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NEW JOURNAL ENTRIES! Rebecca’s Forgotten Journals: Dream Man

Rebecca’s Lost Journals are features in the INSIDE OUT series by Lisa Renee Jones.

A set of journals is found in a storage unit. A woman’s is life revealed. Her insecurities, dreams, love, and life.

How It All Started…Dark passion and sweet obsession…Her journal. My fantasies. A set of journals comes to Sara McMillan by chance, when she unexpectedly inherits the key to a storage locker belonging to a woman named Rebecca. Sara can’t resist peeking at the entries inside, finding a scintillating account of Rebecca’s life, and an affair with an unnamed lover, a relationship drenched in ecstasy and wrapped in dark secrets. But when the final entry ends ominously, Sara dares to seek out Rebecca, taking a job at the art gallery where Rebecca worked, only to be inexplicably drawn to two men. Both want to possess her but only one–the dark, mysteriously sexy artist, Chris Merit, will win her heart. But where is Rebecca? And is Sara trusting the wrong man?

 

PART ONE

 June 2011

I am sitting in my apartment, in the living room on my couch, with twelve dozen roses surrounding me. I’ve written this before, you say. Why yes, I have, about five months ago, I think. And yes, he sent them again. This time they are white, not red, and this time rather than an apology, they feel like a promise. An invitation to be something other than what we have been in the past. Something more than master and submissive. Oh, I know that master and submissive is quite special to many, but to those many, it is right for them. It was never right for me. He was, though. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Maybe it’s the heady scent of the flowers he’s made me love. Maybe it’s the heady sense of hope these flowers, delivered after a month of silence between us, have now created. Or maybe it’s the fact that the card reads: Tonight. Eight o’clock. I’ll send a car.

I admit that when I opened the card, my hand had been shaking. And I admit that when I read that card, my heart hurt. It hurt because that is the kind of note he sent me when I was his submissive.

He ordered.

I obeyed.

Now don’t get me wrong. There is something about the power and sexuality of this man that makes an order hard to resist. And safe. I am not sure why I feel safe with him when the truth is that he’s made me feel emotionally betrayed. I am sure if I go back now and read my prior entries there would be many examples of why that is the case. But the reality here is that he always, always felt safe. He felt like my protector. He felt like the other half of my soul and I was his. And I think he needed–still needs–me to heal that soul. It’s crazy, I know, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

It’s been weeks since I have written a word. Why did I go silent when this is my therapy and sanity? I visited my mother’s grave, and it opened that barely sealed wound all over again. And the nightmares. They were there every single time I went to sleep. Honestly, I didn’t want to remember what I was feeling during those weeks. I lost me for a while when I lost my mother, I think, and it was like it was happening again. It hurt. Imagine me laughing bitterly right now. I mean, does the word “hurt” even begin to define what losing a mother means? I think, even if you aren’t close to a parent, it’s like having part of your soul leave this earth. You are alone. Only I wasn’t alone because I found him. He went with me to the grave, but he wasn’t really there. It felt, like he wasn’t with me. Like he’d shut down and cut me out. I think the visit hit some nerve in him, cut him, where he was already cut as well. But he wouldn’t say that. He wouldn’t let us evolve and heal together. My reaction was to shut him out the way he had me, and even though it was my choice, the result was: I lost him, too.

Him.

Funny how I never write his name.

I just call him Master.

But you see, that’s where life has become complicated. When I revisited the loss of my mother, I was reminded that life is short. And I knew that I could no longer play this game of master and submissive with him. That isn’t who I am. I’m so far from submissive, it’s really comical that I ever decided to sign his contract and wear that rose-adorned ring he’d given me. I did things with him, for him, because of him, that I would never have done with, or for, anyone else. I often ask myself how I went down this path when I am not a natural submissive. I’ve actually thought a lot about this question.

I think step one was what I felt when I looked into his eyes and when I was in his presence. Like he owned the world around him. Like if he said I would feel pleasure, I’d feel it. If he said I was safe, I would be. Like he would be the escape I didn’t dare myself in any other part of my life. I found that part of being his submissive addictive. There was no room for worry or fear because he was that consuming. And then there was what I saw in his eyes when he let down his guard and often, I’m not sure he even knew that he did. The pain. The need. The tenderness. The past that torments him and makes him protect himself even from me. But I’ve earned his trust. I deserve to have that wall fall. That’s when I said, no more. Not until he gave all of himself to me.

And so, the flowers came. And the card that read like every other card. After fifteen minutes of debate, I called him. Oh God. I called him and hearing his voice again, when spoken just for me, not for anyone else, as silly as that sounds, slid through me like salve to a bleeding soul.

“Rebecca,” he’d said softly, but with that familiar command radiating through his tone.

“Hello,” I said, because I could not say master, and I could not say his name. Nothing felt right.

“The flowers-”

“Are beautiful. Why are they white?”

“Because we can color them, and us, any way we choose.”

I sucked in air, and breathed out my reply. “What does this mean?”

“It means I don’t know if I know how to be what you need me to be.”

“I don’t want you to be what I want you to be. I want you to be you. The real you.”

“You’ve seen more of me than anyone else ever has.”

“I know.”

“And yet it’s not enough.”

“It is, as long as that isn’t all I ever get.”

“I’m not ready for more, Rebecca, but it’s not about you.”

My chest had tightened. “Then why even send me the flowers?”

“Because I miss you.”

“You do?”

“Yes. I do. I haven’t touched another woman since you shut me out.”

I am stunned. “Not even at the club?”

“No other woman. I want you. Just you. I just need more time to figure out what that means, but not without you. With you.”

“Because of something in your past.”

He is silent for heavy seconds. “Yes.”

“Will you ever tell me about it?”

“I don’t talk about it.”

I don’t push. This is more than he has ever given me. “I can’t be your submissive again.”

“Go to dinner with me tonight. On a date.”

“A real date?”

“Yes. A real date, but I can’t promise what that means. Say yes, Rebecca.”

It’s enough. It’s a start and so I’d said what he’d ordered me to say, but not because he’d ordered it. Because I’d wanted to. I’d said yes.

And so, I’m going on a date with him tonight and I will be Rebecca. Just Rebecca. If he can’t handle that, it will be our real goodbye. If he can, perhaps it will be our first real hello.

 PART TWO

June 2011

Friday, six am

I woke from another nightmare this morning. My mother was there. I wish I could say that was a dream, rather than a nightmare, and that I’d relived some fond memory with her. And I thought that was the case. But I always do. Everything was perfect at first. She was alive and not sick anymore. We were on the trolley with coffee in our hands and nibbling on pastries. It was sunny and warm even in the wind. We were laughing and smiling. I was telling her about my date tonight. She wanted to know all about the man romancing her daughter and I actually told her. I told someone about him. Not the Master he was to be, but the man he is to me. Suddenly though the sunny day became stormy. It was cold and rain pummeled us. My mother and I huddled together, and then what always happens in these nightmares, happens. The trolley starts to speed, the car bumping and jolting. The people around me fade, even my mother. I call out to her. She reaches for me. Of course, the inevitable happens, the trolley jumps the tracks and dives into the icy water of the bay. I feel the cold to my bones, and it hurts. The pain is so intense. I manage to push out of the trolley, but then I’m sinking. I start swimming and swimming but I can’t reach the top. My mother appears, and I reach for her, but she doesn’t offer me a hand. She just stares at me. She lets me die.

