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Other Colors -- Ch. 9-10

A D/s romance set in Montreal.
Part 1 – Red (continued)

Chapter 9

“Christ in heaven, Penny…” his eyes dilated and his body stiffened. “Where in God’s name did you learn to do that?”

I blushed. It made me nervous, being so exposed in front of him. But I was glad he was pleased with me. I’d worked so hard, and suffered much.

I bit my lip, “You—you really like it?”

Peter stood beside me, studying the immense and swirling red surface of my canvas. It had been just seven days since Mr. Caine coerced me into creating it, six since I started up here in Peter’s studio—and five since each of these men, in their turn, had kissed me. I’d spoken to neither about what transpired. I’d spoken, really, to no one—not even Marie when I went home at night. Everything I had inside me, I’d put into the painting. Its softer contours paralleled the diffuse fluidity of my thoughts; its jagged angles my conflicts and anxieties.

He took a step back, adjusting his bookish, browline glasses, “Honestly—makes les Fauves look like les Chatons.” He caught my eye, grinning gamely, “If I’d known this was what you were up to in here, Pens, I’d have torched the place. We don’t need any more competition in this town.”

I knew he was flattering me, but I didn’t care. I was pretty proud of it. And it all came together so fast. I watched Peter closely as he stepped very near the painting, inspecting its texture.

His own work it seemed had stalled out this past week. I’d tried hard not listen from my little annex several days prior, when he and his model erupted into a riotous and uncomfortably detailed lover’s quarrel. And I’d tried even harder to turn invisible when she staggered into my little room wearing little more than some smeared mascara, scooped up her things, and stormed out of the studio, still barefoot, into the snow.

I never asked Peter what happened. It may have been my imagination, but amid the din, I thought I heard my name weaving in and out of her remonstrations against him, like a dropped stitch in the textile of her curses.

“So…what now, Pens?” he turned back to me. “Does this mean you’re finally cutting ties with Comrade Caine?”

My cheeks heated. He, too, had asked no questions—but Peter also made little effort to conceal that he was none too pleased with my having stayed the night over at Mr. Caine’s. I still couldn’t quite tell whether he felt jealous, or if he was just worried about me. Probably the latter. I cocked my head at him. He warned me from the start about Mr. Caine, and I ignored him… I’m still ignoring him.  And yet, I couldn’t help but notice the sly glint in his eye when, breaking for yet another cigarette in my annex, he’d asked if I would ever consider filling in until he found his new model.

I’d pay you,’ he blew two plumes of smoke, dragon-like, out through his nostrils. ‘I mean—you’ve definitely got that look I like, Pens…’

I don’t know. Peter was so generous, and I did owe him for all his help. I just might have considered it, if not for that kiss. And I don’t mean his. Peter’s kiss was sweet, benign; almost forgettable. It slipped in and out of my mind like some innocuous mistake—like leaving a pair mittens on the train, or ordering regular, and getting decaf.

But Mr. Caine. But Dmitri… His kiss was like a virus. He got inside me, overcoming all my defenses. I was infected. I tried. I tried hard to do as he’d told me; to just forget about him. But I couldn’t. I never would.

Being near him, somehow, in some slight and indescribable way, had changed me. He’d laid a strange, new lens over my eyes; shifting, just a little, the way I perceived the world around me. I had questions for him. And although he’d commanded me to keep away, before all was finished, I was going to get my answers.

And sooner rather than later... I bit my lip.

“Not quite,” I breathed. “I still need to deliver it to him. Today.”

Peter rolled his eyes, “For real? I mean, the guy’s loaded, right? He doesn’t have people for that sort of thing?”

“…No,” I lied. “I need to bring it to him. In person.”

“Well—” he ran a hand roughly through his curly, chestnut hair, “I'm not wild about the thought of you heading over there alone again, Pens. Gimme an hour. Pack things up in here, and I can drive you.”

I shook my head, “Really, that’s—not necessary, Peter.”

“Oh give it up, Foster,” he smirked unsteadily. “How the hell are you gonna get this monster over there without my flatbed?”

He had a point. Admittedly, my plans for confronting Mr. Caine were fairly vague—but even so, I was pretty certain they didn’t involve Peter’s presence. There really didn’t seem to be another option. I frowned, and nodded meekly.

“Cool. Glad you’ve still got some sense in you,” he made an awkward, brotherly gesture, mussing my hair a little, and stepped toward the door. “Call up Marie and Renault, maybe—we can all celebrate your newfound freedom on that fat, gazillionaire check of his tonight.”

“Yeah,” I breathed distantly; gazing, half-hypnotized, into the painting, “maybe so…”

My freedom?

***

‘To Carthage then I came.’ Beneath the stony, grey shadow of Lacoste, the confessions of St. Augustine rang tremulously between my ears, and rattled their way down my spine. God, I hope I won’t regret this… Part of me, I think, already did. We’d been sitting together in silence almost a full minute.

“…Motherfucker,” Peter rasped—it was apparently all he could manage; staring dumbstruck through the frosty windshield and up over the gate toward Mr. Caine’s ancient and palatial home. “So…what? Do we ring the bell, or do we answer the gatekeeper’s riddles, Pens?”

I wasn’t sure what to tell him—I hadn’t accounted for being locked out. But at that moment, a man’s voice crackled over the intercom.

