The master, p.3
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       The Master, p.3

         Part #8 of Submissive series by Tara Sue Me
 

  “I’m a writer,” he said. “As such, I place a lot of weight on the written word. I want you to spend time putting your thoughts down on paper. Every day. I’ll read over it, but whatever and however you decide to write is up to you, although sometimes I’ll give you specific assignments. I expect those writings to be both insightful and grammatically correct.”

  She brushed her fingers over the clothbound book with a frown. Writing was not her favorite thing to do, and she’d always struggled with grammar. “You mean you’ll grade it?”

  “Something like that.” His voice somehow held both humor and warning at the same time. “You don’t appear to like the idea of writing. Give it some time before forming an opinion. Many people find writing to be therapeutic. Have you ever written about your BDSM journey?”

  Her frown deepened. Her therapist had suggested writing, but she’d never gotten around to actually doing it. Now it looked as if she no longer had a choice. “No,” she answered with a sigh. “Never.”

  “Then you may find out you enjoy it.”

  Abby journaled, she remembered. Did it so well and for so long, she was actually making it a career now. That would never happen with her.

  She shook her head. “I have a feeling it’ll only confirm I don’t like it.” Especially if he was going to grade it. What would he do, break out a red pen? Make her stand in the corner if she made a bad grade? Spank her?

  Spank her. Oh . . .

  The thought of Cole pushing her over his knee for a spanking made her face feel hot. Her breathing sped up, and a dull ache began to throb between her legs. She shifted in her seat to try and alleviate it.

  “Well, now.” He sat across from her, eyes fixed on what she was doing. “That must have been a very interesting thought you had. What was it, Sasha?”

  She didn’t want to tell him. Didn’t want to let him know how much the thought of him spanking her turned her on.

  She leaned forward over the table. “I could say it’s nothing, but if I do, I’m sure you’ll see right through me and potentially strip the word ‘nothing’ from my vocabulary as well. Will you let me just say it was an embarrassing personal revelation I’d rather not share at the moment?”

  His forehead wrinkled while he considered her request, and her hands grew sweaty at the thought that he might ask her to share anyway. But right when she’d accepted that she would have to swallow her pride and admit how much the thought of him spanking her turned her on, his expression relaxed.

  “Yes, we can leave it at that. I recognize I haven’t earned your trust yet. You may keep your secrets. For now.”

  She shuddered. His for now left her with no ambiguity: there would come a time when he would ask for her secrets. She only hoped that when that day came, she was ready to give them.

  • • •

  Cole watched as the meaning of his words became clear to Sasha and he hid a smile at her reaction. He could tell she would be a complex puzzle to solve. There was little evidence of the timid submissive he witnessed last night, probably due to her lack of sleep and the informal protocol he insisted on at the start of their discussion. He liked the fact she seemed slightly more at ease with him and hoped it continued even when she had a full night’s sleep.

  “I’ll allow you that concession,” he said. “But there are a few things I will be less than inclined to compromise on.”

  “I’m willing to take those things under consideration,” she said in a tone that left him with no doubt that submissive or not, Sasha knew a thing or two about negotiation. That knowledge pleased him. He meant what he said when he told her a woman had to be strong to submit to him.

  He wondered, not for the first time, what had been going through her mind that eventful night with Peter. Secrets. He would have hers eventually.

  He took the sheet of paper on top of the pile to his right and passed it across the table to her. “My preferences.”

  “You wrote them down?” she asked, looking over the list.

  “I find there’s less confusion if everything is clearly spelled out.”

  “Were you a lawyer in a previous life?”

  He laughed. “No, I’ve probably always been a writer.” Before she could read the entire list, he wanted to talk through it. “To begin with, I don’t want you to orgasm without my permission.”

  The paper slipped to the table. “I can’t . . . you don’t want . . . I’m sorry, what?”

  “I believe it’s a common requirement.”

  “Yes, but last night you said you weren’t . . . that we . . .”

  “Right.” He dropped his voice. “I said I wasn’t going to fuck you. However, I never said I wouldn’t reward you appropriately.”

  Her cheeks turned the faintest shade of pink, and she replied with a soft, “Oh.”

  “Likewise, I never said I wouldn’t punish you when necessary. There’s more information later in the document.” He picked the paper up and handed it to her. “Item two.”

  She quickly scanned the section in question.

  “You were injured physically in a scene,” he said. “Coming to terms with that, learning to deal with it, takes time and trust in your partner. During our time together, I will never touch you without telling you beforehand, and I’ll tell you where I’ll touch you.”

  Her forehead wrinkled as she thought through his words. Quite possibly she understood why he would put something like that in place, but was unsure about how it would work.

  He held out his hand. “Place your hand in mine, little one.”

  Tentatively, she reached across the table and put her hand on top of his.