I woke up gasping for air and with tears streaming down my cheeks. My mother. I felt as if she’d betrayed me but that is kind of easy to understand. She kept on smoking and smoking, knowing it was killing her. She left me alone. I think it’s strange though that I have this nightmare when tonight is my date night with him. It’s almost as if my mind is telling me this isn’t going to go anywhere. I’m headed for heartache. I’m not sure why I’m interpreting it like this, but I am. He’s going to hurt me. I’m almost certain of this but I’m going into this experience with open eyes. He is a wounded man and the truth is, I am wounded in my own ways, too. I think we need each other and maybe its not forever. But I believe, in my heart, that people cross our path for a reason. They help us grow or survive. That’s it.

I think we are both helping each other survive.

 

Friday, seven pm

Almost date time!

Tonight is the night and while my nightmare this morning had me concerned it was a sign it would go poorly, I’ve changed my mind. I sold a ridiculously expensive Ricco Alvarez painting at the gallery today and when I called to tell him, he was elated, and agreed to show more of his work with us. Ricco Alvarez. He’s incredible and I am the reason he is showing with us. When I told my boss, he was pleased, too. It really set the tone for this night.

Tonight.

Tonight is the night.

Date night with a man I’ve called Master who is no longer my Master. A real date, where he will not be my Master. I might need to write that like ten more times to believe it’s true. I’m not sure what to expect but my nerves are eased by the idea that he doesn’t know either. This is new territory for me. This is new territory for him, and he told me that, which is big for him. He doesn’t share pieces of himself and I don’t know if he realizes he did by telling me this but he did. He shuts himself off. He uses sex and master and submissive to keep anyone from seeing the real him. But I have seen the real him. In those intimate moments, where I was his submissive, where he had full control and we were alone, there were times, when he looked at me, and let the walls down. He let me see the heartache, the fear, the pain. He let me see the brutality of a secret, I may not know by detail, but I know through him. I also know, as much as it gutted me when he invited others into our play, that it always happened after I’d seen a piece of him. It was his way of shutting me out before I saw too much.

I’m done with that. He’s done with that. We’re done with that.

No more hiding.

I get all of him or it’s time to say goodbye.

I just hope this is a new hello.

Maybe I won’t even have sex with him. That would truly be a fresh start.

 

Saturday, seven am

I haven’t slept. I’ve been with him. And I have to work today so I can’t write much now but I need to get at least some of my thoughts down. Remember when I said I wouldn’t have sex with him? I did. Of course, I did. I mean that’s how he hides his emotions so maybe I shouldn’t have, but how could I completely remove his shield? How could I completely strip him bare? It’s a decision I made almost the first moment our eyes locked last night.

He came to the door. Normally, he commands me to a car with a driver who delivers me to him. But no. He came to me. He knocked and I stood at the door, adjusting my little black dress, wondering if the shade of pink lipstick I’d chosen said “do me” or “love me.” I think maybe it said both. I’d taken a deep breath and opened the door. He stood there, in a gray, custom suit, looking like every woman’s fantasy, his eyes steel heat when they met mine.

“Rebecca,” he said softly, his voice a rasp of emotion, and in that moment, I flashed back to intimate moments where I’d been naked and in his arms. When I’d given myself to him as I have no one before him and I doubt anyone after. I could taste him on my lips. Feel his hands. And yet he hadn’t moved and neither had I.

I knew then, that we would be intimate that night, but I knew, too, that it would be different. And it was. It was different. It was…so very different. I need to think about exactly what that means. I need to write out every moment and I will. Just not yet and not just because I have to go to work. I need to think. I need to process every touch, taste, and caress I experienced last night in my mind again before I put it on the page.

More soon.

 

PART THREE

June 2011

Saturday, six pm

I’m supposed to write about my date last night but right now I’m riding this high that I can’t let go. Maybe I don’t want to write about that date. Maybe some part of me knows I handled the night wrong. Maybe I know I sealed the deal that means THE END. Or maybe I really am just excited about today. I sold a hundred thousand dollar painting today. I almost thought I saw Mark Compton smile, but Bossman, doesn’t do smiles. He does disapproval or approval. I pleased him today but more than anything I pleased me. I’m good at this job. I know art. I love art. This is my world. And that is the entire point in taking control of my personal life. Since I lost my mother, really since she got sick, I didn’t own my life. I think for a while I had a man at work and in my bed, that were such control freaks, I let myself lose touch with me. As I mentioned several entries ago, I’ve thought a lot about why such a strong independent person like myself dived into the role of submissive. What got me to a place with him that I had to say no more.

It hit me when I was with him last night, why I said yes, and it comes back to how it all started. What he’d promised me, what he’d made me feel. It came back to safety. I still remember the moment when things between us had changed. I’d been sitting at a little bakery coffee shop a few blocks from work. Not the one next door. That one is owned by Ava. She’s in love with Mark Compton, Bossman himself, and from the moment I started working at the Gallery, she was snotty. I stay away for her. How I know she loves him is another story for another entry. Bottom line. I don’t like visiting her coffee shop.

Anyway, this is about him and me. About the way things between us had changed from casual acquaintances to submissive and master. And actually maybe I have Ava to thank for that otherwise I might not have been avoiding her, thus being at the right place at the right to run into him. So…I’d been at the bakery, sitting at a back, corner table when he’d walked in. I remember knowing the very moment he entered, the way the energy in the room had shifted and changed. The way I’d looked up, my gaze lifting to land on him to find his attention on me. Almost as if he’d come for me.

He’d crossed the bakery, and ignored the pastries and sweets, making a beeline my direction, stopping at my table to stand above me, his attention landing first on the books I’d been studying and then at me. That man’s good looks and intensity had overwhelmed me. Intensely consumed me. We’d known each other before that encounter, but when he’d sat down across from me, there had been this shift in the air, a shift between us. “There’s a place I know that I’d like you to know,” he’d said.

“What place?” I’d ask, and believe you me, my heart had been thundering in my ears.

“Say yes, and I’ll take you there, and show you.”

I remember knowing in the moments that followed, that if I did, everything would change for me. I don’t know how or why. But I knew. I think that is why seconds ticked by without my reply but I remember that he sat there patiently, waiting, almost in need of my approval. He wouldn’t pressure me. He didn’t pressure me. And that’s the thing. He never did. Every choice I made was mine. Every choice was absolutely mine. He said that was my control. He said I was always in control.

Needless to say, I said, “Yes.”

He always insisted that I say “yes.” He always insisted that I make the choices. That’s part of why I was able to be submissive. But there was more. He promised me, that for those windows of time I was with him, none of the hell that was my life at that point in time, would exist. And that’s what became addictive. I could go to him and for the time I was with him, there was room for nothing but him. No fear. No loss. No worry. Just him.

And yes, sometimes driving everything else away came my way of him pushing my limits, most of the time it did. But it worked. He worked for me. I trusted him. Would I have been able to be submissive with someone else? No. I do not believe it could have been someone else.

Just him.

But that relationship was not a whole relationship. We were not whole. And so the question remains, can he be the whole package, my dream man, or is he only capable of being my Master?

 

Monday, eight pm

I’d barely gotten to work today when our receptionist, Amanda, appears in my doorway, looking as excited as a school girl and holding a box with a red ribbon. She sets it on my desk and then stands there. “Who’s it from?”

“I don’t know,” I’d told her.

“Open it and see.”

“Later,” I’d said, setting it aside, though it was killing me. I wanted to know what was inside. What I didn’t want was for anyone else to know. I’m private that way. And so is he.

