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       The Queen, p.6

         Part #8 of The Original Sinners series by Tiffany Reisz

  The note was signed by her new agent. Kingsley had ordered her to stay in the house. Elle did not follow men’s orders anymore. So she stuffed the book into a backpack, threw on a hat and headed out into the city.

  Coming back to Manhattan had been harder than Elle had anticipated. Even now, two weeks after she’d returned, the noise of the city had kept her on edge. Life in the convent had been so quiet. She’d fallen asleep at night to the sound of soft breezes and chirping crickets. With nothing but Kyrie to distract her, she’d been able to write her book quickly. Yet another reason to make as much money as she could as fast as she could. A quiet house of her own where she could write in peace. That was the dream...

  But first, she’d need her own damn computer. Sneaking to the library to work on her book was hardly ideal. She didn’t put it past Kingsley to chain her to the bed. He’d done it to Juliette, after all.

  She reached the library but didn’t go into the computer lab yet. First she walked through the stacks, as she always did, seeking inspiration. The convent library had “uplifting” or “religious” literature in its small library and not a single novel. But here she found Jane Austen, George Eliot, Henry Miller and her beloved Anaïs Nin. She walked the stacks and paused when a book in the C’s caught her eye. She pulled it from the shelf and held it in her hand.

  Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll.

  Elle had her own copy of this book back at Kingsley’s. Søren had given it to her when she was nineteen. He’d brought the book home with him from Rome. Back then she’d been too young to wonder how a priest under a vow of poverty had gotten the money to pay for such an expensive early edition of this book. When she’d gotten older and had learned to ask more questions, he’d told her that he had a wealthy friend in Rome, a madam of a brothel who’d worked all her life as a dominatrix to European businessmen, royalty and clergy. Whenever he returned to Rome he visited with her. And although Elle had never met his friend Magdalena, Magdalena seemed to know Elle.

  Why me? Elle had asked him when Søren admitted the book had been given to him by Magdalena to give to Elle.

  Søren had answered, Because a long time ago she looked into my future and saw you. So she says, anyway.

  What’s my future? I’ll go through the looking glass?

  She says you are like Alice in the Looking-Glass world. First a pawn and then a queen.

  Was that what had happened? She’d stepped through a mirror into a world where everything was backward—where she was Kingsley’s domme and not Søren’s slave? Where she was a dominant and not a submissive? Where she was a queen and no longer a little girl?

  Elle put the book back on the shelf. No reading right now. No remembering. Queen or not, she had work to do. She took the computer right next to the wall and started cutting. Today’s project was her last project before her book went out on submission with editors. Her agent had told her that her book needed trimming. Less was more and Elle knew she was right. Elle highlighted a scene consigned to the chopping block and hit Delete.

  It hurt, of course. She might have winced a little between highlighting and deleting, but it was also empowering. She felt like a god of her own world in a way. She created their reality—what her characters ate and drank and how they lived and loved and fucked and if they did something she didn’t want them to do then all she had to do was...poof...delete...gone...

  Just. Like. That.

  She wished real life came with a delete key. But if she could change her reality, would she? Maybe. She knew she’d never truly be free of Søren as long as she remembered everything that had happened between them, from their first meeting at Sacred Heart two weeks before her sixteenth birthday to that last awful night when he’d been so angry he’d scared her. But it wasn’t that night that she wanted to be free of. The bad memories gave her the strength to keep following this path. It was all the good nights that held her hostage, her memories of beautiful kink, passionate sex, lying in bed after Søren had spent his pain and passion on her, talking about everything and nothing until she fell asleep against his chest and woke up with her collar locked away in the rosewood box until the next time he would make her his. Too many good memories. They were like links in a chain that bound her to the past.

  Why couldn’t she push Delete on those memories and make them go away like she did the scenes in her book that slowed the story down?

  Maybe she could.

  Elle opened a new blank document on her computer screen and stared at the blinking cursor.

  What to write...what to write... What memory did she most want to rid herself of? Which night haunted her more than any other, weighed on her more than any other? Impossible to pick only one, but she had to start somewhere.

  She thought of the book again—Through the Looking-Glass. Her favorite part of it had always been the “Jabberwocky” poem, especially when Søren read it to her at night in his poshest and most entertaining English accent. Some evenings he’d read to her before they adjourned to his bedroom for kink and sex and on those nights it was torture to have to sit and wait while he read when all she wanted from him was pain and fucking.

  But there were other nights, special nights, private nights she would tell no one about even on pain of death...

  A memory hit her so hard in the stomach she almost whimpered aloud. God, it hurt to remember. But wouldn’t it feel good to forget? Not good, but powerful? She could show those memories who was boss. She was god of her own world.

  She knew right where to start.