“Bonjour. Que puis-je pour vous?”

“Bonjour, Monsieur Partout,” I leaned over Peter’s lap, recognizing Jules’ genteel elocution. “Its Penny Foster—the painter,” the word still felt quite weird on my tongue. “I’m here to give Mr. Caine his new piece.”

“His painting…” he repeated deliberately.

I winced, and held my breath. I wasn’t sure I could handle the humiliation of dragging Peter along on this misadventure, only to get turned back at the gate.

“…Of course. Bon retour, Madame,” he spoke at last, and I breathed both a little more and a little less easy as the bars opened up before us, “Je suis heureux de vous recevoir." 

“Merci, Monsieur,” I called as Peter rolled up the window.

“Well, that solves one problem, Foster,” Peter snorted. “There’s still no way in hell my truck’s making this turn.” He nodded just ahead of us, where the drive veered tightly between the garden wall and the trunk of a barren elm tree.

I chewed my lip. He was right.

“Just hop out,” he grumbled. “I’ll park it on the street, and carry the canvas up.”

My brow furrowed, “Are…you sure?”

“Yeah, whatever. Go settle the bill with Comrade Caine,” he forced a smirk, thinly disguising the underlying sneer. “Say your ‘da svidaniyas’ or whatever you need to do—I’ll be up there in a jiff.”

Again, I wasn’t sure what to say. He unlocked the door, and I hesitated.

“Its fine, Penny,” his smile held. “Just don’t let that damn gate close on me.”

“A-alright, Peter,” I nodded, grateful and more than a little stunned that he was going to give me the space I needed.

This…might work after all. I stepped lightly out of the truck, landing, almost painlessly, on both feet. I recalled warmly the way Mr. Caine had tended to my twisted ankle—obeying his injunction, with some elevation, pressure, and yes, a little ice, it seemed to have healed up nicely. And as I stepped, shivering, through the gate, I recalled less warmly what passed between us the next morning.

The cruel things he said to me. The way his skin felt against mine… The way I provoked him, and the way he hurt me. That kiss. The way we left it… like an open wound.

I wondered bashfully what might’ve happened if Peter’s phone call hadn’t interrupted us. I turned back, catching his eye as he threw the truck into reverse.

Don’t be long… I’m not sure I meant it. And I didn’t say it out loud.

Jules met me on the portico, his hands crossed decorously in front of him.

“Madame,” he bowed, “Welcome back to Lacoste,” he spoke in a somewhat quizzical tone. “I do not think Monsieur Caine was expecting you—so early today…”

Even with his eyes hidden behind the glasses, the insinuation was clear. He knew full well that I had no real business being there.

“I know,” I nodded, “I…wanted to surprise him, Monsieur. C-could you show me to him?”

“I apologize, Madame” he shook his head, “but Monsieur Caine was called away to Estoty this morning. I do not know when he’ll return.”

 Mon esti de tabarnak. Seriously? I knew would never get a chance like this again. I frowned, and my cheeks caught fire.

Damn him, I seethed silently. Monsieur Partout stood by, impassive.

It just didn’t seem fair—that Mr. Caine could force himself so indelicately and inextricably into my head; that he could intimidate me, kiss me, utterly addle me, and then banish me without a word of explanation. I was owed something. There had to be a reckoning.

I’ll have my bond…’ his unnerving allusion from the gallery echoed, again, in my head. I said nothing, and I was going nowhere. And after a beat, Jules seemed to take the hint.

“You may wait inside, Madame; or else I can settle your account—whichever you please. However…” he leaned closer, and his voice dropped, “A word of advice, Mademoiselle. Monsieur Caine seldom appreciates surprises.”

“I...understand, Monsieur,” I breathed tensely, my anxiety mounting by the moment. “But I think I’ll wait. I need his perspective." 

“On your work, Madame?”

“Quoi d'autre, Monsieur?” I answered cagily.

He nodded slowly, and for a moment, I thought I saw his lips curl into a dark smile beneath his wispy, white whiskers; then vanish.

“This way, Madame. I will show to Monsieur’s study,” he gestured. “I believe—it is where he desires to mount your piece."

I followed him on tiptoe through the dizzying foyer, up the split staircase, and doubled back toward the door of Mr. Caine’s infamous study.

“Will you take tea, Madame?” he turned the handle, “as I said, I do not know how long you’ll be waiting.”

I assented meekly, and no sooner had Jules ushered me in than Peter at last appeared in the foyer down below, clattering and rather muddy; hauling my huge canvas behind him.

Yikes. I peered over the balustrade. He was tracking dirt everywhere. Glad I wrapped it up… To protect the painting from the snow and grime of the streets, I’d covered it up in plastic sheeting, fastened with the very same rope I purchased a week earlier with my stretcher bars from Quincaillerie Donatien Alphonse.

“Hey, Pens! This thing’s a beast,” he hollered up from the foyer. “Come gimme a hand already.”

I winced. He sounded irritated, and a bit belligerent. I watched Jules’ eyebrows bend into a pair of scornful, white crescents over his glasses.

“Les déménageurs?”

“Sort of—” I nodded sheepishly, “my friend Peter. He’s helping me out today.”

“Je vois,” he touched my shoulder to keep me from following as he strode back down the stairs to the door.