“What exactly are we doing?”

At the sound of the boss, or Bossman, as we call him, Amanda jolted and turned around, and while I couldn’t see her face or his, I could hear the exchange.

“I was just passing a delivery on to Rebecca.”

Bossman says nothing, which means he’s giving her one of those steeling gray-eyed stares of his that intimidate even the most confident a person, which Amanda is not. She’s too young and sweet, as well as without experience, for the likes of that man.

“I’ll just go watch the front desk.”

“See that you do,” he says.

She scrambles away and he appears in my doorway, and what can I say. He’s tall. He’s blonde. His gray eyes striking, hard. And he wears a custom suit better than any man who’s ever graced the pages of GQ. The problem is that he knows it. He owns it. And he owns everyone around him. He’s wanted to own me from the moment I came to work for the Gallery. A part of me wanted him too, as well. But after my recent submissive experience, I’ve learned that being owned, isn’t right for me. Oddly though I can say that the more I was owned outside my work, the harder “Bossman” Mark Compton found it to intimidate me as he does everyone else in the office.

And he knows that, too. I thought this would displease him, but another oddity. It doesn’t. He seems to in fact, be pleased by this new side of me. If that is even possible. Maybe I’m wrong. Whatever the case, Bossman stood there in my doorway, staring at me. Never once did he look at the package. Never once did he speak. He just stared at me and I stared at him, and tried, like I always try, to read his thoughts. To feel what he was feeling, but that isn’t something that happens, unless he allows it to happen. And I suspect, that in his workplace, that would never, ever happen. But still I try. Still I want to peel away some layer of this powerful man’s shell, to see inside his mind.

“What are we doing Ms. Mason?”

“Amanda brought me a package that I intend to open alone and at an appropriate time.”

“As it should be,” he approves, and with that, he’d disappeared back into the hallway.

I’d wanted that private moment to be then, right after he’d left, but when I’d stood to shut my door, to open the package, I’d changed my mind. I’d waited until I arrived home. And now it’s sitting here, beside me and I can’t seem to open it. For some reason, I just…can’t. I haven’t even written about what happened last night. But I know that this package is about just that. What happened. What I didn’t think could happen. What he didn’t think could happen and yet, it did.

And it changed us. I’m not sure he can handle that. Maybe I can’t either. Maybe we don’t know how to be anything but what we once were and that I can’t be that anymore. Maybe I’ve already lost him and he’s lost me. That scares me. Outright terrifies me. So the package. I think I’ll wait to open it.

PART FOUR

June 2011

Monday eleven pm

 

The gift he gave me is still sitting on the kitchen table unopened while I’m alone in my bed, writing this. I suppose most people would be going crazy, wanting to know what is inside the package. I suppose too that I’m really not different than most people. I do want to know what’s inside it. I simply dread what it might be more. Besides, I’ve never been big on gifts, but then, I’ve never had anyone to give me gifts, at least, not before him. My mother wanted to give me gifts. She wanted a lot of things that she never found, and I think her cigarettes became her drug of choice and as we all know, drugs kill, and her drug killed her. But they were the one joy she had in life. He’s my drug.

The problem though is that the first gift he ever gave me was a beautiful ring with a stunning rose on top of it. A ring I was to put on only if I signed the agreement to be his submissive. A ring I wore for two months and gave back to him when that role no longer suited me. Every gift he gave me since then was during that submissive period, and tied directly to something we’d shared when I was in that role. But I wasn’t his submissive Friday night. And he wasn’t the master he’d once been to me. Oh don’t get me wrong. He was sin, sex, and powerful, as I always expect from him, but the man beneath the master, I’d seen glimpses of in the past was there with me. And as I wrote before, I’d sworn not to have sex with him, but that didn’t work out.

Really though, considering how it happened. I don’t regret it. I regret nothing about that night. I’d opened the door and I’d been overwhelmed by not just the force of his presence but the way he’d looked at me, emotion he doesn’t allow anyone to see in his eyes. “Torment” is the word that had come to my mind. Wordless, I’d stepped into the hallway outside my apartment and before I could shut the door, he’d done the unthinkable. After he’d breathed out my name, he’d pulled me to him and kissed me, deeply, passionately, intensely. This is not a man who does such a thing. He builds tension. He makes you crave him and the kiss that might not ever come, even if his mouth finds it’s way to intimate parts of your body, which most assuredly it always did mine. But no. That night he just kissed me. And then there was this explosion of uncontrolled passion between us, that he has never allowed.

One minute we were in the hallway, and the next we are ripping off each others clothes – yes, he let me help him undress, which he never allows. He lets me touch him. And then we’re on my couch. I’m on top of him, and we are just crazy wild making love. Or having sex. I don’t know what it was. It was nothing I’d ever experienced in my life. I just know that there was this moment, where he twined fingers in my hair, and said, “I missed you,” that stole every breath I’ve ever owned. I know that sounds small, but it is not with him. Wild, crazy sex, and admissions of missing someone, missing me, does not fit the master I know. Nor does the desperation I’d tasted in his kisses.

And when it was over, he’d held me for long minutes, like he didn’t want to let me go, until finally he’d rolled me to my back and declared, “Don’t move,” and he walked to my bathroom and returning with a towel before, in all his naked glory, and let me tell you, that man naked is all about glory, he brings me my clothes. “I owe you dinner,” he said. “If you still want to go?”

“Of course I want to go,” I’d replied.

Approval had lit his eyes and I cannot explain how that look affects me, and even arouses me. I shouldn’t need a man’s approval, of course, but it’s really not about that. In that moment, I’d remembered how intensely erotic, and addictive being owned by this man can be. I’d almost changed my mind about dinner out of fear that this was headed right back where we’d once been: master and submissive. And I’d feared I couldn’t say no.

But I just couldn’t say goodbye right then. Not when he’d just told me he’d missed me but after we’d dressed, and headed to the car, I remember holding my breath, after asking, “Where are we going?” afraid it would be some familiar spot that would stir more of those old feelings.

He’d surprised me though, and opened my car door, to announce, “Someplace new. Someplace you pick.”

“Me?”

“Yes. You.”

And since as my master he always chose, I knew this was him telling me, he was really trying to give us a new future. “There’s this hole in the wall Italian place,” I said. “I love it and I want to go there.”

“Then we’ll go there,” he’d said.

And so we went to dinner, and while we didn’t share deep, dark secrets, we’d talked about art, which we both love, for hours. While true, even as his submissive, I’d shared dinners and conversation, with him, and there was always a bond between us, it felt different. Maybe because we’d had that passionate explosion that started the night. Maybe because at the end of the night he’d taken me home and kissed me on my doorstep, before leaving with a promise I’ll never forget. He’d held me close, his lips near my ear, as he’d said, “If I don’t leave now, I’ll do things a proper gentleman would not do to you.” He’d turned then and left me tormented. Because you see, I do not want him to be a proper gentleman. I just don’t want him to be my master.

And that brings me back to the package, that I fear is an invitation to be his submissive again.

 

Tuesday 7 am

I woke up in a cold sweat, gasping for air. I’d had the nightmare again only this time I wasn’t in the icy bay water. I was on that trolley, racing toward the plunge that never happened, dreading it. Fearing it. If dreams have meanings to me this one was about the package I haven’t opened. It was telling me that dread and fear, feels as horrible as an unpleasant outcome we don’t want to be real. And you see, fear is what kept me ever entering the art world, where pay tends to be low, and dreams high. But I’ve made it work. Because I got over the fear. I don’t ever want to live my life in fear again.