  Elle put her fingers to the keys and started to type.

  It was a winter’s night in Ordinary Time, but this was no ordinary night.


  Ordinary Time

  IT WAS A winter’s night in Ordinary Time, but this was no ordinary night.

  First of all, He had summoned her to His home and no ordinary night began with such a summons.

  Second, it had snowed last night and all the world for as far as she could see had turned white. She inhaled Him, for He smelled like snow and nighttime and chimney smoke in the distance. Only He smelled like both winter and fire at the same time. Only He was so cold and yet could make her burn.

  The roads were safe to pass by late afternoon and when the winter evening turned inexorably into the winter night she drove to His home. The snow crunched under her boots as she walked to His door and she paused long enough to gaze up at the black sky, which was so white with stars it was as if the snow had fallen up as well as down.

  When she walked through the kitchen door she found a box on the table and that’s when she knew the third reason it would be no ordinary night.

  On the box was a card with two words written on it.

  “Wear me.”

  Elle took the box up the narrow wooden stairs to the bathroom. Inside it she found a nightgown, creamy off-white muslin with lace accents on the innocent puff sleeves. It was a child’s nightgown, not a woman’s.


  She closed her eyes as hot tears burned them, scalding her cheeks. Not this. She didn’t want this.

  But she did. She did want it but she didn’t want to want it.

  And that’s why He’d summoned her here tonight. Because when she wanted something she didn’t want to want, that was when He wanted her the most.

  It was her own fault. Two weeks ago she’d been at a private party with Him and their king. A couple had entered the party, a couple she’d never met before—an older man with silver hair, a younger woman with skin fresh as March dew on rosebuds. She’d watched them with interest, watched the older man taking her short pink coat off her as if she were too young to unfasten her own buttons and instead of answering when he asked questions, the younger woman had nodded, wide-eyed and innocent. When they walked she held on to his hand with both of her hands as if she feared the crowd would separate them, and she would never see him again. In a room reserved for the private party they all attended, the older man did the talki
ng and the younger woman clung to his side. When he sat in a chair she sat in his lap, her arms wound round his neck, his large hand absentmindedly rubbing her lower back as if soothing a fussy child. And once he kissed her on the cheek and told her she was being a very good girl. That’s when the younger woman spoke the only three words anyone would hear her speak that night.

  Thank you, Daddy.

  The king warned her if she kept watching the couple so intently she would be punished for it. One of the rules of such gatherings was “Don’t stare. We’re all freaks here.” But stare she did. The thirtysomething woman transformed herself into a little girl by simply making her face a mask of innocence, turning her lips into a pout, opening her eyes wide and clinging to her older lover with both hands. She found it fascinating that a woman would want to be treated like a child when she herself had fought so hard for so long to be treated like an adult.

  “Is this a game you want to play?” the king whispered in her ear.

  “No, of course not. It’s...”

  “What? Too naughty even for you?”

  That stung. Nothing was too naughty for her.

  But...still...would she like this? Playing like a little girl? Calling your lover “Daddy”? Disturbing. Troubling.

  And so very arousing...

  No. Absolutely not. She refused to even entertain the idea of playing that game. It would be humiliating to pretend to be a little girl, to call Him Daddy, to act like a child when she was twenty-five years old.

  It was too late, however. Her interest in the couple had been noted.

  By Him.

  Long ago, He’d warned her that He could become aroused in only one of two ways—by inflicting pain or inflicting humiliation. Some nights pain might not be enough for Him. Some nights He would humiliate her for His own pleasure. He then promised to refrain from that particular side of His sadism as much as possible. But now and again it appeared, unbidden. During a beating she’d realized she’d had a painfully full bladder and instead of excusing her to the bathroom He’d kicked a bucket into the center of the room and uttered the order, “Go.” When her period had started a few days early and she’d woken up to blood on His white sheets, He’d stood over her at the bathtub while she’d had to scrub the stains out, crying with mortification the entire time.

  But after...oh...after... He’d bent her over the bathroom counter and fucked her from behind so hard that if she hadn’t been bleeding already, she would have started.

  Those humiliations, however, paled in comparison to this new hell.

  With trembling hands she dressed in the child’s nightgown that fit her so well she knew it had been made for her. The club had a quartermaster of sorts whose sole job it was to provide the high-level members with anything they needed. A child’s nightgown that would fit an adult woman likely numbered among the least strange of the requests she filled weekly.

  There were ribbons, too. It took three tries for her to plait her untamable black hair into twin braids and to steady her fingers enough to tie the ribbons in little bows at the ends. She felt scared as a child, nervous as a child, excited as a child.