  “Palm up, please.”

  She hesitated briefly. Putting her hand palm up made her feel more vulnerable; that’s why he had her do it. Her fingers trembled as she flipped her hand over.

  “Thank you.” He was humbled with the small measure of trust her action showed. “I’m going to trace your palm with a finger from my other hand.”

  He kept his gaze locked on hers as he brought his other hand to the top of the table. Ever so slowly, he dragged a finger across the base of her thumb. She sucked in a breath and looked over his shoulder to the wall behind him. He was pleased his touch affected her so.

  His finger swept the other way. “I need you to understand I will always do what I say I’ll do, but nothing more.”

  She nodded.

  “What’s your safe word, Sasha?”

  She had no trouble finding her tongue when it came to safe words. “Green for more. Yellow to slow down. Red to stop.”

  “Good, nice and easy.” His finger continued stroking her palm. “During your retraining, I will never take away your ability to speak. I know Nathaniel had you fill out a checklist recently, but I’m going to have you complete another one. You should know, even if you don’t mark gags as a hard limit, they aren’t something I’m going to use on you.” He smiled. “Consider it one of my hard limits.”

  Her head snapped back so she could look at him. Interesting. So she was surprised at that particular hard limit. He wondered why it came as a surprise to her that he wouldn’t use a gag. Frankly, he wasn’t sure if she’d ever be at the point where she’d be comfortable playing with gags again.

  He hoped his honesty in both how and when he would touch her as well as his insistence on not using gags would be a step closer toward gaining her trust. He wanted her to understand that though he might have a reputation as a bastard in the playroom, he wasn’t heartless.

  “Thank you,” she finally whispered to him.

  “A Dominant must have hard limits just like a submissive does. I’m not comfortable using a gag on you. What if you panicked, became so scared you forgot your safe signal? Putting a gag on you would serve no purpose and has the potential to harm you further. I won’t do it.”

  She nodded, glanced to the table, and took a deep breath. He waited. He could tell she was struggling with whatever was going on inside her head.

  But he was pleased she
didn’t whisper when she finally spoke. “I know you said you’d have me fill out a checklist, but there’s one thing I feel I should bring up now.”

  “Of course.”

  He still held her left hand, but she clenched her right one into a fist. “No matter what we do, my shirt stays on. I don’t want to be topless.”

  He continued drawing circles on her palm while thinking over what she’d requested. She felt strongly about keeping her shirt on, and it was difficult for her to bring it up. He tried not to envision the scars that would likely be on her back. He needed to tread carefully. “An odd request. One that will limit breast play, an activity I happen to enjoy.”

  “I enjoy it, too. My need to keep a shirt on has nothing to do with my breasts.”

  “Oh?”

  “No.” She squirmed slightly in her seat. “It’s about my back. After Peter, I can’t—it’s not—I don’t go topless. Ever.”

  She held his gaze while she spoke, as if wanting him to see how serious she was. He had a feeling this wasn’t a point she was willing to negotiate.

  “I see,” he finally said. “Very well, your shirt will remain on at all times. It will be up to you to let me know if you ever change your mind.”

  She sighed in relief. “Thank you.”

  “I can tell it’s a matter of importance to you.” He looked down to where her hand now had a death grip on the finger that had been stroking her palm. “Otherwise, there would be blood flowing to my left fingers.”

  “Oh,” she gasped and released her hold on him. “Sorry.”

  He shook his head. “That admission wasn’t easy for you. I’m pleased you trusted me enough to share.” Begrudgingly, he let go of her hand. “Which leads me to the next item. I’ve arranged for you to meet with Abby West once a week. I think you’ll find it beneficial to talk with her.”

  She nodded. “I like Abby.”

  “She’s a very experienced submissive and she’s been working with Nathaniel on improving the group dynamics.”

  “Do I need to call her and set up a date and time?”

  “Yes, I’ve given her a head’s up that you’ll be calling. If at all possible, I’d like for you to set something up for this week.”

  Sasha nodded. “I can do that.”

  “You went with Abby and Nathaniel to the last play party.”

  She shifted just a bit at his statement, and he smiled inwardly. He hadn’t imagined it then. Not only had she attended her first play party after Peter with Nathaniel and Abby, she’d watched a demo he’d led with a casual play partner. He’d demonstrated how to use a violet wand, and midway through looked up to find Sasha watching with such an intensity that it had thrown him off-guard. Right now, he desperately wanted to question her further, but he knew it would go better for both of them if he waited until she trusted him more.

  He stood up. “Let’s take a break. I’ll go get something sweet and when we finish, we’ll go over more details.”