“The lady, Monsieur,” he contemned, “is taking tea. Comment puis-je vous aider?”

“Oh Lord, Foster,” Peter grunted, catching sight of me overhead. “Who is this guy? Is he for real?”

I understood Peter’s reaction—mine was the same when I first met Jules. The man was like a living anachronism. But he was being awfully impolite. I opened my mouth to scold him, but Jules beat me to it.

“Mon nom,” he spoke with razor-sharp civility, “est Julius Honoré Partout III, le Majordome du Château Lacoste. Vous êtes qui, Monsieur?”

“The Doge of Venice,” Peter plopped the painting loudly against a wall, and gave a sardonic salute. “Hop to, Jeeves. The archduke is expecting us.”

An uncomfortable silence followed. I think Peter expected me to laugh.

“Je suis désolé, Monsieur Partout. Mon ami a…” I apologized from above, “une tempérament artistique...”

“…Je vois,” Jules answered me darkly before lifting one side of the painting, and nodding skeptically for Peter to do the same.

They carried the cumbersome canvas in silence, and I blushed on all of our behalves as I followed them, finally, into the study.

“You will excuse me, Madame,” he set his end down along a wall of dark, wooden bookshelves, “There is a matter I must attend to, and I must prepare your tea.” He bowed cordially, and then turned to Peter, “Monsieur,” he spoke icily, spun, and left us.

“You’re fucking kidding me, right?” Peter scoffed as soon as door shut. “So I got the damn thing up here—where’s Mister tall, dark and Russian, Pens?”

I shrugged, “…He’s not here.”

“Well what the hell are we waiting on? He can send a check—he’s obviously good for it,” he gestured glibly around the imposing room. “Come on, Foster. Before Max von Mayerling comes back—guy creeps me right the fuck out.”

He grabbed my arm, and I shrugged him away.

“You didn’t have to be so rude to him.”

“You serious?” he snorted.

“Look, you can go if you like, Peter. I’m staying,” I wrinkled my brow. “I’ll be fine, really.”

“Seriously—what have you been smoking? You know I’m not just leaving you here...” he groused, slumping into the chair behind a large bureau à gradin. 

I turned away.

“Come on, Pens. You’re not really mad at me, are you?

I didn’t answer. I wasn’t, really. But I also wasn’t terribly interested in Peter’s insecurities at the moment. Rather, I’d been mesmerized by the three, sprawling walls of books surrounding us. I ran my finger along several leather spines, deciphering the Babel of their titles. French and English I could untangle; but there were also Cyrillic letters, eszetts and umlauts, a little Latin, and—what is that, Dutch? I bit my lip. He’s smarter than he lets on…  

The whole room rather reeked of cognoscenti. Furnishings were modest—the desk, the chair, a black Barcelona daybed à la Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. But the real cynosures were his library, and his art.

Just glancing around, I spotted a heady and nightmarish Redon, a little Valloton print, and, I think, an early Léon Bakst. And I had a strange existential aversion against gazing directly at the conspicuous, naked space between a pair of Les Nabis nudes, where I suspected my canvas, inevitably, was to be crucified. I flushed. I liked my painting. I thought it was good—but not nearly good enough to hang between two genuine Masters. The very thought of it was humiliating.

I don’t get it… I don’t fucking get it. What is he playing at?

It felt odd, and a little unnatural; Peter and I waiting there in Dmitri Caine’s study, with Dmitri Caine nowhere to be found. They say that even after Hamlet leaves for England in Act IV, he remains really the only thing other characters seem to talk or care about. Even in his absence; their existences revolve around the space he once occupied. It’s like…the ghost of gravity, I guess. And standing there, alone with Peter, I felt a little like an Ophelia at Elsinore; snooping around the Black Prince’s bedroom with Laertes.

I stared through the expanse of banked windows behind the desk, out to the ice floes on the St. Lawrence, and shivered. There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance…I would give you some violets, but they withered all—

The door slid open, and my heart leapt into my throat. Peter swiftly removed his muddy boots from the desktop. We waited …No one? I looked down, and felt my nerves relax. It was Rupestrian.

Spotting me, he bounded heavily across the floor, and pounced; licking my face and knocking me clear against the wall.

“Stop, stop, stop!” I giggled, then—recalling Dmitri’s little discourse on ‘animal behavior’; on dominance, and submission—I steeled my voice. “Rupestrian. Pas touché!”

He retreated reluctantly and sat down, waiting for me to pat him. Peter stood up sharply behind the desk. The dog raised his upper lip, and growled.

“Christ. I hate dogs,” he muttered, taking a step backward.

“Ne fais pas ça, Rupestrian.”

The dog whimpered, but obeyed. I grinned, and scratched his ears.

“Je suis désolé, Madame—it seems the dog is fond of you,” Jules reentered, carrying a tea service set for one, and placed it on the bureau. “Monsieur,” he turned toward Peter, smirking slightly, “…I believe your vehicle is being towed.”

Tabarnak.

Peter’s eyes sprang open, “Pardon?”

“Your truck, Monsieur,” Jules folded his hands, “is being towed.”

“Not likely—” Peter scoffed, “that’s about six thousand kilos of steel. No fucking way someone’s towing it.”

“A white flatbed? Nova Scotia plates?”

Peter nodded suspiciously.