So I opened the package, and inside was the ring he’d given me as his submissive, but the note inside, stunned me:

Rebecca,

It belongs to you, the way you once belonged to me.

That is all the note says. He does not even sign it. And I don’t know what it means. I just know that as much as I love that ring, I’m not ready to put it back on my finger. Because you see, I fear losing him. I do. I’d admit that to no one but myself. But I fear losing me more than I do him and I was losing me as his submissive. So I put it on a chain around my neck. It’s a message to him. He can have me but this time, it’s on my terms.

 

PART FIVE

Wednesday, twelve pm

Have you ever gone to bed dreading the next day then woke up and felt the same? Not because you just didn’t want to get out of bed. More like something was wrong. Something was going to go wrong this day. That’s how I felt this morning when I woke up, and it had nothing to do with a nightmare. For once, I didn’t have one. I thought perhaps it was about my former Master discovering the necklace that would bind us together, on a chain at my neck, rather than on my finger. I mean, yes, I want more from him, but the truth is, I have enough self worth that I do not need more at the cost of settling. And I don’t think that is what he really needs or wants either. I think I fear finding out I’m not the person who can help him see that though. That I’m really not the woman for him. But if that’s true, then parting ways is right for both of us. Painfully right. Anyway, maybe that was part of the dread I was feeling, but it felt more foreboding.

The day has officially started weird. This morning, I arrived at the gallery and parked in the back lot, only to find no other cars. Everyone but me seemed to be running late. I headed inside and the lights were out. I left them off because I didn’t want to encourage people to come to the front door when no one else was there. But here’s the weird part. I entered the back offices and my light was on. Bossman, as everyone calls our boss, left after me last night. He’s methodical and anal. Even if I had forgotten to turn my light off, which I wouldn’t do, he would never have left it on. A shiver of unease had slid down my spine and I’d pulled my phone from my purse and dialed “911” without punching the call button. Just to be safe. A girl who is single, and a girl who was raised by an absent single mother, learns to be cautious.

I walk to the door and peek around the corner, and to say that I was stunned is an understatement. Mary, my co-worker, who not only has an obvious crush on Bossman, but wants the opportunities he’s allowed me with his family’s auction house letting me place and sell through them, was sitting at my desk, reading one of my journals. I felt violated. Which is crazy considering the things I’ve done at the club with a master in control but that had been a choice and I’d always known, no matter how uncomfortable I felt, that he’d protect me. I’d also known I’d made the choice to do those things, no matter how reluctantly at times. But this. This I did not choose. This was, is, an invasion of my privacy. Thankfully, it was my work journal, which was at least a little less invasive but it still had my inner most personal thoughts on the staff and our clients. On her.

I rounded the corner. “What are you doing?” I’d demanded.

Shock had radiated across her pale face, and she shoved her bleached blonde hair behind her ears. “Oh I…I…” She’d shut the journal and shoved it in the drawer. “I was looking for sales records for last month. I can’t find them and need to do a presentation for Bossman.” She’d stood up. “You weren’t in and I was desperate.”

“How long did desperate make you read my journal?” I’d asked.

“Journal? That book? I’d just opened it. I need to get to my desk.” She’d rushed toward me and I wanted to stand my ground and make her explain herself, but really, what would it have solved? She’d lie and it would get more awkward. But the interesting thing. She didn’t ask me for those sales figures.

I’d rushed to my desk and opened my drawer, removing the journal to thumb through, wondering how bad the damage would be from my words. I’d barely opened it when I’d heard, “Ms. Mason.”

My gaze had jerked up to find Bossman himself leaning on the archway of my doorway, his blue suit, fitted to perfection, his very presence an explosion of power. And my God. He’s just so overwhelmingly male. So overwhelmingly good looking. It’s hard to work for a man like that.

“Mr. Compton,” I’d said.

“Why was Mary in your office?” he’d asked, his stare hooded, his tone unreadable but somehow expectant.

I considered that answer with caution. He’s a man who doesn’t like any game he doesn’t create, though he certainly excels, at those. And he wouldn’t be asking me this question, staring at me right now, and waiting for a reply, if he didn’t suspect trouble. In a matter of seconds, I decided that that If I were to tell him what Mary had done, he’d fire her.

“We’re co-workers,” I’d said.

“You mean competitors.”

“Because you pitted us against each other,” I’d reminded him. “She wanted to work with Riptide.”

He’d stared at me with those hard gray eyes, several intense beats before he’d said, “Yes. She did. But I don’t trust her.”

“And you do me?” I’d asked, taking the bait he’d lead me to, and waiting for what I was certain would be an answer I did not expect.

“You get trust when you give it,” was his reply, and he’d watched me, expectation in the air again.

He’d wanted me to say that I trust him and I was, am, stunned by the fact that I don’t want to give him the power that would offer him. I realize now that I don’t want to play his games. I don’t want to play games at all. I’m changing personally and professionally.

My silence had told him this. I’d seen it in the darkening of his gaze, the hard set of his jaw. Something had flickered in his eyes. I didn’t like that. His lips had twitched, and I’d known in that instant I’d displeased him when I’d spent a year trying to please him. Too often, I did not.

He’d turned and left without a word. He does this often. It’s his way of making you wonder what he is thinking. And as you do, he has control, but remarkably, I find, it also makes me self reflect to the point, I know me better. Maybe that is why I work well with that man. His games, even when I do not, want to play them, make me grow. And this time was no different. I sat there after his departure, my fingers on the ring where it hangs at my neck, and I’d asked myself why I couldn’t give him my offer of trust. This is work. This is my career. And then, I’d realized many things, but one quite large thing I think. When I’d come to the gallery, to Mark Compton, I’d been an innocent girl, eager to earn this job. I’d come to him a young girl who had an open heart and I had trusted easily. I’m not that girl anymore, if I were the ring would be back on my finger.

 

Wednesday 6 pm

I cannot write everything there is to write. Not now. I’m still at work. But this day has been crazy. I was at Ava’s coffee shop grabbing coffee to get me through what will be a late night, and I found her and Mary huddled in a corner. It made me uncomfortable. I don’t know why but I felt that it was about me. That is very self-centered, I know. I’m not that girl. I don’t think everything is about me but it just felt off in some way. I’d left before they’d seen me and that’s when I’d come face to face with him. I’d stepped outside and was halfway back to the gallery when he’d stepped in my path. Have I ever mentioned he smells like a wonderful spice? I don’t know what kind of spice. Just spice. Really, yummy, delicious spice. Nutmeg and honey? No. No. That is a strange comparison. Just warm and wonderful. And he’d been so close I could reach out and touch him, but of course, you never touch a master without behind told to touch him.

Which is why I touched him.

I put my hand on his chest, and I swear he sucked in a breath. And I was holding mine. To my surprise, his hand had covered mine, and he’d held me to him. “Rebecca,” he’d breathed out, and this new way he says my name, like I’m the reason he has a voice, set my heart to racing.

“Hello,” I’d said, which was silly. Hello? I should have said his name. Why can’t I ever say it? Why is he still Master to me?

“Did you get my gift?”

“Yes I-” My free hand goes to the ring on the chain. “I’m wearing it.”

He’d gone still. So very still.

And I have to go back to work.

