Latest Forum Posts:

Categories

Other Colors -- Ch. 12

A D/s romance set in Montreal.
Part 2 – Blue

Chapter 12

Leda and the Swan. Alpheus and Arethusa. Pretty Psyche, blindfolded in her bridal bed. Poor, cheating Venus, caught naked beneath her husband’s net… Sing, Muse.

I dreamt of Grecian deviance—limbs of oil and marble overlapping. I heard Sextus, seducing his rancid Cynthia in song...

Why, woman, wear your hair up? And ruin your smooth wrists with gems? Why pollute your skin with scented oils? Why cover your white breast in colored silks? Stay naked. Your beauty was most when you wore nothing—except my kisses, like sweet, iron fetters round your neck… For who made you change so many colors, and cry out with unwilling eyes: end me, and lay your next lover on a bed made from my bones? She was warned…’

“Penny?”

Sing…

“Penny. Reveille, ma chérie.”

Madame d’Aulnoir wrapped her knuckles lightly on the brass cash register beside my head. I shot upright, panting and perspiring a little, roused out of my unsettling slumber.

“Oh là là,” she leapt back, startled, “un cauchemar, Penny?”

I rubbed my eyes roughly.

“Um,” my cheeks reddened, “Sort of… Sorry I fell asleep, Madame.”

“C’est rien. We’ve had hardly a customer all day,” she spoke softly, pulling closed the lacy edges of her cardigan. “I’d have let you rest longer, chérie. But it’s time to lock up.”

Christ. How long was I out? My eyes flashed to the Mora clock along the far wall, and I felt the blood drain from my face.

Be ready at eight—I’ll send a car.’

Dmitri’s voice echoed darkly in my head. Too soon… I need more time. I had hardly three hours left—which in reality was more than enough to get back to Marie’s; to get myself groomed, and showered, and dressed. Preparing my body for the oncoming evening was simple enough. But readying my brain was another matter entirely.

“Pauvre petit. You are so pale,” she stepped closer, checking my forehead for a fever. “Not still sick, j'espère?”

“No, Madame,” I breathed. “Just tired… I didn’t sleep well last night.”

Really, I hadn’t slept at all. I opened the register, silently summing the bills.

“That boy who came looking for you,” she raised her chin, still examining me through the lower lenses of her bifocals, “Did he keep you awake, chérie?”

Awake? I glanced up, and she winked one of her ancient, moonstone eyes at me. My cheeks heated. Yes, he did. But not like that… I shook my head.

“Quel dommage,” she simpered. “He is très handsome, no?

I shivered, “In certain lights, Madame.”

“Mmm, mais oui—best in the boudoir, with the lights off altogether, no?” she flashed her pearly, veneered canines at me. “Dark. Osé. Un peu dangereux... He is le portrait craché of my third husband. You must tell me how you met such a man, chérie. ”

I shrugged guardedly.

“He um—he just picked me up one night.”

In a way, it was the truth. I just didn’t mention that it was off the floor. And out jail. And up three flights of stairs at his châteauI imagine the consequent questions would have smothered me.

“Ah!” she groaned, and rolled her eyes, “Votre génération—you do not know how to tell a story. Would you like to hear how I met mari numéro trois, Penny?”

Oh boy. Here we go. I closed up the register.

“West Berlin. It was raining. We rode the last train out the city,” she threw her palms out theatrically, laying the scene for me. “Teeth like a jackal on that one. He drank black rum. Wore a black suit, a black moustache—but I believe his shirt he left unbuttoned, like all the young sailors used to do. Oh, I was hopeless, Penny. Nous flirté. I asked coyly how he liked to pass his time. And do you know what he told me?”

I shook my head, and rested my chin patiently on one palm. There was little telling how long her chronicle might last.

“He said he spent his winters selling American rotgut in Uzhorod, and summers smuggling cigarettes from Montenegro into Italy. Un véritable passeur!” she slapped the glass counter, “Can you believe it, Penny?”

“No,” I answered honestly, “I can’t, Madame.”

Either she ignored my orneriness, or else it simply didn’t register.

“Oh, I could have turned him in right there to the border police, chérie. But he knew I wouldn’t. Ce voleur… He had a drink in my hand, and his hand up my skirt before we ever left the station.”

