I woke up at five-thirty and realized why Nathaniel wanted me to get eight hours of sleep during the week—sleep on weekends was prime. I rolled out of bed with a groan.
I was showered and dressed by six-fifteen, leaving plenty of time to finally make my signature French toast. A light shone from under the door of the gym. Nathaniel must already be up and working out. I wondered if I’d ever wake up before he did.
I yawned while dicing the bananas and beating the eggs. I loved to cook. Loved creating a meal that would give sustenance and tasted good. If I didn’t love books so much, I’d have been a chef.
I was sautéing the bread when Apollo plodded in. “Hey, Apollo,” I called. “What’s happening?”
He gave a soft woof, yawned, and rolled to his side.
“You too?” I asked, yawning again.
I thought over the previous night while the banana sauce cooked. It still seemed surreal. But it’d been a lot of fun. Everyone had been so nice. And Nathaniel…I especially thought about Nathaniel, dancing with him, and then up in his bedroom…
I almost burned the sauce.
At seven o’clock I served him breakfast, placing the toast on a plate and pouring the sauce over everything.
“Make yourself a plate and have a seat,” he said. There was no trace of the gentleman of the previous night, but I knew he was there somewhere.
I sat down with my own food and had just taken a bite when he spoke again.
“I have plans for you today, Abigail,” he said. “Plans to prepare you for my pleasure.”
Plans to prepare me for his pleasure? What the hell? I’d been doing the yoga, I’d been running, I’d been following the diet plan—what else did he expect?
But we weren’t at my table.
“Yes, Master,” I said, looking down at my plate. My heart pounded. I wasn’t hungry anymore. I swirled some sauce around my plate with a piece of bread.
“Eat, Abigail,” he said. “You can’t serve me on an empty stomach.”
I wasn’t too sure I’d be able to serve anything if my nerves caused me to throw up all over him, but I kept that thought to myself. I ate a bite of toast. I might as well have been eating cardboard.
After I’d finished enough of my breakfast to please Nathaniel, I cleared the table and went back to the dining room to stand beside him.
“You have far too many clothes on,” he said. “Go to my room and take them all off.”
My mind wrestled with itself on the way to his room. What else could we do that we hadn’t done? I thought, trying to calm myself down. We’d had sex three times, he’d gone down on me the night before, and I’d served him orally at least three times. I could handle whatever was coming.
I’d done a halfway successful job of calming down. But then I entered his room and stopped short.
There was some sort of bench in the middle of the room—at least I thought it was a bench. It was waist-high. And had a step.
The nervous excitement returned. I took off my clothes and put them in a messy pile beside the door. Then I stood and stared at the wooden contraption.
“It’s a whipping bench,” Nathaniel said, strolling into the room. “I use it for chastisement, but it serves other purposes as well.”
Say it, rational brain side begged. Turpentine. Say it.
No, crazy side countered. I want this.
My inner struggle was lost on Nathaniel.
Or else he ignored it.
“Step up,” he said. “And lie on your stomach.”
Three little syllables and you can be on your way home, rational brain tried again.
Three little syllables and you’ll never see him. He won’t hurt you. Crazy side wanted to stay. Crazy side wanted Nathaniel.
He said he wouldn’t cause you permanent harm. He never said it wouldn’t hurt. Rational side had a point.
“Abigail.” Nathaniel took a deep breath. “This is getting tiresome. Either do it or say your safe word. I won’t ask again.”
I considered my options for five seconds. Crazy side won. Rational side threatened to take a long vacation.
I took a deep breath and stepped on the bench. The wood was smooth and had a scooped area for my body.
Okay, this isn’t too bad.
Nathaniel was doing something behind me. I heard him opening and closing drawers. Something was placed beside my hips.
“Do you remember what I told you Friday night?” he asked. It was a rhetorical question. I wasn’t supposed to be talking unless he told me to specifically. He was messing with my mind.
I thought back to Friday night. Lots of sex, no sleep, lots of sex, aches and pains, sex, clam sauce, more sex…Total blank—I had no idea what he was talking about.
He placed two warm hands on my waist, stroked my backside, and I remembered him asking about anal sex.
Turpentine! rational brain side screamed. Turpentine!
I clenched my teeth to keep the word inside my head where it belonged. I clenched other parts of my body. Hell, I clenched my entire body.
“Relax.” He stroked down my back. Any other time, it would have felt good. Any other time, I’d have purred with the pleasure of his hands on me. But not if he was going to want anal sex.
True, I hadn’t marked it as a hard limit. I just thought it would come later.
There was rustling, he was taking his clothes off. I sucked in a deep breath and kept my body rigid.
Nathaniel sighed. “Move to the bed, Abigail.”
I jumped down so quickly, I almost tripped. Nathaniel followed me to the bed—he was n**ed and magnificent, but I barely noticed.
“You have to relax.” He took me in his arms. “This won’t work if you don’t.” His mouth was on my neck and I threw my arms around him. Yes, this I knew. This I could handle.
That wonderful mouth was doing unbelievable things to my skin. My body started to loosen as his mouth made its way down. His lips brushed my ni**les and I threw my head back as his tongue swirled around and around.