More soon…

PART SIX

Wednesday, eleven pm

Somehow, I made it through an evening at the gallery that included an open house with a wine tasting. Normally, having artists in the house like the famous, Chris Merit–a local that is famous worldwide–would enthrall me. Tonight, I couldn’t stop thinking about that encounter on the street with my former Master. Former. There is the key word that we defined tonight. I think he really didn’t believe I would stick to my word. I think he really believed I’d become his submissive again. I know he did. From the very instant his heavy stare had landed on the ring where it hung on a chain at my neck, I could feel the dark energy radiating off him. I could feel the iron will of that man, telling me without words, I’d broken the rules. I knew then that sending me that package, with my ring in it again, had been his way of reclaiming me.

In all of sixty seconds, he’d taken my hands and led me to an alcove in front of an antique shop, the concrete wall hiding us from the public eye. I’d ended up against the wall, that big body of his, caging mine, against the stone at my back. But not touching me. See, that is what he does. He makes me feel him, even when he’s not touching me. He makes me want him, when I swear, I’ll never want him again. He smells good and it makes me remember how good he tastes and feels.

“This is how it is?” he’d demanded.

“What does that even mean?” I’d whispered, and God, my throat had been so dry. And my heart had been racing. It’s racing now just typing this.

“You know who and what I am,” he’d said, without directly answering my question.

“What I know,” I’d said, “is who and what I am. And it’s not your submissive. I am, however, the woman who loves you. I’m also the woman who says that to you, and never gets a reply. That’s not enough anymore.”

He gray eyes had sharpened, and he’s stared at me for so many seconds, it had felt like a year. “You know you’re special to me.”

“I know every submissive you’ve ever had was special to you.”

“You aren’t them.”

“I know,” I’d said. “I’m not. And I will never pretend to be again.”

His hand had come down on my hip, a branding that had scorched me from the inside out. “You belong to me.”

When he says those things to me, I get wet, and hot, and want in so many ways. There is just something about that man saying you belong to him, that makes me want to be owned. In bed. That’s the thing. I like how he owns me in bed. I don’t, however, want to be owned the rest of the time. And damn it, I want to own him, too. I want him to belong to me, too.

“I belong to me,” I’d replied, and I’d let the defiance I’d felt lace my words.

“I’ll share.”

“That’s the problem,” I’d said, those words cutting me with bad memories. I’d remembered him inviting another Master to our games. I remember him inviting her to our games. All to push me away. And I hate myself for letting him. For saying yes. “You will share,” I’d added. “And that’s not okay with me.” I’d reached up and removed his hand from my hip. “When and if you ever want to be with me, not a submissive, call me. Until then, this is goodbye.” I’d tried to step around him, but he’d tangled fingers into my hair, and stared down at me, “Rebecca,” he’d breathed out, and even now, I can still taste the kiss that had followed, the power in its depths. The push and command. It had been his body claiming mine, where his words had failed. And my body had responded. Before I’d know it, his hand was under my skirt, under my panties, and I’d been panting and moaning. I’d shattered, in too few seconds. He’d owned me.

And yet, nothing had changed.

I still wanted more.

I still want more.

And I’d told him that. “This changes nothing,” I’d said.

He’d tilted his head upward, torment he never allows me, or anyone, to see etched in his features, the hard lines of his body, telling the same story, as the edginess radiating off him. Seconds tick by, before he lowers his chin, and looks at me.  “I’m me. I can’t be anyone but who I am.”

“And I can’t be anyone but who I am.”

Seconds ticked by, before he’d stepped back, giving me space to leave. Oh God. My heart had hurt in that moment. I’d taken a few steps and my back was to him when he’d said, “Rebecca.”

I’d stopped but not turned, as he’d added, “You matter to me more than you will ever know.”

I wasn’t sure what to say to that. I wasn’t sure of anything anymore than I am now. I just knew it wasn’t enough and I’d started walking again. I’d left him there in the alcove and despite the orgasm he’d given me, nothing about the experience had been satisfying.

Anyway, back to the open house. There had been a man there. A good looking, rich, charming man. He asked me out. I said no when the truth is, maybe I should have said yes. Did I mention he’s good looking, rich, and charming? He made me laugh, even tonight, after the alcove. He made me feel pretty and wanted. He was what most would call a Dream Man.

And yet…I said no.

 

PART SEVEN

Thursday, eleven pm

It’s been a week and one day since that encounter in the alcove. He hasn’t called me. He hasn’t sent me a note. I haven’t contacted him either. But I’ve seen him several times. We’ve made eye contact. And I’ve felt him. Not literally, but in those looks, I’ve felt his torment, his desire, his need for me. But I’ve also felt his resistance to what I need from him. I think this means we’re over.

That Dream Man I wrote about stopped by the Gallery today, and bought a very expensive Chris Merit painting from me. It was a big commission, and I should be pleased, but he asked me out right after, and it made me feel as if he were buying me. I just…I don’t want to be owned in any way ever again. I declined the date, and when I left work tonight, he was waiting for me, leaning on a fancy sports car that I’m pretty sure cost more than that painting which was a cool hundred thousand dollars. His suit, a black pin striped number, had been thousands too I assume. I still felt the same. Like he was trying to buy me. And so I decided to just be clear and direct. I marched right up to him.

He’d pushed off his car, and we’d stood toe to toe, closer than I’d meant to stand. “Rebecca,” he’d said, giving my velvet coat, a gift from my mother, I’d paired with an emerald green scarf, a once over, his brown eyes both warm with a gentleness and hot with attraction, when they’d met mine. “You look beautiful,” he’d added.

I’d gotten pretty warm then, too, which had stunned me. I’d really started to believe no one else but my former Master, could make me anything but cold. It had kind of scared me. It made me feel like I was losing the man I love. But then, I’d suddenly remembered a saying my grandmother used to tell, when she was alive: If you have a bird and it flies away, if it comes back, it was yours. If it does not, it never was.

“Thank you,” I’d told him, in response to the compliment. “Is there a problem with the painting?”

“Yes,” he’d said. “There is. It made you uncomfortable.”

I was blown away that he was in tune enough with me to know this. “It didn’t make me uncomfortable,” I’d said, daring to say exactly what I’d felt. “You asking me out after buying it did.”

He’d arched a dark brown. “Because you don’t want to go out with me?”

“Because if felt like you bought the painting to buy me.”

“It’s my second Chris Merit painting,” he’d said. “The first I picked up in Paris. And at the risk of sounding arrogant, I don’t buy women. I don’t have to.”

“Oh. No. I mean–your–of course you don’t. I’m sorry. It’s just…I’m coming off a strange relationship.”

“And you felt like property?”

“Something like that. And at the risk of sounding like a jerk, you do flash your money around. How do you even know if you’re buying a woman or not?”

“You can tell a lot about a person when you flash your money around. It certainly has told me a lot about you.”

“What has it told you about me?”

“That you don’t care about my money. Go to dinner with me.”

“No.”

“Go to dinner with me,” he’d repeated.

“I don’t even know you. I know nothing about you.”

“That’s what you learn over dinner. But if it makes you feel better, let’s make it coffee. Now. Next door.”

I’d found myself wanting to say yes, but still I said, “No.”

He’d given me one of his warm brown stares, seconds ticking by before he’d said, “I’ll walk you to your car. Where are you parked?”

“At a meter around the corner but you don’t have to do that.”

“If I had to do it, I wouldn’t want to do it.”

I have no idea why but that comment charmed me. Really. He’d charmed me from the moment I met him. “All right. Thank you.”