I blushed. The mismatch of her senescence and risqué reminisces never failed to embarrass me. And based on our well-established pattern, I could pretty well guess what the next question would be.

‘Have you ever made love on a moving train, Penny?’

I winced, waiting for it—but she didn’t ask. Instead, I watched her wander to a display rack near the counter, and tenderly straighten the sleeves of a vintage, black jacket. 

“I think I’ve met every sort of man in my life, Penny. And I loved all the men I married. But him…” she tugged the lapels, “Only him—I never knew for certain if he loved me back, chérie…” her voice trailed off at the end, but she shook her head, recovering from the reverie. “Mais la nuit, oh !” she raised one hand to her forehead, feigning a swoon, “l'homme était un animal, no?”

The man was an animal… I dropped my eyes, and clenched my teeth. I could never tell if he felt the same way... For once, I could actually identify with something Madame had said. I shuddered.

“Ah, but I am boring you again,she flipped the little sign in the window from ‘ouvert’ to ‘fermé’. “Come, come—let’s be quick about it. I have a date tonight, chérie.”

I slid myself out from behind the counter, “another smuggler?”

“Mais non,” she set her hands on her hips indignantly. “He runs a quincaillerie in Mont Royal. A catch for me these days, no? Tall. Not bald.” She turned, “Do you know where he is taking me, Penny?”

“Parasailing,” I smirked, “off the Plage de Tahiti, Madame?”

Ha!” she whipped a paisley dust rag at my head. “Your tongue is sharp, chérie. The boys will cut their lips off, no?”

I flushed again, plucking the cloth off my face, and began wiping down some porcelain chinoiserie teacups.

“But no,” she sighed, watching me work, “I think not, chérie . My days of déshabillé daredevilry are far behind me. But you, Penny—” my cheeks heated further as she came to stand behind me, and lifted my hair off my shoulders, “si jeune, et si jolie… Do something brash tonight, no? Something you could tell a pretty, young fille of in fifty years,” I yelped as she gave a playful little slap to my backside, “and make her blush.”

She doubled over cackling, and I retreated, flames licking at my cheeks, into another narrow aisle of bric-à-brac.

Something brash… That was one way to describe my plans with Dmitri. But ‘brainless’, ‘self-negligent’, and outright ‘crazy’ also came to mind. Again, I glanced nervously to the clock.

For the last twenty-four hours, our impending dinner had more or less usurped my every waking moment. It’s why I hadn’t slept. And it’s why I’d been so distant with Peter the night before. Most of his questions I wound up answering in monosyllable; and fairly often, he had to repeat himself. My mind was altogether elsewhere. And after a while, I think he just gave up trying to talk to me.

We stared at the television; silently slurping our respective bowls of chicken soup. At random, he’d pulled Hitchcock’s Torn Curtain from my little stack of movies. The film was never one of my favorites, but I’d forgotten all about that steamy little scene at the beginning—Paul Newman and Julie Andrews beneath the sheets together, on a slow boat north to Stockholm.

I’d shivered, and slouched lower on the sofa, noticing for the first time how much Newman’s eyes were like Dmitri’s. And I think I put Peter off even further when he misread my posture, and tried to wrap an arm around my shoulder. It was an awkward and uncomfortable several minutes—and not long afterward, he left. His bowl wasn’t empty. The movie wasn’t even over. And though I knew it wasn’t kind of me, I was glad.

I wanted to be alone. There was a craving in me I’d been putting off ever since he interrupted us, and Dmitri made his brisk departure.

The moment the door latched, I was at my laptop. I opened a browser. And I stalked him. I stalked him shamelessly—each article, each record, each blurb even tangentially attached to his name. Every last morsel of him that I could scrape up, I devoured. ‘Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting, the appetite may sicken, and so die…’

I peeped out of my aisle. Madame was still busy, rearranging dress form displays in the front window. I sighed.

In spite of all my sleuthing, I’d been left, more or less, unsatisfied. Nearly every hit on the web merely listed him as charitable donor, while all the things I really wanted of him still eluded me. Where he came from, and where he grew up… He and Emily; how it ended… His middle-fucking-name, for Christ’s sake… None of it was to be found.