“You were in a fire lane, Monsieur. They are taking it.”

Peter spun around to the window. Through the branches, we could just make out the flashing, yellow lights of a wrecker as it raised Peter’s truck onto its hind wheels.

“What the f—” he snarled, and I cringed. “What the hell am I supposed to do now?”

“Follow me, Monsieur,” Jules gestured, still smirking, “I’ve called for a car. It will take you to the impound lot.”

“Great. Just—just fucking great. So fucking glad I signed on for this…” he rolled his eyes, and stepped toward me, “You coming, Foster?”

I hesitated, and shook my head.

“I’m really sorry, Peter. I—I need to stay.”

“Whatever,” he brushed past me, “Guess this is what I get. I don't know what I expected...”

I didn’t answer him. I could hardly look at him. I felt guilty—it wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t lied to him. But then, it also wouldn’t have happened if he trusted me a little more around Mr. Caine. Why the hell should he trust you, Penny? You just admitted you lied to him…

My mind was turning in circles as I watched him through the window, tramping out across the snowy garden with Jules. And I as saw his head disappear into the back of black town car, I felt my nerves begin to fail me.

It had been much easier this past week to master my anxieties far, far away from the cold, blue gaze of Dmitri Caine. I’d played it out in my head many times—the look on his face when he saw me, and the incendiary things I might say to him.

I needed him know that I wouldn’t suffer his arrogance; that I wasn’t afraid of him—that with our deal done, he had absolutely no power over me anymore. Or rather, I needed to prove those things to myself. In my imagination, I never called him ‘Mister’ or ‘Monsieur’ or ‘Sir’—it was always ‘buster’, ‘jerkface’, or just plain, old ‘asshole’. It helped me to divest him of that insidious hauteur.

But now, it was real. I was in his house again. And I was all alone.

What the hell am I doing here? A chill ran down my spine. I don’t need to see him, I lied to myself, and even if I do, it can only end with him turning me out again, like some misbehaving house pet… Rupestrian whimpered in the doorway, and left me. This, I scolded myself, this was a bad, bad idea… 

I put my hand against the pane as Peter’s car began pulling away. If I go now, my brow furrowed, if I run, I can catch him. We can go out tonight, just like he said—me, and Peter, and Marie, and Renault. We’ll get drinks, we’ll laugh, we’ll forget about it. It’ll be like I was never here. It’ll be like none of this ever happened.

It’ll be like we never even met… 

My breath was shallow as I spun away from the window, resolved to make a mad dash out the curb, and chase down the cab—my arms flailing in the snow. But the moment I turned, the wind was knocked clear out my lungs as I collided with the firm and unmoving chest of Dmitri Caine.

He caught me by the wrists before I could fall back against the glass.

“Miss Foster...” his eyes were dark; his tone steady as stone.

“…Mr. Caine.”

Chapter 10

He set my hands at my sides before releasing me. He didn’t speak right away, but eyed me frostily up and down. I felt a cold perspiration beading on chest and temples.

“Your ankle’s healed nicely,” he breathed at last.

I nodded, unable to speak; I was not nearly recovered from the shock running into him.

“But you still haven’t fixed your jacket.”

I flushed, and shrugged; raising up the infamous rip over my left shoulder.

“Y-yeah…” I murmured, “I um, I ran out of time, I guess. I’ve been...working hard for you, Mr. Caine.”

He nodded coolly. I don’t know quite what I expected—for him to be furious, or abashed, or consternated by my presence. His face gave away none of these; he was nigh unreadable. And yet through the fine hairs on my forearms and at the back of my neck, I sensed a prickly sort of electricity building in the air between us. I stayed utterly motionless, afraid if I moved away; if I broke the balance, the static discharge might incinerate me.

“And so…here you are. With me. In my study. You’ve made it this far into your little plan…” he brushed a thumb contemplatively across his unshaven jawline. “What comes next, Miss Foster?”

“I—I’m sorry?” my voice quavered.

“What is it you want, Penny?” he stepped back, letting me breathe. “Why are you here?”

I glared, trying hard to scrape my nerves back together, “The other day. You never answered my question.”

“Your question…” he cocked his head.

“I asked you first, Mr. Caine,” my heart pounded, “What is it you want from me?”

“…your piece, Penny.”

“You have it,” I nodded coolly to where the canvas leaned along the bookshelves. “Does…that really mean you’re finished with me, Mr. Ca—?”

He held up his hand, silencing me, as he stepped toward it; unraveling the ropes, and stripping away the sheeting. It stood bare between us—naked and untied. I felt my heart creep into my throat awaiting his reaction.

For all my agonized hours of fretting and labor, somehow I hadn’t accounted for the gravity of that moment. I didn’t want to care what he thought; and yet I knew if he didn’t like it, it would shatter me. It wouldn’t even exist, I curled up my toes anxiously, if he hadn’t demanded it from me… 

And here it was, just one week later—I had adhered religiously to his specifications. Just one week… It felt like an eternity.

“…Perfect,” he finally spoke, still staring.

I exhaled in relief—I hadn’t even realized I was holding my breath.

“I’m...glad you approve,” I murmured.

“Yes,” he stepped nearer. “I’m proud of you, Penny. I knew you had something inside you—something to give.”