  • • •

  Instead of going to the guesthouse when he arrived back at Daniel’s, he parked his motorcycle and made his way to the front door of the main house. He wanted to talk to his friend about Sasha. Though he had a house key, he rarely felt comfortable using it. Especially since Julie had moved in.

  But when no one answered the doorbell, he let himself in.

  “Daniel?” he called, peeking into the kitchen. Both of their cars had been outside. “Julie?”

  The house appeared empty. He waited for a few minutes and had just walked to the back entrance to leave when a door downstairs opened and soft voices floated upward.

  Ah, the playroom.

  He made his way to the top of the stairs leading down to the playroom and, sure enough, Daniel and Julie were holding hands, walking up to the main level. Julie had a robe on.

  “Am I interrupting?” Cole asked, crossing his arms.

  Julie yelped and stumbled.

  “Jesus. Fuck,” Daniel cursed, throwing his arms around his frightened sub to keep her from falling. “A bit of a warning next time, Cole?”

  Cole was already halfway down the stairs. “Pardon, I didn’t mean to scare the wits out of you. Are you all right, Julie?”

  “A little shaky.” She peeked out of the shelter of Daniel’s embrace. “No worries.”

  Daniel kissed her cheek and they all walked up the stairs. Julie still had the faint glow of a thoroughly satisfied submissive about her, and Cole started to doubt his decision to swing by. He had obviously walked in at the end of a scene and, though it had been a while since he’d observed Daniel play, he didn’t get the feeling his friend had finished aftercare yet.

  Cole waited in the kitchen while Daniel walked with Julie into the living room. From his seat at the bar, Cole watched as he sat her on the couch and then turned to him.

  “Come in here with us,” Daniel called, sitting down and pulling Julie into his arms.

  He should leave. Daniel wasn’t ready to leave Julie alone, and Cole wasn’t going to talk about Sasha in front of her. He walked into the living room and stood by the couch. “I’ll come back later. I have a few things I want to discuss with you, and this isn’t a good time.”

  Daniel nodded. “I can stop by later this evening.”

  “I’ll be there. Probably going for a run now.” Running always helped clear his mind. He had a feeling he would be doing a lot of running for the foreseeable future.

  “Give me about an hour,” Daniel said. “I’ll—” he started, but was interrupted by the doorbell. “Hell, what is this, Grand Central Station?”

  “Let me get it.” Cole crossed the floor. “I’ll send whoever it is away, and then I’ll show myself out.”

  He opened the door, prepared to tell whoever it was that no one was interested, but the words died on his tongue as two surprised green eyes looked up at him.

  “Sasha?”

  Did she come by to see him? No, not likely with her eyes as wide as saucers. Apparently she was just as shocked to see him.

  “I . . . I came by to see Julie.”

  Of course. If she’d been looking for him, she’d have gone to the guesthouse. He hardened his expression, not wanting her to see any emotion.

  “Right.” He stepped aside to let her in. “She’s in the living room with Daniel. They just left the playroom.”

  She paled, and sweat beaded on her forehead. “Oh. Then maybe . . . maybe I should come back later. I’ll just . . .” She turned back around and ran into his chest.

  Instinctively, his hands shot out to steady her. Her arms shook and her lip trembled. He dropped his hands. “Sasha? Are you okay?”

  “Yes, Sir,” she whispered.

  “Look at me.” He waited until she lifted her head. “What just happened?” When she hesitated, he added, “Sasha, I can help you, but you have to be honest with me. It was my nonnegotiable condition.”

  “I’m sorry, Sir.” She swallowed in deep breaths. “I just need a minute. Can I sit down?”

  “Come in here,” he said, leading her into the living room. He wasn’t sure what the hell happened in the foyer, but he would get to the bottom of it.

  “Hey, Sasha.” Daniel looked up from where he was whispering to Julie. “Give me a bit longer, and she’s all yours.” He glanced over at Cole, then back to Sasha. “Assuming you did come by to see Julie?”

  Sasha nodded and sank into the nearest chair.

  “You look a bit pale. Are you okay?” Daniel asked. “Cole?”

  “We haven’t had a chance to talk about it yet.” Cole didn’t want to discuss anything with Daniel without talking to Sasha first.

  Julie studied Sasha with a weary expression on her face. “Sasha, did something happen?”

  Her tone was polite and friendly, but Cole could read between the lines. She was asking if something had happened between him and Sasha. Her concern was lovely, the mark of true friendship, but he didn’t care for the insinuation he would harm Sasha.

  “I’d planned to discuss
this with you privately,” Cole said, addressing Sasha. “Unfortunately, by bringing you into the living room, I’ve managed to worry everyone. So we’ll have to do this now.”

  Sasha seemed to curl into herself. He wondered if he should have had the discussion privately, after all. Maybe she didn’t feel more comfortable with her friends.

  “You had what appeared to be a mild panic attack when I
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