But… I did manage to make one obfuscating and unsettling discovery—an article buried in the annals of the British Journal of Medicine of all things, dated from a full twelve years ago. My eyes grew wide as I read the title.

‘Mastering Paraphilias: nine case outcome comparisons of pharmacotherapy versus aggressive cognitive-behavioral therapy in the management of severe sadomasochistic psychosexual dysfunction’

And in the byline, the pièce de résistance...

‘St. Brendan’s Hospital, Grangegorman – Adam White, MD PhD. Dmitri R. Caine, M2R.’

…What. The. Fuck?

I tried hard to wrap my head around the article, but the language was just too dense and clinical for me to decipher. What the hell was he involved with? I scrolled back and forth through the pages. And ‘Adam White’…who is he? I bit my lip, recalling all the cutthroat competition for co-authorship I’d been surrounded by back at McGill, and even before that at UNC.

Dmitri must’ve worked really closely with him… I searched the name, and frowned. Not surprisingly, there were about ten gazillion ‘Doctor Adam Whites’ scattered around the world. I gave up, and returned to the article’s train wreck of a title, extricating from it the one, fatal word that chilled me above all the rest.

De Sade, Sacher-Masoch…

I knew what it meant. At least, I thought I did. I do. Don’t I? People who like being hurt… A chill moved snakelike down my spine, and coiled itself in the hollow between my hips. People who like hurting… Our words from earlier, when I’d knelt before him in washroom, now rang like air raid sirens in my ears.

What is this, Penny? What in God’s name are you getting yourself in to? I bit my lip. I had to figure it out. At least, I had to try.

I started out on the scholarly sites; mostly because I figured their image filters and dense, dull columns of text might protect me from whatever monsters were surely lurking behind a blind search. And with the last keystroke, I smirked coolly to discover my McGill login still active. Only a few months... So much had changed. It seemed like a lifetime ago.

I squinted, skimming through dozens of highfalutin entries on everything from sadomasochism in the marriage cycle of Chaucer’s Tales, to the erotic subtext of Hegel’s ‘Master-Slave dialectic’. And by the end of each, I’d learned less than nothing.

It wasn’t until I dug deeper, peeking past the stuffy, bloodless walls of academia, that the boundaries of what I believed could exist in people grew both a little bit larger, and a little bit darker. And with my first glimpse, I was appalled, intimidated… and, to be absolutely honest, intrigued.

I thought of Dante in the first circle of hell—how he’d wanted to stay behind, sitting safe and warm in the citadel with Homer and Ovid. But he didn’t. To get a second chance at his Beatrice and heaven, he mucked among lechers, heretics, and hedonists; crawling his way down to the feet of a fallen angel, howling there in the middle of his frozen, blue lake.

So I descended. And as I read deeper, the shift in paradigms was palpable—passive to active, form to function—with no real lingua franca between the two worlds. ‘Bowdlerize’ and ‘dithyramb’ became ‘bondage’ and ‘discipline’, while words like ‘différance’ and ‘solipsism’ gave way to two more that made me tremble.

‘Animal behaviors… Dominance. Submission. Its something primal, Penny—in the DNA…’

Again, Dmitri’s words rattled around coldly in my brain. I’ve been so blindFrom the very start, he’d been hanging these sinister signs right in front of me. But up until now, I couldn’t read them. I’d never learned the language. It was still pitch black outside the apartment. But the laptop’s screen glowed warm and bright on my thighs. My crystal ball… And I, like some young Madame Sosotris, saw all.

I read for hours. Some of the words bloomed in me like a late autumn flower, the petals still stiff with frost. They were cold, but lovely; and almost familiar—like I’d encountered them before in some half-remembered dream. But others—many others­—were simply monstrous. Fiendish. Villainous. Sadistic… And eventually, they overwhelmed me. I snapped the screen shut, and hid beneath my afghan.

But I still didn’t sleep. My mind was a stormy, polar vortex, with Dmitri Caine at its swirling center. God—is this? I rubbed my naked ankles together nervously beneath the blanket. Is this what he wants to do to me?