He placed kisses up and down my torso, his hands always stroking, always moving, igniting me with their touch.
“What I do, I do for your pleasure as much as mine.” He nibbled my ear. “Trust me, Abigail.”
And I wanted to. I wanted to trust him. The gentleman of last night I trusted. The dom with a whipping bench? Well, he was a bit harder to trust.
They’re the same man, I told myself.
I was so confused, I didn’t know what to think. I was trying so hard to work out what was happening. What would be the right thing to do. Who he was.
And the entire time, Nathaniel kept up his soothing murmurings.
“I can bring you pleasure, Abigail,” he whispered. “Pleasure like you’ve never imagined.”
He was knocking down my resistance. Erasing all my excuses. And I let him. I had no choice, really. He’d already claimed me.
He pulled back and looked in my eyes as he entered me. I moaned and tightened my arms around him.
It was then I realized that for the first time I had my arms free during sex. I ran a tentative hand down his back.
“Let it go, Abigail.” He pushed further into me. “Fear has no place in my bed.”
He pulled out and started a fast tempo, all the while soothing me with his voice. All the while reassuring.
After a while, I couldn’t remember what I was afraid of. Couldn’t remember anything. Just Nathaniel and his bed and the feel of him pounding into me over and over and his voice whispering of promised pleasure.
My release began to tighten in my belly. Nathaniel pulled back from me, lifted my hips, and thrust in deeper. I was close, so close. I wrapped my legs around him, pulling him toward me. And just as he thrust in for the last time, something warm and slick pushed inside my backside and I screamed as my cl**ax overtook my body.
He said it was a plug. That it would help stretch me and I should wear it a few hours every day. Anal sex was totally outside of my experience. I had no idea what to expect, just nerves and anticipation. But he said he would give me pleasure, and until he did differently, I decided to believe him. He had never lied to me.
I left after lunch on Sunday. My last words from Nathaniel were that I was to return Friday night at six.
Felicia was all giggles that night when I got home.
“I’ve been waiting all day for you to get home,” she said as I let her in. “Have I got a surprise for you.”
Felicia’s surprises typically involved new lipstick. But I sat down on the couch, tucked my legs under me, and told her to lay it on me.
“First off,” she said, “you are the best friend, ever, for giving Nathaniel my number to give Jackson. Jackson is the best. I thought he’d be all into himself because he’s a pro ball player, but he’s not, he’s so down-to-earth. And his mom? Can you believe her? She’s so nice! And the way all the guys stood up when you had to pee? And Elaina stood up and went with you? And then—”
“Felicia,” I interrupted. “At what point do we get to my surprise? Because I can do a replay of the entire evening all by myself.” And I planned on doing just that. As soon as I was alone.
“Right,” she said. “Sorry.”
“No problem. Just get on with it.”
She leaned close. “On the way home, I asked Jackson about his childhood. How long they’ve known Todd. How long has Todd been married to Elaina. If Nathaniel dated a lot of women—”
“I’m your best friend, Abby, it’s my job to look out for you. Now Todd grew up next door to the Clarks. He’s known them all his life.” She looked at me with an evil grin. “Nathaniel’s dated three women seriously. Paige first, then Beth, and Melanie was the last one. Jackson called Melanie the ‘Pearl Girl’ because she always had this strand of pearls on.” She looked at my choker. “Hate to know what he’ll call you. Can’t Nathaniel give you a ring like a regular guy?”
She kept on talking, but my mind was still processing what she’d just said. Three women. Three submissives. Three that the family knew of.
Felicia was still talking, “Nathaniel and Melanie broke up five months ago. Jackson said she was a real bitch and he was glad to see her go.” She gave me an evil grin. “He also said you weren’t Nathaniel’s normal type, but that you seemed to be good for him.”
That was the second person close to Nathaniel in two days who’d said I was good for him. They couldn’t both be wrong, could they?
A new burst of energy shot through me and I wasn’t as sleepy as I’d been minutes before.
“That new movie we wanted to see comes on tonight,” she said. “Want to watch it?”
It’d been too long since Felicia and I had bonding time—we were seriously overdue. “How long does it stay on?” I asked.
The movie finished at eleven. I had to be up at six. That was still seven hours of sleep—longer than I’d had the last two nights.
“Sure, let’s watch it.”
Apprehension gnawed at me as I was driven to Nathaniel’s house on Friday night. His admin had called me at the library on Wednesday and said, “Mr. West will see you at eight on Friday—his car will pick you up, as usual.” That was all. No details. No explanations. No nothing.
I was a bit disappointed—I rather liked our Friday night dinners. Eating with him before heading to his room eased me into the weekend nice and gently. And maybe it was just me, but I had the feeling he liked them as well. If for no other reason than to tease me. To work me up to what he had planned. Of course, I had a pretty good idea of what he had planned for the weekend. I had used the plug as directed and felt ready.
But still. I had the strangest feeling I was missing something.
It was dark when the car pulled into his driveway. No Apollo to meet me. No Nathaniel opening the door before I knocked.
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