We’d started walking and I remember thinking that he was so very big and powerful, beside me. By big, I mean, his presence. I felt him there. I think everyone and anyone would. And really, it’s perhaps because he has that force about him, that he could even get my attention right now. I mean, my Master–ugh–no, no, no–former Master–consumed me.

“How long have you been interested in art?” he’d asked.

“Since I was a teenager,” I confess. “I wanted to be an artist, but I wasn’t gifted enough.”

“Perhaps you’re hard on yourself. Do you have any of your own work?”

“Oh no. I’m not hard on myself, just realistic, but that’s okay. I appreciate art. I love it. I get to work around it every single day.” We round the corner. “When did you decide you loved art?”

“My father’s an art collector and has been since I was a small child. Museums and art exhibits have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.”

I’d stopped walking and pointed to my car. “This is me,” and then feeling curious about him and his family, I don’t know what really happened then but I’d blurted out, “How do you, and your father, make all this money you make?”

He’d laughed, this low, sexy laugh. “My family is in real estate, and I write novels, for a living.”

Enthralled, at this creative side of him, that is in itself, a form of art, I’d quickly asked, “Novels? What kind of novels?”

“Thrillers.”

“Do you have pen name?”

“I do and you’ll have to go to dinner with me to find out what it is.”

“No,” I’d said again, when I really wanted to say “yes,” but a date with this would-be, could-be, dream man, means deciding the man I love is not my dream man. And I just couldn’t do that.

He hadn’t looked surprised. Instead, he’d reached in his pocket, then taken my hand, to press a card into my palm, and his touch–it had been surprisingly electric. “Change your mind and call me.” It had been an order, but then, he’d shocked me with this low, raspy. “Please.

It’s the “please” that had gotten to me. The way he’d managed to command me but still ask me. It was sexy and right, in ways that I needed it to be right. But he hadn’t pushed. He’d turned and walked away. And now I sit here, staring at the card, that simply reads, “Alex Marque” and wondering if I should call. Of course, I googled him, and there is no writer, that has this name. There is a mega real estate empire though. I find myself wanting to know his pen name. I find myself wanting to call. But even more so, I want my former Master to call.

I’m very confused.

Maybe I should go to dinner. Maybe that will help me know if the past is the past or the present. I’m going to do, it. I’m going to call Alex, and just say “yes.”

 

PART EIGHT 

Friday, ten pm

I know I said I was going to call Alex and accept that date, but I didn’t. I felt guilty, like I was betraying the Master, who is no longer my Master. But the thing is, I feel like I’m betraying my heart, too. I love him and I know the pain he’s hiding from. I’ve seen it in his eyes over and over and over again. I feel like I am hurting him by leaving him even though he’s hurting me by keeping me at a distance. And it’s not about being his submissive. Being a submissive, though not natural to me, is not a bad thing. In fact, I found it to be an incredible bond, shared with someone you trust completely. It can be freedom and a connection shared with someone else, that I don’t think I could explain if asked. It’s something you just have to experience. But my master used the role of submissive as his way of keeping me at a distance. It was a tool to protect himself from the emotional bond growing between us. The problem for him though, was it became a way that we grew closer, and each time I felt that happening, he’d push me to do something he knew I wouldn’t like. He’d bring in the second master, to share me. He’d bring in her. God. I can’t believe I let myself be shared. I can’t believe I don’t hate him for doing it. But I have no one to blame but myself. The power is always with the submissive. The submissive says “yes” or “no.” Until recently, I never wanted to say no to him.

So, I didn’t call Alex last night when I’d planned to do so. I told myself it was too late since it was nearly midnight when I put my journals aside. I went to work this morning trying to convince myself to call him today, but I just kept finding work to do and yet, I managed to find time to call down to the bakery and find out if they had my favorite chocolate cookies. That tells you, I didn’t want to call. And yet…I did. I’m very confused about why I felt that way. How could I have wanted to call Alex, and still be in love with another man? And almost as if Alex knew my conflict, he showed up. Not literally, but he might as well have.

I’d just sat down at my desk for a late lunch which included a bag of those chocolate cookies and a cup of coffee, because my diet couldn’t afford for me to eat a sandwich and the bag of cookies. And considering my tormented mood, I knew I was going to eat the cookies no matter what. I was three delicious cookies in when Amanda had appeared at my door.

“Flowers for you!” she’d exclaimed.

I’d nearly choked on crumbs, and had to wash them down with a hot swig of coffee, and not because of the flowers, but rather, the certainty they were not from the man I love. How did I know this? They did not match the ring on the chain at my neck. They weren’t roses but rather some sort of orange blossom flowers.

I’d recovered from the attack of the cookie crumbs by the time Amanda set the flowers on my desk. “Are they from the same man who sent you the gift last week?”

I’d felt that question like a punch in the chest because, no. They were not from the master I love. “Let’s hope,” I’d said, with the hope she’d leave, because as much as I love Amanda, she’s young and she pushes and pushes and in that moment, I just didn’t have it in me to deal with that part of her.

I’d grabbed the card though, and read it:

Marigold’s represent a desire for riches, but I find all I desire is you. I can’t stop thinking about you. – Alex

“Well?” Amanda had pressed.

“Ricco Alvarez,” I’d lied. Despite hating lies. “Marigold’s mean desire for riches, and he’s thanking me for selling so many of his paintings the past few weeks.”

“Oh.” She’d looked disappointed. “Well that’s nice. And he is a good looking, rich and famous artist. I think he likes you.”

“I think he likes the money I’m making him,” I’d told her and motioned for her to leave. “Scram, you. I have to eat my lunch before my next appointment.”

She’d pursed her lips and headed away, and suddenly, Bossman, Mark Compton himself, had been standing in my doorway, looking better than any chocolate cookie could ever taste, in a blue suit and silver tie. And being that he’s blonde, he makes tall, blond, and hot mean way more than tall, dark, and good looking. “Ricco sent you flowers?”

Lying to Amanda had been one thing. Lying to him, well, you don’t lie to Mark Compton. Those gray eyes of his just see right to the soul. “No. He did not.”

I’d just admitted lying to Amanda, and he’d stood there, staring at me, assessing me in that way he assesses me, and really everyone. And then, he’s just pushed off the door and left. And this is the thing. When Mark Compton comes in the room, he charges the air, and consumes it. When he leaves, it’s like a bubble being deflated. He takes all that energy with him. My shoulders had slumped and I’d sucked in air. That’s when the sweet, and almost spicy scent of the marigolds had teased my nostrils. I’d sat up and stared at them and it had hit me that while Bossman has been assessing me, maybe judging me, I’d been judging me, too. I’ve been doing a lot of judging myself, and maybe, just maybe I need to be with someone who isn’t judging me.

I’d opened my drawer and pulled out Alex’s card, before punching his number in. I’d then stood up, and walked to the door where I’d shut it, and then before I could stop myself, I’d hit the call button. He’d answered on the first ring. “Rebecca.”

“How did you know it was me?”

“I just knew. You got the flowers?”

“Yes,” I’d said, my gaze landing on the orange blossoms where they’d sat on my desk. “They’re lovely.”

“You’re lovely,” he’d said. “Listen. Rebecca. I’m in Aspen on business.”

“Oh I’m sorry,” I’d said. “I didn’t mean to interrupt.”

“You didn’t. Have you ever been here?”

“No. I hear it’s beautiful.”

“It is. I want you to come here. I’ll fly you here to me. I’ll get you your own room. No pressure at all for more than just dinner and a chance to get to know you.”