Little of what I’d learned made any sense to me, but I was baffled far more by the fact that none of it, however awful, seemed to shake my intentions to see him again. I had to—perhaps now more than ever. I wanted to know why he was like this. And I wanted to know why I was so drawn to him. And I wanted to know…

Why? Why, why, why, why, why in the goddamn world couldn’t you just fall for a nice, normal guy, Penny? A guy who brings you soup when you’re sick. A guy who doesn’t scare the living daylights out of you… I threw the afghan off, and glared at the half-empty soup bowls and Paul Newman movies enacting a prosaic still-life on the coffee table.

That’s why…

I stayed busy through the night and into the morning. I cleaned the dishes. I swept the floor. I scrubbed the bathroom. And when nothing more remained to keep my hands moving and my mind still, I rooted through Marie’s sock drawer until I uncovered her secret stash of cigarettes.

I very rarely smoked anymore. It was an ugly habit. I’d picked it up briefly but heavily just before moving north to Montreal. That was a time when I was at my lowest. I trusted no one—least of all myself. I think I smoked almost two packs day during those months. And it wasn’t until the stitches in my shoulder began to disintegrate that I made any effort to cut back.

I opened up the bathroom window—the one Dmitri had just fixed—and leaned myself on the sill as I cupped the flame, and lit the end. The sun was starting to rise. I watched the sky to the east ripen from red to pink to yellow, before dissolving inside that silver-grey mire of clouds so ubiquitous in a Quebec winter. I shivered, dragging slowly until the ash fell off the filter. I smoked two more. I showered, and brushed my teeth. I dressed.

And then I came here…

At last, I made my way back to Madame’s little corner of antique horse tack, dusting down all the different whips, and bits, and bridles. I lifted a crop, and felt my cheeks burn. I’d always enjoyed this part of closing up in the past—the texture and smell of soft, worn leather. But after my evening’s readings, the whole array of implements had taken on a fresh and fetishistic significance.

“You are always admiring that one, chérie.”

I jumped. Madame had followed me down the aisle, inspecting the efficacy of my dusting with her fingertip.

“Take it,” she stepped closer, closing my hand around the shaft. “It has been rotting back here for ages, I think.”

“Oh no, I um,” I stammered, my chest flushing scarlet, “I don’t ride, Madame.”

“Nor do I, chérie ,” she shrugged, “but perhaps you will learn, no?”

“I um—well… Yes, perhaps,” I glanced down at the crop, cursing myself for having lingered on it. “Merci, Madame.”

She saw me out, and I wished her well on her date as I slipped into my patched-up pea coat.

“Vous aussi, chérie ,” she stood in the doorway, holding her cardigan close. “Perhaps we both get lucky tonight, no?”

I squinted. ­But… I didn’t tell her, did I?

“A hunch,” she grinned gamely at my consternation, “you were pining by the clock all day, Penny. Bonne nuit.”

She shut the door, and let the blinds down. I stared after for a moment. Then with a shake of my head, I stuffed the crop beneath my coat, and started striding briskly back toward Marie’s, praying no one would notice the leather tongue sticking out above my collar.

My nose and ears were half frozen by the time I made the stoop. With shaking fingers, I slid my key into the lock and staggered inside.

“Bonsoir, Penny…”

A voice moaned to me out of the darkness, and I nearly leapt out my skin. Scrambling to find the light switch, I flipped it on.

“Marie,” I blinked, ensuring she wasn’t an illusion—I don’t think I’d seen her at the apartment in over a week. “You’re back…”

As discreetly as I could, I shoved the crop into the back of the little front closet, and closed it up tight behind me. She was lying sprawled on my little sofa, one narrow wrist draped forlornly across her forehead.

“Why, um—why were you in the dark?”

“L'obscurité me convient,” she gave a languid wave, “we are fighting…”

“You and Renault?” I came closer, my mouth drawn to one side. “What happened?”

She sighed, making room for me on the sofa, and I dropped down beside her.

“Qui sait…différences créatives?” she spread her absurdly long, slender legs out across my lap. “I should have known better, Penny. Il est Sagittaire. Je suis Scorpion. Nous sommes condamnés, yes?”

I struggled against the urge to roll my eyes.

“Maybe you just need some time apart,” I leaned back, “you’ve been together, like, constantly, right?”

“Peut-être,” she pursed her lips, “mais je souffre, Penny. Distract me…” She reached one spindly arm behind the sofa. “Who is D.C.?”