“And…now that you’ve got it,” my fists were clenched, “should I go, Mr. Caine?”

His eyes flashed.

“Yes. Yes, you should,” his tone dropped lower. “But I don’t think I can let you, Penny.”

“I-I’m sorry?” I backed away a little, startled. 

He stood between me and the door.

“You should go, Penny,” he closed the space between us, slinking and predatory, “because you’ve fulfilled the terms of our agreement. Because you and I have nothing more to say to each other. Because I have a great deal of difficulty,” his words curved off sharply into a growl, “keeping myself in check around you. And because if you stay any longer, Penny,” his breath was cool across my face, “I’m going to have my way with you…”

Time stopped. Everything was still.

Did he? Did he just say that? Does he mean what I think he means? My heart beat in unruly torsades de pointes. I met his gaze as best I could. He didn’t blink. He didn’t smile. God. He’s not kidding…

“You know I’ve noticed two things about you, Penny—your survival instincts are terrible,” he stepped to one side, offering me a clear exit, “And you’re very bad at following instructions… You really should go.”

Following instructions? My fingers were trembling; I was barely in control of my wits, but I still wouldn’t stand for his condescensions any longer.

“Le chapelle notre-dame-de-bon-secours. Two by three and half meters. Six centimeters deep. Linen canvas. Red grisaille…” I repeated his words from the gallery unsteadily, but verbatim. “Just the way you wanted it,” my feet were planted—I’m not sure whether from self-will or from fear. “I listen—when I want to listen, Mr. Caine.”

His lupine eyes narrowed.

“Is that right?” he hissed, backing me further from the door. “Sit, Miss Foster.”

He’d all but cornered me—I’m not sure I had another choice. My legs shaking a little, I lowered myself slowly into the chair behind the bureau.

“Now stand,” his voice cut sharp through the air.

What? But like his marionette, plucked upright by my tethers, I stood. I thought of Katharina in The Shrew— belike you mean to make a puppet of me … He stood over me.

“Close your eyes, Penny.”

I did. My lids fell lightly. My breath was bated. He was so near; I could feel him—feel his lips hovering, just barely, above mine.

“Tell me no.”

It was barely a whisper. I remained silent.

“I said—” his voice grew fierce, and I cringed, half-terrified, as I heard my teacup shatter across the floor, “tell me no.”

Still, I kept my eyes shut. Still, I stayed silent. I gasped shrilly as I felt him slip his fingers inside the hole in the shoulder of my pea coat, and tear the sleeve clear down to my elbow. He grasped my bare arm underneath, and pulled me closer.

“Are you scared, Penny?”

Yes. But I wouldn’t tell him. I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction. I shook my head, too afraid to open my eyes; too afraid to see what was in his.

“…what comes next,” trembling, I wriggled my shoulders out of the shredded coat, “Mr. Caine?”

His kiss was vicious; almost cruel. He tore away from me the moment my body began to slacken, and I nearly squealed as he snatched up a fistful of my hair. I faced him, lips quivering; my throat bared to him in tight and tortuous arc.

“What’s next, Miss Foster, remains very much up to you…” his lips grazed the skin below my ear. “You missed your chance to say no—scream it, if you like. It won’t stop me now.”

I drew in a breath sharply as his teeth closed on the fold of my earlobe, just barely tight enough to sting.

“But…and listen carefully, Penny, because I’ll only tell you once—” he drew his fingers softly across my cheek, and glanced, once more, to my canvas, “say ‘red’, and it stops. Everything. I swear—everything comes to an end. Do you understand me?”

I didn’t answer. Really, I didn’t understand. Red… my mind swirled, already half-melted by his touch, is the color of claret. Cardinal. Fire. Blood. Rust. Rose. His lips… I strained against his grip for another kiss, but he held me fast.

“Do you understand me, Penny Foster?” his voice was fatally serious—it startled me back to my senses.

“Y-yes,” I tried to nod. “Yes. I understand…”

Gently, he released my hair, and stroked my cheek again with the back of his fingers. A tingling chill gathered on my face and descended deep into my chest; dilating outward until it reached the very tips of my toes and fingers, and dissolved. 

He kissed me sweetly, solemnly. There was a sort of mourning in the way his eyes fell closed, and how his lips lingered at the edge of mine—it was the kiss of something ending, a farewell kiss. A kiss of death. I didn’t understand it; but it was beautiful, and sad, and it almost made me tear up.

And then his eyes opened.

I wouldn’t quite call it an embrace—his hold on me was raptorial. In one devastating motion he whirled us away from the bureau and down across the leather daybed, pinning my wrists tightly above my head. I might have shrieked, but my lips were stifled by his kiss.

I could almost feel his poison spreading out inside me, conquering a little more of me each I time I tasted him; each time I breathed in the deadly anodyne of his scent. And with my arms still pinioned, he let me breathe a little gasp as his free hand slipped loose the first few buttons of my blouse; starting at my chest and moving downward, until I felt the sharp wool of his suit jacket graze my naked belly.

Oh God… With a little skin suddenly exposed, my Catholic conscience made her inevitable and invidious debut. What the fuck are you doing, Penny? He hovered darkly, hoisting my torso in one arm to unlock my brassiere. This isn’t a goddamn game—its real. And its dangerous. He might be dangerous… Lying, shaking and still arcuate, across his arm, I felt his hand slip beneath the tiny strap binding together the two white cups of my bra.