  When she walked out of the bathroom, she wasn’t twenty-five anymore, but seven. Seven and scared and miserable. If it had been a game she would have played it with pleasure but this wasn’t a game to her, although it was to Him. She would never tell another soul of this night; it was far too private and personal and, of course, because that was the was far too humiliating.

  In His bedroom, the lights were all off but for the old brass lamp on His bedside table. He reclined on His side on the bed wearing jeans and a black long-sleeve T-shirt with the sleeves pushed up to reveal His sinewy forearms. His feet were naked, and His blond hair was slightly damp and slicked back as if He’d run His fingers through it a few times after coming in from the snow. Open on the bed in front of Him was a book, a book she hadn’t seen before. The bed was the same bed but the covers looked different. Usually He slept on white sheets covered by a simple white quilt. But He’d changed them tonight. Once she’d told Him that as a little girl she’d loved visiting her grandparents because she had her own bed there—a twin bed with a pastel-blue-and-white-striped quilt and the sheets were covered in laughing white moons and smiling yellow stars. The sheets and the quilt on His bed weren’t identical to the ones she remembered from her childhood days visiting her grandparents. But they were close enough to take her breath away.

  He must have known she was standing there, but He didn’t look at her and He wouldn’t look at her until she spoke the word He wanted her to speak, the word that would begin the night’s humiliations. The last word she wanted to say to Him.

  “Daddy?” Standing in the open doorway to His bedroom, she felt more exposed in that child’s nightgown than she would have been naked.

  He looked up from the book in front of Him and smiled an indulgent fatherly smile at her.

  “What’s wrong, Little One?” He asked, and the name He’d called her for years now took on a darker connotation. “You look upset.”

  She nodded and held on to the bow of her nightgown with both hands, twisting the fabric nervously.

  “Come here.” He waved her over to Him and on her bare feet she walked to Him, slowly...slowly, drawn to Him and repelled in equal measure.

  He closed the book and set it on the bedside table. She stood between His knees. Reaching out He tugged lightly on the tip of her braid.

  “Are you tired?”

  She shook her head.

  “Then what’s wrong?” His voice was so tender and fatherly she burst into tears. He pulled her into His arms and held her while she cried. Holding her on His lap, He gently rocked her and shushed her until her sobs subsided.

  “I don’t want you to be mad at me.”

  “I’m never mad at you.”

  “Then why are you making me do this?” she asked.

  “Because I love you.”

  “You aren’t mad at me?” She was certain He was punishing her for something by making her play this horrible game. But was it a punishment? Was it a horrible game? Or was it something she had wanted, something she had dreamed of, something she had desired and never told Him because she couldn’t bring herself to tell Him?

  “I could never be mad at you. Never ever.”

  “Promise?” she asked.

  “Look at me,” He said in such a tone she obeyed instantly. “You know that, don’t you? You know you could never disappoint me? Yes?”

  She nodded. “Yes, Daddy.”

  “Good girl.” He tugged her braid again, then tickled her nose with the tip of it.

  She wrinkled her nose.

  “That tickles,” she said. “Stop it.”

  “Stop it? Stop what? This?” He tickled her neck now with the tip of her braid.

  “Yes, that. Stop.” She tried to pull away from the tickling, but He grabbed her arms with both hands. Before she knew it, He had her flat on her back, His knees straddling her hips.

  “You don’t like being tickled?” He slipped His hand under her nightgown to lightly caress her stomach. She squirmed under His touch. He was only thirty-nine, but He seemed older tonight. Or maybe He only seemed older than thirty-nine because she felt so little and young and scared.

  “No, Daddy.” She tried to wriggle out from under Him but there was no escaping Him and His searching, finding fingers.

  “Why not?”

  She panted, breathless with laughter.

  “Because...” She attempted to twist herself out of His grip and failed miserably.

  “Because why?” He brushed His fingertips over her rib cage and the sensation was so acute it hurt.

  “” Finally she managed to slip out of the prison of His knees and tickling fingers. She made it to the other side of the bed before He caught her again and pulled her to Him.

  “You aren’t allowed to run away from me, Little One. You know it’s your bedtime.”

ut, Daddy—”

  “And no talking back.” With that He put her over His lap and gave her a vicious swat on her white cotton panties. The pain of it was equal to the shock, and she gasped and stiffened. He spanked her again. Once, twice. Five times total. Her body burned when He’d finished. All of it, not just where He’d struck her. She lay there across His lap and panted while He rubbed her scalding skin.

  “Are you going to behave now?”

  “Yes, Daddy.”

  “That’s my good girl.” He rubbed her bottom and thighs gently as He rocked her in His arms again. She felt peaceful, quiet inside, happy. She’d forgotten who she really was in His arms and that this was a game He’d made her play. She was His little girl. Now. Always. “You need to settle down. It’s bedtime.”

  One finger traced the edge of her panties all the way between
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