D.C.? My eyes narrowed as she drew a brown package bound up in heavy twine from the floor.

“It came for you this morning,” she set it lightly on the coffee table before us.

“Dmitri…” I breathed shakily. “Dmitri Caine.”

“Le collectionneur?” she raised her brow.

I nodded nervously. God. What’s he done now?

“But you finished his painting, yes?” she cocked her head, “What has he sent you, Penny?”

I shook my head, “No idea.”

“Aha,” her eyes brightened, and she rose up beside me, “un mystère… What are you waiting for?” she gave me a little shove in the shoulder. “Ouvre.”

Shit… I knew I had no hope of deterring her. And as I tugged loose the twine, I whispered a little prayer to Agnes of Rome—martyred patron saint of modesty—that he hadn’t sent me anything too scandalous. The paper fell open like a blossoming flower, and I think we might have gasped in unison.

“Mon Dieu,” Marie leaned closer, “...de toute beauté, Penny.”

She was right—it was almost obnoxiously lovely. Folded gently inside the package sat a couture cocktail dress of Prussian blue silk. Just touching the fabric, I knew it was probably the nicest dress I’d ever felt—Madame’ s ‘Mondrian’ included. And underneath, we found a calfskin clutch with a silver padlock for its clasp.

“But what is all of this, Penny?” she snatched up the chic little purse.

Again, I shook my head. My mind was spinning. I could see she was dying for an explanation. But frankly, so was I. She snapped it open, and I watched in critically mounting anxiety as her eyes doubled in size.

“Les fleurs dans la cuisine—I thought perhaps Peter had sent them,” she glanced up, smirking mischievously, “…but they are from him, yes?”

I nodded suspiciously as she passed me the clutch. I peeked inside, and I scowled. No. No. Absolutely not…

I turned it over on the coffee table, dumping out a glittering choker necklace of what I hoped to God was only crystal, and freshwater pearls. Dear Christ. We stared a moment in mutual silence. He must’ve spent a small fortune… I knew the money made little difference to him; but having basically spent the past two years flat broke, it definitely made a difference to me. And his throwing it around willy-nilly like this, especially in my direction, made me profoundly uncomfortable.
“Mon Dieu, Penny,” Marie propped her sharp, delicate chin up on her knees, “I leave you alone for a week, and when I come back you are une femme entretenue… But that is all of it, yes?”

I blushed. God. I hope so. I double-checked the clutch, and on second inspection spied a crisp, white card tucked away in the bill fold, emblazoned with his sharp, unmistakable letters.

‘Ce soir – une tenue correcte est exigée.’

Tonight – proper attire is required… I reread it twice, and smirked nervously. The phrasing was comically formal. I’m pretty sure the same words were printed on our convocation invites back at McGill. But coming from him, the colder overtones came off not so much ceremonial, as imperative. I shuddered, and again my gaze fell to the handsome dress and necklace. Where the hell is he taking me tonight? If this indeed was the standard attire, then I really didn’t have another option. Still there was a part of me— none too small—that feared he merely sent it to see whether or not I would obey.

“But what does is it say, Penny?” her simper stretched nearly ear to ear.

“He, um,” I tried to swallow the lump in my throat, “he wants me to wear it tonight.”

“Wait,” her feet dropped loudly to the floor, “Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. You are seeing him? You are seeing him tonight, Penny?”

More than a bit reluctantly, I nodded.

“Mon kriss!” she gasped, “Idiot girl—go get ready. Go,” she shooed me from the sofa, and off toward the washroom, “get clean. And I will take care of everything, Penny.”

Oh no…

As if dining with Dmitri alone wasn’t overwhelming enough, now I was to be prepped, painted, and processed for him at the cosmetically uncompromising hands of Marie Godeaux. And having witnessed her own pre-tryst rituals many times in the past, I had a feeling I’d be lucky to escape with my nethers un-waxed, and something less than a metric ton of mascara mounded on my lashes. My eyes fell to floor, and I trudged, like a Boleyn girl below the scaffolds, into the bathroom.

She was waiting for me the moment I emerged from the shower.

“Which one, Penny? I am thinking rouge, yes?”

In either hand, she held a lacy shred of fabric entirely too tiny to qualify as underwear.