And Oh God… Where is your shame, Penny? He kissed me once more, and let me fall—back onto the soft leather, stripped topless and blushing fiercely; my bra still dangling in his palm. Ah. There’s the shame. I felt outrageously self-conscious. There he knelt above me, fully attired in his sexy, grey suit; flaying layer after layer from me like d’Argrate’s Saint Bartholomew.

I didn’t think I could endure another moment beneath his gaze—my skin was on fire. Like dry ice, his eyes were cold enough to burn. He leaned in, and with mercifully closed eyes, laid his hands across my chest.

“Mmm… You have superb breasts, Penny,” he growled, kneading them softly.

Ohhhhh God—my nerves, my panic, and my guilt all imploded. My eyelids dropped, and I felt my hips rise to find him. I could feel his hardness swelling through the charcoal wool of his slacks. I arched higher, moving against the tip of him.

“No,” he scolded, pressing my hips back down, “Keep still. I want you to suffer for it.”

Christ, his voice—like the long, low draw of a cello. I whimpered as he ran the length of his fingers lightly across my breasts. What had awakened in me as a dull and mysterious throb when he kissed me five days ago was blossoming in accelerated motion into a scorching, scarlet ache. I wanted him. I wanted to feel him inside me.

I sighed cravingly as his tongue lashed across one my nipples, while he alternated caressing and gently pinching the other. I did my best to keep my hips still, but they were quaking.

“Good girl,” he soothed—then forced my thighs wide apart with his knee. “Now open those lovely, green eyes, Penny,” he kissed each of my eyelids, sliding his palm down below my navel; and I held my breath as he unfastened my jeans. “I want to see them for this...”

I did. I opened them wide, and watched his lips part ravenously as he slid his hand between my legs.

“Oh. Very good girl…” he groaned. “So wet,” he fanned out his glistening fingers just far enough for me to see them, and flush red. “How long have you been waiting for me to fuck you, Miss Foster?”

I didn’t answer. I couldn’t—it was too embarrassing, speaking with my pants literally around my ankles. And the way he was stroking me between his thumb and forefinger; it blurred my thoughts in and out of focus, like the tuning dial of a shortwave radio. All I could do was moan a little louder, and move myself a little higher.

“When I ask you a question, Penny,” he slapped my vulva sharply, and I cried out—it didn’t hurt exactly, but it was shocking, and intense—“you need to answer me.” He resumed his licentious stroking, and asked again, “How long?”

Christ, did he just hit me? Did he hit me there? Like a brass bell, my body was still ringing from his slap; its waves rippling all the way down to my toes.

“I—”

He kissed my clitoris, and my words fell apart.

“Go on…” he let the low, dulcet vibrations of his voice pass straight from his lips into my aching, begging flesh.

“I don’t know,” I gasped shrilly

He tormented me a moment longer, then rose off the daybed; eyes still as ice. I tried to vainly shield myself—I felt cold, and much more vulnerable without him close to me.

I know,” he shrugged off his jacket and ripped loose his tie, “I know exactly how long I’ve wanted to fuck you, Penny.”

He plucked away my flats, lingering there just long enough to lay a kiss on my still slightly swollen ankle.

He smirked, “The moment I saw you. On your knees, sucking your finger…” he tore my jeans away, “I wanted to drag you by your hair into the washroom—to split open that little Mondrian dress, and fuck you until you forgot your own name.”

I gazed up at him, trembling. His words were frightening, but—they turned me on. A lot… To hear what coarse, libertine things he’d been thinking; to hear how he wanted me, in such filthy and embarrassing detail—I’m not sure I’d ever been so aroused.

I gazed up at him. His shirt was unbuttoned, hanging loose over his torso. And I watched, wetting my lips, as it opened like the stage curtain of an opera house; revealing his abdominals in undulant overture, the stark recitativo stromentato of his chest, and climaxing in the broad, knee-weakening aria of his shoulders.

Oh, dear Lord, my brow furrowed. He is way, way too hot for you, Penny. I crossed my arms shyly; suddenly feeling far more nude—more naked—than I had just a moment earlier when he was fully dressed. He’s too much. Too heavenly… Once more, I recalled van der Weyden’s polyptych—nudes go to heaven, I bit my lip, the naked go to hell.

“You really make quite the first impression, Miss Foster,” smirking devilishly, he snapped my panties over my ankles, and dropped them atop the pile—a little, silken snowcap for the Sinai of our clothing.

He swooped back in over top of me, his pectorals just grazing the summits of my nipples.

“Now listen carefully…” he kissed my lips. 

Blowing cool air across my chest, his hand returned to massage my clit and labia. The ache reemerged immediately, and again my thoughts disintegrated. Like some coldblooded serpent, I basked in the radiant, red heat of his skin. He bared his teeth along my throat, and I expelled a long, pleading sigh as he slipped two fingers inside of me.

“You will not come until I tell you, Penny. Do you understand?”

I moaned as his fingers glided deeper, his thumb plying the swollen bud of my clitoris.

Do you understand?” he growled, coiling his other hand around my neck.

“Y-yes,” I breathed tensely. “Yes, Sir.”

He groaned, “Oh…Good girl.”