I was stunned. I stumbled over my words when I never stumble over my words. “I…This is… I have to work.”

“It’s Friday. Aren’t you off for the weekend?

“I work Saturday.”

“Then I’ll have a private jet waiting on you when you get off.”

“I have to work Monday.”

“And I’ll have you back there. I’ll send you a list of character references. I need to be here. And I need you to be here, too.”

Need. He needs me. “This is crazy.”

“Life is short, sweetheart. You have to live it. Live this part of it with me.”

Life is short. Those words had resonated with me. They have even before he spoke them. They’d become my motto after my mother had died. They are why I dared a job in the competitive, often low paying art world, and I’d made it work.

“Say yes, Rebecca,” he’d pressed.

I’d dared the art world. I’d dared to be submissive. And I’d decided right then, to dare do take an adventure. “Yes,” I’d said, and I could almost hear Alex smiling through the phone.

“Excellent,” he’d replied. “What time do you want the plane to be ready?”

“Five.”

“Five it is. I’ll text you the arrangements when I’ve made them. See you soon.”

“See you soon.”

We’d ended that call, and I’d had butterflies in my belly. I still do. I’m going to Aspen.

With Alex.

 

PART NINE

Saturday, six pm

I’m on a private jet on my way to Aspen. I’m excited and nervous, in good ways, which I didn’t think was possible earlier today, but I attribute that to the encounter I just had with him right before I left for the airport. Yes. Him. My ex-master. I’d just finished work, and my taxi had no showed. There’s a convention in town, and it was nearly impossible to get a cab apparently. While a plane waited for me on a runway. I had to cancel so Alex could stop paying whatever fee that must be costing him. Aspen, I’d decided, just wasn’t meant to be.

Decision made, I’d walked, with my bag, to the coffee shop to grab a coffee, only because I’d been by for the gallery staff earlier and knew the owner of the shop wasn’t in today. Which mattered, because I really hadn’t been in the mood to have her look me up and down and judge me, but then is anyone ever in the mood to be judged? I really don’t understand why Ava behaves that way. She’s stunningly gorgeous. Owns a coffee shop so clearly has courage to take risks and be her own person. I’d admire her if she treated people kindly, but it’s not just me that she’s nasty to. But that is another story.

Bottom line. Ava was gone so I went in to the coffee shop for a White Mocha. Once I’d had it in hand, I’d settled down at a table in a corner and dialed Alex, who’d answered right away. “Rebecca,” he’d said in this warm, smoky kind of voice. And he’d said my name like it brought him pleasure and it made me think about the ways he might bring me pleasure. Romantic ways. Sexy ways. Not handcuffs, blindfolds, and spankings. It just feels like it will be different with him.

“Where are you now?” he’d asked. “The plane is waiting on you.”

“I can’t get a taxi,” I’d said. “There’s a convention in town. I should just-”

“I’ll send a car. Where are you?”

“Maybe I shouldn’t go,” I say. “It’s so late and-”

“I really want to see you,” he’d said. “Come see me, Rebecca.”

I’d had this warm feeling in my chest when he’d said my name again. “Okay,” I’d said and I’d given him my location.

“The car will be there in fifteen minutes. I’ll call you when it pulls up.”

He’d hung up and I’d started, finally, to let myself look forward to seeing him, but my hand had gone to the ring dangling on the chain at my neck, but not intentionally. Almost like my subconscious knew it was there, and knew it was a problem. It ties me to another man, after all. It took me a full five minutes to convince myself to do it, but I’d take then necklace, the ring, off. Once I’d tucked it into my purse pocket and zipped it up, I’d gotten anxious to get to the airport, and headed to the door watch for the car.

That’s when he had walked in. He was wearing my favorite suit he owns. A blue suit with a blue tie, that softens those hard, calculating eyes of his. But it’s also the suit he’d been wearing the day I’d met him.

“Rebecca,” he’d said, and when he’d said my name, his tone had been impossible to read. There wasn’t seduction there. There wasn’t even torment or loss. Because you see, that’s his way. He doesn’t show emotion. That’s why, in intimate moments, when he’d allowed me to see the pain and torment in his eyes I’d felt he trusted me.

“Hi,” I’d said, because nothing more brilliant came to me.

“Let me buy you a coffee,” he’d said.

“I have a coffee,” I’d said, showing him the cup in my hand, and now, looking back, since I’d been exiting the coffee shop, he had to have known that, even without seeing my drink.

“Stay with me while I order mine.”

It wasn’t a question but a command. And one I decline to follow. “I can’t,” I’d said.

“Can’t?” His eyes had sharpened. Why?”

My phone had rang then and I’d scooped it out of my pocket and answered. “Hi,” I’d said, because why wouldn’t I greet two men the same way in five minutes?

“The car is there,” Alex had said.

“I’m about to walk outside now,” I’d replied.

“See you soon, beautiful,” he’d said, the charming endearment, warming my cheeks.

I’d ended the call and found my former master staring at me. “You have a date.”

“Yes. I have a date.”

He glances at my neck. “And you took off the ring.”

“Yes,” I’d confirmed. “I took it off.”

He stared at me several beats and then to my disappointment, said simply, “Have a good night, Rebecca.”

It had hurt. It does hurt. He essentially was letting me go. I’d stepped around him and exited to the then quiet San Francisco street, and the driver was holding the rear door of a limo open for me. I’d reached the door, and hesitated before I got into the car. I’d thought about being fair to Alex. If I got into that car, I needed to really be present with him this weekend. I needed to forget the man who’d just let me go, and really, enjoy a man, who called me beautiful and said my name like it was sex and seduction. I had to choose between the Master and the Dream Man.

I’d handed my bag to the man and gotten in the limo, obviously, since I’m writing this from a plane, but I’d felt my ex-master watching as I did. And when the door had shut, it had felt like me letting him go. And so, here I am and the truth is, I’m ready for this. I didn’t think I was, but it’s amazing how one encounter actually did what I didn’t think was possible. Set me free.

PART TEN

Sunday, midnight

I don’t even know where to begin. I’m just home from my weekend with Alex and he treated me like a princess. And the thing about being treated like a princess that none of us wants to admit, is that it only matters if you’re being treated like a princess by someone you want to treat you like a princess. If it’s the wrong guy we try to convince ourselves he should be the right guy, but the outcome is the same. No matter how well intended, the princess treatment fails.

Alex did not fail.

From the moment I arrived in the Aspen, he seduced me and not just my body. He listened to me. He made me laugh. I’d landed at the small airport to a private car waiting on me the moment I got out of the plane. A driver had held the door for me. At that moment, I thought I wasn’t going to enjoy myself. It had just felt like all the times my master sent a car to pick me up. But then I’d climbed in the back for the car and found Alex was there waiting. I remember being struck by his dark good looks, a polar opposite of the man I’ve called Master.

His dark good looks were accentuated by his gray suit with a blue pinstripe and a matching navy blue tie. And those brown eyes of his burned with amber heat, the way he looked at me with such piercing intensity had stirred a physical reaction in me. My skin had warmed and my nipples pebbled, an ache forming in my sex. He hadn’t even spoken and I wanted him. At that point, I hadn’t wanted to have that reaction. I didn’t want to crave him or want him. I absolutely didn’t want to feel desire so intense that it became a need. I rejected that possibility despite my body telling me it was possible. Some part of me still felt it betrayed my master. But then I’d flashed back to another limo and another night.