“Marie, mon kriss,” I pulled a towel bashfully around my torso, “I’m not wearing one of your thongs.”

“ Je suis désolé, Penny. But you can’t wear these,” she tossed a pair of my beloved and well-worn cotton panties at my feet, “Your seams will show, yes?”

I frowned. It was, perhaps, one of my odder idiosyncrasies, but ever since buying my first one at thirteen, wearing a thong always drove me absolutely out of my mind. I don’t know whether it was a peculiarity to my anatomy, or if I just didn’t have the tolerance of other girls, but anytime something was rubbing or riding up a bit too intimately down there, I could focus on nothing else until the situation was resolved. And tonight especially, I needed my wits about me.

“…Fine. Whatever.”

I snatched the red one out of her hand, and made for the little vanity we shared in her bedroom, groaning internally as she tagged along. But as the next hour slipped past, I really didn’t mind her loitering around while I got ready; even if I did have to fight tooth and nail from time to time. Panic, like an ocean wave, sloshed stormier and more violent in me as the clock ticked closer and closer to eight—and without her there to act as my breakwater, I imagine it would’ve drowned me much sooner.

And actually, it was almost nice. We talked about nothing, like we always would in undergrad—about her dancing, and my painting; about other peoples’ dancing and other peoples’ paintings, and anything under the sun except for boys.

And then, we talked about boys.

She helped me put my hair up, recounting inunabridged detail what all transpired with her and Renault. He’d made her his co-producer apparently, and nerves were wearing thin with just three weeks left to their premiere. I smirked. It was clear she was awfully upset with him, but I had the feeling she was also awfully smitten. Marie rarely stuck around one guy long enough for a first fight to erupt, and I figured the mere fact that a first had transpired—and second, and maybe several dozen more since—probably boded well for both of them in the long run.

She asked me how I felt about Dmitri, sticking a final bobby pin into my hair, and I told her the truth—that I just wasn’t sure. She asked how Peter felt about Dmitri, and I changed the subject.

My eyes followed her in the mirror as she disappeared into the closet, rooting out a pair of heels for me, and I spread out my makeup brushes on the vanity like a set of surgical instruments.

First, foundation. Concealer for a few stray blemishes. And then the blush—as if I’d need it. My normal hue had less color to it than a cloud of steam. But around Dmitri, it seemed I seldom required any extra red in my cheeks. The shadow and shade of eyeliner I selected were darker, and perhaps a smidgen sluttier than I normally would’ve worn, but I painted them on sedately, giving myself a sultry, smoky eye that fell just short of cinderous. My lips, I left alone.

Marie emerged with an impish grin, a pair of perilously stilted vermilion stilettos dangling from one hand.

“God, no,” my brows arched, “I’d break my neck.”

She sniggered, setting them down in front of me, “Not if he catches you, yes?”

I bit my lip. The phrase always struck me as crass, and more than a little misogynistic, but there was really no other way to describe them—they were quintessential ‘fuck-me shoes’.

I shook my head, “Absolutely not.”

She frowned, “Well what did you have in mind, Penny?”

I shrugged, “…nude pumps?”

“Mon Dieu,” her shoulders sank in exaggerated dismay, “why do you make me suffer so, Penny?”

“They, um…” I blushed, knowing by her surplus of stature it was something that would never have entered into her mind, “they make my legs look longer.”

She crossed her arms, “And they make you look like you’re on your way to a shareholders’ meeting, yes?”

We litigated like that for several minutes—debating through a half dozen different heels in what might be called a more or less literal battle of inches—before settling, at last, on a pair of delicate but still a bit provocative peep-toes with a black lace overlay.

“I still like the stilettos…” she watched me stand, slip myself into the infamous dress, and wiggle my feet into the winners, “but I cannot lie, Penny—si je devais un homme…qui sait? Monsieur Caine and Peter could have some competition, yes?”

I flushed all over as she zipped me up, “Not sure Renault would go for that…”

Her phone buzzed on the vanity. She leaned over me to check it, and wrinkled her nose.

“C’est lui.”

His ears were burning

“I, um—I think you should answer him…” I nodded affectionately. “Go on. I’ll finish up in here.”

She stared a moment longer, squeezed my hand, and darted out of the room with the phone. I smirked.

