to the mainland.
• • •
LENNOX DIDN’T MISS the fact that Mariela was still in her office as he walked down the hall on his way out of the academy. He had waited until Fulton and Andie left because he didn’t want to be on the same boat with them. He thought briefly about stopping and apologizing to Marie, but decided not to. Considering where he was going, he didn’t think it wise to see her first. Maybe that made him a coward, but he knew he’d either see pity or disgust in her eyes and he didn’t think he could bear either.
If he stopped and thought about it, he might feel bad. That’s why he kept moving. He viewed his Friday nights off the island as a necessary evil. Something he had to do to ensure he didn’t give in to his Dominant tendencies.
Because he knew he could not give in, he could not let the beast inside of him go. Could not set it free. Therefore, he had to do the next best thing. And that was to release his sexual tension with a willing woman, one he had no claim on.
He wasn’t proud of his nights away from the island, but he had long ago decided they were better than the alternative. Because he could in no way allow too much time to pass between nights where he sought some kind of physical satisfaction.
As he normally did when traveling on personal business, he bypassed the academy boat and took his own. Once he was on his way and plowing through the water, he though
Headmaster by Tara Sue Me / Romance & Love have rating 4.1 out of 5 / Based on45 votes