My master had sent me sexy, black heels, and a skimpy black dress with a note that had read: No bra and no panties. It was not a dress I’d wear without a bra and panties. The bodice was fitted, my breast barely concealed. The bottom half sheer in the light. But I would be wearing it for him, not me, or anyone else. I’d dressed, and walked outside to the limo waiting on me, and after the emotional connection we’d shared during sex the night before I’d hoped we were going to his house. I’d feared we’d go to his sex club where he’d put distance between us. It was worse. Master Two, as I’ve come to call him, was there. This man who my master trusts enough to share me. Who he always calls to join us when he feels we’re getting too close.

I’d slipped into the car and they sat side by side in front of me. My master’s eyes had met mine, and I’d seen hardness in them. He’d shut me out and this was all about him showing me that fact. Proving it to him and me. “Show us how to please you,” he’d ordered.

“Show me,” Master Two had commanded. “Move her in front of me.”

My master had given me a slight incline of his head. My lips had firmed and I’d considered saying “no” but this is apart of being submissive. He commands. I obey. I’d scooted in front of Master Two and at his command slid my dress up my legs.

“Show me,” he’d ordered, and I’d then touched myself. And he’d touched me. I didn’t want to like it. I didn’t want to feel pleasure. But I had. And that was the wall my master wanted between us.

Some might think that I am crazy for allowing Master Two to be a part of our play but it’s in the contract. And that contact protects you physically by setting boundaries but it also protects you emotionally by setting boundaries. As it did with my master that night.

I’d blinked back to the present, to Alex sitting in front of me in that limo, and before either of us had even spoken, I’d had that memory create a realization. No matter what my master’s intentions, no matter what his reasons for his actions, he’d created a wall that night and on many other occasions, but each time, he’d cut me just a little deeper. And I’m not sure you ever heal from that many wounds.

That’s why when Alex had finally spoken and said, “I’m glad you’re here, beautiful,” it had hit me, that we are fresh and new, without any walls, without any pain. And this was a premise I found as alluring as the man.

Alex had offered me a glass of champagne then and I’d nervously gulped it down when I have learned never to gulp alcohol. I don’t handle well, so I’ve learned at wine tastings at the gallery, to make a glass last. But I didn’t. I’d been nervous for the first time in a long time. I wasn’t sure if that was good or bad. Alex had refilled my glass then and when our hands had touched the charge that sparked would have made me weak-kneed had I been standing. He knew. I’d seen it in his eyes. They’d darkened, sharpened. He wanted me and I wanted him.

I’d been certain we’d go to the hotel then and I’d probably do something I might, or might not, regret. And we did go to the fancy five-star property. Only, when we exited the car and he’d turned to me and offered me his arm it was clear he had no intention of taking me to bed.

“It’s a warm summer night,” he said. “How about we walk the town?”

He’d wanted to walk the town and spend time with me. I’d been charmed. And so we had walked and I’d been enamored by the quaint little town. Surprised that Aspen isn’t glitz and glam like you’d think when you hear about Hollywood types visiting. It’s just a cute town with stores, craft booths, and of course, food. And during off season, it’s a ghost town at night. So we just walked and talked. He’d asked me about my mother, and I’d dared to share her death by cigarettes, which is how I think of her lung cancer. He’d listened and offered insightful thoughts. He’d then ask about my father. I’d laughed, bitterly.

“I have never met him but I hear he’s a mobster in Vegas. That’s why we moved away.”

He shared with me that his father was not much better and we’d talked for hours. He’d told me he’d learned from his father to be cautious who you trust. It’s why he doesn’t do serious relationships. Maybe that was my warning, his way of telling me this was just an escape for us both. But I was hit by the difference between him and the man I’ve come to know as my ex-master. Alex leaves himself open to be surprised, to fall in love. My ex-master uses a contract to ensure he can never make that mistake. And to him, it is a mistake. I was a mistake. It’s another thought that gives me freedom to just enjoy this time with Alex.

At some point we’d stopped to sit on bench where we’d talked art and I’d become animated when I’d realized how intensely he was once again staring at me. The next he’d been brushing his lips over mine, his hand sliding to my neck, under my hair. His tongue this gentle, seductive caress, before he’d murmured, “I’ve wanted to do that since the moment I met you.”

I couldn’t say the same to him. I’d certainly had found him overwhelmingly male and good looking when I’d first met him at a gallery event. I’d even thought of him as someone most women would want to kiss. Just not me at the the time, because I had yet to open myself up to the possibility of life after my attempt at being submissive. But it didn’t matter that I couldn’t say the same to him. He’d then asked a question that had taken me off guard.

“Who is he?”

I’d pulled back to look at him. “What?”

“Who’s the man I’m competing with?”

I didn’t ask how he knows there’s someone else. I imagine I still taste like him. “The past. He’s the past.”

“Is he?”

“Yes. He is.”

“And I’m what?”

“Possibility,” I say.

“I can live with that.”

He’d brushed his lips across mine again and stood, offering me his hand. And once again he’d surprised me. We hadn’t rushed back to the hotel. We’d walked and talked more only now each word and step, each touch of our hands and even brush of our hips, seemed to seduce us, or at least me, with those possibilities.

When we’d finally gone to the hotel, I’d discovered we were in a suite that had two bedrooms as promised. “I can get you your own room, if you’d prefer.”

“No,” I’d said quickly. “I want to be close to you.”

Approval had lit his eyes, and he’d opened the door. My eyes met his, and there was a silent understanding between us. My choice in this moment opens the doors to those possibilities. I’d walk into the room, decisively making my choice to find out what this is between us. Again though, he hadn’t rushed things. We’d ordered room service and ate in the living room, more champagne-filled glasses with our meal. The room had been warm or maybe it had been just me. And somehow a brush of a hand, a touch of legs, and I’d ended up on his lap, straddling him. He’d stroked hair from my face. “This doesn’t have to happen now,” he’d declared. “We don’t have to do this.”

“I know,” I’d whispered, and amazingly, I had known. And knowing I had a choice had been the absolute most erotic part of that moment. There was no contract. There was no command. There had just been the chemistry I felt with an amazing man and the way he and I had lingered there, mouths close, just breathing together. As if we were both savoring the possibilities of all that might happen that night, and even beyond, expanding between us. It reminded me that daring to open myself to possibilities is how I found the art world again. It’s how I started to live again.

I remember the very instant our lips had touched. I remember the freedom in our kiss that had started slow and sultry and I didn’t hold back, the freedom of contract, or obligation between myself and Alex empowering. There were no expectations. No rules. I could go on and write details but I will leave it at this. He was tender at moments and wild at others. I am no longer someone with inhibitions and yet at times I felt shy in a really sex way, that I can’t explain. I’d melted for him.

Where does that leave us? He wants to see me again. I want to see him again. That doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten my ex-master. That doesn’t mean I don’t love him. It just means that it’s time to love me, too. As for Alex. We’ll I’m not going to call him my dream man. I’m not sure either man get that title. I just know that whatever choice I make will be about the possibilities that I allow myself to discover.  And the rules, that only I make.

THE END… For now.

This will be the last entry on Hypable. Thank you so much for visiting every week for more of Rebecca! You can read more about her and her journals, which sent of a whirlwind journey in the Inside Out and Careless Whispers series, and I will be expanding and making things a little sexier in the for-purchase version of Rebecca’s Forgotten Journals. Sign-up to be notified when the expanded and sexier version is available for purchase! Sign-up here: http://www.subscribepage.com/rebecca

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