With both of us so busy, I think forgotten how much I liked being around her—she had a way of making me bolder. It was she, after all, who’d first convinced me to quit school and start painting; she who’d snuck my watercolors into the gallery. She introduced me to Peter. And without her, I never in a million years would have met Dmitri… I was grateful to her. For everything.

Everything but these… I fidgeted and fussed with the tiny, ridiculous red straps around my hips, and after a few uncomfortable moments more, I’d made my decision. They have to go. Knowing full well that it was a condemnably bad idea, I shimmied out of the thong until it fell to my ankles, and kicked it in with the rest of the laundry.

Scylla and Charybdis... No part of me relished the idea of sitting across from Dmitri that evening au naturel, but I was even less comfortable with the thought of plucking a lacy, glorified shoestring from between my legs all night—worse still, the thought that he might catch me in the act. I blushed. Keep your legs crossed, Penny. And whatever you do, don’t pull a ‘Basic Instinct’ on him…

I gave myself a ruthless final inspection in the mirror. The dress itself was radiant enough to eclipse my more glaring flaws. But even that came at a price. Up front, I could let myself believe I looked sophisticated, chic; perhaps even elegant—I felt like Grace Kelly in Monaco. But the back, while not overtly scandalous, was nonetheless a fair bit lower than it really needed to be. It fell just above my bottom ribs—which, of course, meant no bra. I didn’t exactly need one, as the fit was pretty impeccable. But what really disturbed me was the realization that I wore absolutely nothing underneath—just a single, blue shroud of silk to protect me from his eyes.

Well, Penny… I shivered at the thought of them—cold, penetrating, impossibly blue. In for a penny, in for pound…

The necklace I’d left for last. It sat flashing on the vanity in front of me, and I stared scornfully for a good long while before finally picking it up. It was just too much—entirely too much. And he knew better. I’m sure he did. There was no way in hell that I could keep it. But… at the same time, it was just so disgustingly lovely, I couldn’t resist at least trying it on. Just for a moment… I took a breath, and closed the clasp around my neck. Only a moment. I swear.

Again, I raised my eyes to the mirror.

Standing sidelong, I hardly recognized the girl gazing back at me. She was sexy, and poised. Her hair was up, but unfussy—a few wispy ringlets winding messily about her temples. Even her makeup walked gracefully on the line between melodramatic, and demure.

I touched to coruscating chain around my throat. My skin tingled. And I knew by the knot of shame in my stomach that I couldn’t bring myself to remove it. I turned slowly, catching its glint from every angle in the mirror, until I’d turned far enough to catch sight of my scar. I stopped, and I sighed.

No hiding it tonight…

I left the bedroom, trembling slightly, and transferred my keys and cards and money into the clutch. Marie stood near the window, still speaking heatedly with Renault, but dropped the phone to her shoulder when she saw me.

“Well…” my eyes fell, “what do you think?”

“Je pense, Penny,” she smiled lasciviously, “that Monsieur Caine will have some trouble standing upright tonight, yes?”

I flushed. She turned back to the window, peering between the Venetian blinds.

“There is a man in this car outside…” she murmured. “He has been idling for half an hour. I should call les flics, yes?”

I tiptoed to her side, and took a look for myself. It was black town car, with the passenger windows tinted in back—the same sort he’d sent me home in that first morning at Lacoste.

“No,” I breathed, “No, I…think that’s my ride, actually.”

“Mon Dieu,” she raised her brow, and sauntered alongside me toward the door, “perhaps I should take up painting too, yes?”

I tried to force a laugh, reaching blindly into the front closet—then felt my blood run cold when I recalled Madame’s crop. I snatched out my coat, and snapped the closet shut just a little bit too loudly.

“Oh là là—un peu nerveux?” she smirked, and crossed her arms. “Juste respire, Penny. Are you all ready?”

I paused a moment; my scarf wound, noose-like, one full turn around my neck.

No. I could barely breathe. No, I'm not...

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.

Copyright © © M. Thomas Ashe, 2016. All rights reserved.

To link to this sex story from your site - please use the following code:

<a href="https://www.lushstories.com/stories/bdsm/other-colors-ch-12.aspx">Other Colors -- Ch. 12</a>

Comments (6)

Tell us why

Please tell us why you think this story should be removed.

Reason