The pace of his stroking sped in subtle increments. He kept his hand at my throat, holding me down, and shifted between kissing my eyelids, my lips, and my nipples. There were no words in my brain, not even images—but there were colors; colors reflecting the nervous swirl of sensations in the rest of my body, the colors of desire, desideratum, and need.

My whole lower half moved of its own accord, straining to force itself closer to him—to release the awful, wrenching, heartbreaking ache trapped inside me. I struggled to keep it in. I knew I couldn’t look at him; his eyes would overwhelm me. Squeezing my eyelids tighter and curling up my toes, I labored desperately to keep my teetering hips in check.

“Don’t come,” he commanded.

My thighs began quivering. Gently, he bit down on my nipple and drew it up between his teeth. I gasped, but not entirely in pain—the feeling was sharp, and startling, and wretchedly erotic. It very nearly sent me careening over the edge.

Don’t come,” he growled again.

But at the second sounding of his voice, my body abandoned me. It curved itself toward him, like a bowstring drawn taut on his two fingers, and snapped flat. I came fiercely, my hips pulsating violently in long, undulant waves. A sound was building inside me; an anguished wail echoing off the walls of my chest, gaining resonance. I parted my lips to deliver it. But the sound was deadened—his hold tightened on my throat, while his other hand, still glistening, closed fast over my mouth.

“What did I say, Penny?”

God...I couldn’t answer, and not just because he was gagging me—my climax left my body like a purgative. When it went, it took everything with it—my words, and numbers; maybe even some memories. At that moment, I have wouldn’t have been surprised to discover I’d forgotten whole portions of my childhood. I was a ragdoll beneath him; barely human, barely conscious.

He shook his head at me strictly, but he was smirking. I watched him rise over me as from beneath clear water—dimensions were all askew, the sounds muffled; motions disorienting. And I made not the slightest sign of resistance as he turned me roughly over onto my belly, dropping my knees down onto the cool, hard floor.

My eyes fluttered. I was weak. I was at his mercy. Softly, somewhere behind me, I heard the ‘clink’ of his belt unbuckling, like a bell on a distant hillside. Yes… I settled my cheek against the soft, black leather, tempering my body to receive him. Have your way. Baise-moi, Monsieur. Je suis tienne…

But he had other plans. My head jerked up from the daybed as he gripped another fistful of my hair, drawing my whole torso into a tight, inverted arc. I whimpered as his lips bristled against my ear. 

“I am going to fuck you, Penny Foster—and I’m going to spank you,” his breath blew warm and low across the nape of my neck. “I’m going to spank you because you came without permission.” He moved closer; I sensed the heat of his rigid member throbbing between my thighs. “I’m going to fuck you because I’ve been hard for seven days—from the moment you pricked your god damned finger.” He took a breath, “Nod when you’re ready.”

My eyes closed tight; I nodded as best I could; tugging against his hold on my hair. Spank me? Is he really going to spank me? The scar on my shoulder prickled. What? Like a little kid who’s stolen a cookie..? He released my head, and I bowed down again, letting his warm, muscular arms guide me into position.

What I felt in that moment could be called resignation, but that wouldn’t quite capture the essence of it. I was still glowing in the warm, red euphoria of my orgasm. I was not just resigned to his will, but contented by it—and maybe grateful. I wanted to be of use to him. I wanted him to use me as the instrument of his pleasure. Right then, I think I would have given him anything he asked of me. And if what he wanted was to spank me—qu'il en soit ainsi…

He didn’t keep me waiting long. In swift succession, the flat of his palm struck hard blows to either side of my rear. I gasped. It was so loud. The slaps stung sharply for a moment, and then dissolved into a warm, dull burn. He struck again—four this time.

“Such a lovely sound, Penny,” he growled, rubbing my tingling cheeks smoothly with his palm, “such a lovely, blushing ass.”

I trembled. The lightness of his touch tickled almost unbearably, and he smacked me again.

“This is going to get worse. And then its going to get better…” he ran an agonizing finger down the curve of my spine. “Do you trust me, Penny?”

Yes. No. Maybe… I honestly didn’t know. But I nodded meekly, the side of my face rubbing across the smooth, cool surface of the leather. Trust him? While he’s hitting me? It seemed insane; but a deep, shadowy part of me kept swelling brighter and hotter each time he struck me. I didn’t know what it meant—but somewhere, some light inside of me was getting turned-on for the first time; like a mysterious, unlabeled switch on the circuit breaker of my brain.

The blows returned, and I shut my eyes. 

9…10…11…12… They kept coming, and coming. The individual stings grew indistinguishable from one other, coalescing into a single, smoldering burn. 31, 32, 33, 34, 35. I bit down into the leather to keep myself from squealing. 47-48-49- And just as I was about to lose count; to lose control, and cry out the color of my painting—and surely, by that point, of my ass—they ceased.

I caught my breath in a shrill heave, and he pierced me.

I choked on raw air, staggered by the feeling of him filling me; of splitting me open. Several times, he sank himself slowly all the way in, and then withdrew all the way out; letting the tip of him caress and tease my clit before reclaiming me.

I trembled in disbelief. I was sure that every ounce want was ripped right out of me with my climax, and yet each time he filled me up, the dull throb was there again; stirring warmly between my thighs. It was like before, but different—foreign, and yet, somehow familiar; dilating deeper and deeper inside as he laid himself into me.

There is a strange French euphemism for the orgasm—la petite mort…‘the little death’. I think my orgasm was born when Dmitri kissed me five days earlier. She grew up fast; and had a troubled adolescence—she ran away, she found herself; and the moment she was discovering some modicum of serenity, she died, tragically, inside me. This was her reborn; reincarnated. Metempsychosis—the transmigration of souls… Just an infant, but an enfant terrible—untamed and bestial; struggling to survive in the wild. And at any time, I knew, Mr. Caine might kill her.

I groaned shamelessly into the leather as my ache gained volume.

“Do not come,” he warned again, swatting my ass.

I could hear his breath growing rough and stormy. I parted my lips, intending to promise my obedience, but the sound that left them was more like a bray. I buried my face, struggling to suffer his intoxicating torments in silence.

Dmitri moved in me like a rotating piston—steady, undulating, and powerful. I’d never felt so full. I clenched my fists, whimpering as he moved deeper, and faster. And my eyes grew wide as I felt his hand begin to wrap inward around my thigh, edging lower and lower; until his fingers, once again, discovered my clit.

Oh God…” I moaned into the leather. “Oh God, please.

Another hard smack snapped me back to him.

“Don’t beg to God, Penny,” he growled. “He’s not the one fucking you.”

His hand returned to work its lascivious, elliptical sorcery between my legs, leaving my cheeks tingling and sore. Every muscle fiber in my body seemed taut as braided steel, and about to snap.

Please, Dmitri. Please let me come.”

There was water welling in my eyes.

“Not yet,” he gasped. “Not just yet…”

With a kind of mechanical cruelty, his rhythm ascended still higher. I sobbed, trying to contain it—my orgasm was reaching critical mass; threatening to meltdown and rip right through me. With a prickle of terror, I felt myself slipping over the edge.

“I can’t, I can’t, I can’t—” I begged him. “Please!”

He snarled ferociously.

Come.

I don’t think I had truly screamed since I was about nine years old. And even then, I was probably holding back; shouting at one of my brothers, or throwing a late tantrum for not getting my way. But when Dmitri at last allowed me to come, I screamed—I screamed with wild, wanton abandon.

I was of two minds. On one plane, I felt my entire body uncoiling like a rope wound to its tensile limit. On another, I was aware of Dmitri buried somewhere inside me; of him groaning, and gasping, and of a second, subtler series of pulsations that were not my own, but emanated from deep within me as he stiffened—like a little heart that sprang to life, beat vigorously six or seven times, and perished.

Still panting wildly, he released me, and I collapsed in a tremulous heap beneath him; eyes still wide. I watched him stand and peel a condom from his rigid member. Mon kriss—my lip quivered—he’s so big… I couldn’t fathom how he’d fit that monstrous thing inside of me.

In a very literal sense, I was hysterical—from the Greek hysterikos, disorientation of the womb. Plato, ladies’ man that he was, believed it was an animal within an animal; wandering freely throughout a woman’s body. If that were true, at that moment mine would have been cowering, frightened and confused, in the darkest, most hidden recesses of my flesh.

Wordlessly, he lifted me off the floor and onto the daybed; then sat, gently tracing the inward curve of my spine. He let me lie still for a long while, following the smooth, angular markings of my back and the blades of my shoulders. I’m not sure how much time passed—my head was in a fifth dimension; one free from the constraints of minutes and hours and millimeters and miles.

“You’re crying…”

His voice brought me back with a soft shatter, like crumbling quartz. I wasn’t exactly, or I didn’t think so; but he was right—there were clean, clear tears leaking from my eyes. I wept like a martyred Catholic idol; my body broken, my face impassive—Bernadette Soubirous, or St. Cecelia in Traverste.

And then, the shame…

God. What…what the hell was that? What did you let him do to you, Penny? The way he’d coerced and controlled me—the way he beat me, and made me beg—it violated everything I’d ever been taught about how a man was meant to treat me.

And I liked it…

I sniffled. I liked it so much—it kind of terrified me. I shrugged away as his hand passed over my shoulder, suddenly feeling scalded by his touch. Does that mean that I’m a… a slut? Yes, it probably means you’re a slut. I batted my eyes, trying angrily to rid them of the tears. Does it mean I’m weird? Does it mean I’m weak?

The way I’d felt when he turned me on; the place my mind went—it was so foreign. I was a stranger to myself; like one possessed. I would have done anything he told me to. I would’ve let him do anything to me.

Now. What now? It happened. And there was no taking it back. If there was, I’m not sure that I would. I’d lost something—some fresh bough of my innocence came down in the storm. But I sensed the hole it left in me wasn’t empty—it was a portal. And I wanted to know. I wanted to know where it went.

I curled my toes, gazing across his long, bare, muscular body beside me, and followed the hypnotic rise and fall of his shoulders for several minutes more before I could speak.

“So…what comes next—” timidly, I echoed our words from earlier, “—Mr. Caine?”

He turned, drawing his blue eyes up, slowly, painfully, along the length of me. I flushed.

“Dmitri,” he sighed, “I hit you too hard, Penny.” He laid a cool palm across my tender, blushing backside. “You’re going to bruise…”

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than Lushstories.com with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.


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