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Other Colors -- Ch. 14 (section 1)

A D/s romance set in Montreal. This chapter has been split into two sections.
Part 2 - Blue (continued)

Chapter 14

You shouldn’t have said that. Even as the words left my lips, I knew it was a mistake to let them loose. The haze of that third champagne had more or less pulverized my capacity to hold my tongue.

“Something else to drink tonight, mes amis?” our server reappeared, and reclaimed the empty bottle before setting out the next course.

Dmitri sat silent, a deadly, blue chill in his eyes. For a moment the man’s words didn’t even seem to reach him.

“…Non merci,” he growled, his lips barely moving.

The boy nodded nervously, and left us in a hurry. The scene he left behind on the table was only slightly less macabre than the marrow, and at least as sinister. Two white platters sat between us, the roasted hind leg of a hare lying artfully upon each one. Dmitri’s eyes didn’t leave me for a moment.

“Who was he?”

I hunched low in my chair, wrapping my fingers around a fresh, serrated knife, “does it matter?”

His shoulders rose and fell tensely with each breath he took.

Deep inside, there was a smug part of me that might’ve liked to savor this moment, just reveling in his few seconds of stupefaction. But I couldn’t. I’d cut too close to a wound in me that was still festering. It stung every time someone touched it, even by accident. And I had no interest in knowing how a sharp, sadistic mind like his might use it against me. I hoped against hope he might just let it go.

He didn’t.

“He was older?”

I nodded reluctantly, “A few years." 

“And not a stranger in your home,” he cocked his head. “Family friend, maybe?”

This is why. This is why you should’ve kept your fucking mouth shut, Penny. I clenched my teeth. He sees the way your wheels turn.

“He played lacrosse with two of my brothers,” I nearly made myself sick, just trying to keep my voice from shaking. “Dad was always working. Japan, mostly. His Mom was a country club drunk,” my nostrils flared, “he stayed with us a lot growing up.”

He nodded gravely, “And you left him.”

“I did.”

I raised my knife, and sawed softly into the steaming hare’s leg, mostly to keep my hands busy. My appetite had very much vanished.

“Because he hurt you.”

My knife clinked loudly on the plate.

“He never hit me, Mr. Caine.”

It was a low blow, I guess. But I didn’t mind fighting dirty. I nibbled a few threads of moist, tender meat from my fork.

“No,” he folded his hands, looming forward over top of me, “but he hurt you. You didn’t tell anyone. And that’s why you run.”

Some water seared at the edges of my eyes. I shook it away, praying he hadn’t noticed.

“…You’re not as clever as you think.”

His face went deadpan, “Tell me I’m wrong.”

Fucking Christ. I hate that. I dropped my simmering eyes again, defeated.

“That’s fine,” he lifted his knife, “The truth is, Penny, I don’t care. I don’t care who he was. What he did to you. Or what your life was like together. None of it matters to me. What does,” he cut, “is what comes next. Say yes. Leave here with me tonight. And I’m going to treat you as something that belongs to me. Something precious. Cherished. Uncommonly beautiful—like every other piece in my collection. And like every other piece in my collection,” his voice fell lower, “I’ll share you with no one.”

I watched him slide the blade beneath the skin, and slowly peel it back.

“Not a soul. No one else will be able to touch you, Penny. And no one else will hurt you. I promise.”

“No one,” I breathed, “except you.”

He made no answer. None was needed. His silence was its own dark affirmation. Just below the skin, my whole body seemed to be quaking. The way he looked at me, the way he leered and sniffed; how little he ever let his eyes leave mine—it was becoming too much for me.

 Entirely too much.

The whole night I’d felt hunted by him, preyed upon. But ‘cat-and-mouse’ didn’t capture it. There was nothing feline in the way he stalked me. It was more his way to snarl, and snap; to bear his teeth, and watch me cower. Venery. There’s the word. I suppose it’s all fun and games for the hound. But the fox—she’s fleeing for her life. And there were, as far as I knew, only two ways that those hunts ever ended. The fox escaped. Or else she didn’t. Cornered, skinned, skewered. I swallowed. 'There are no other possibilities.'
So run.

“Please,” my blood pumped furiously; with what very little grace I could manage, I slid out from my seat, and stood. “Veuillez m'excuser, Monsieur.

His eyes arrested me. And in that moment, I knew he could see clearly what I intended to do. I tensed my arms and legs to keep them from trembling as I stood there, awaiting his permission to make my escape.

“De rien,” almost imperceptibly, he tipped his chin, “Miss Foster.”

And that was that. All I needed—my release. I was free.

I didn’t need to worry. I didn’t need to fret. I didn’t have to go home with him, and be the girl imprisoned in his castle. And I’d never have to know how deep the rabbit hole really went. And as I about-faced for the corridor, I really expected to feel some tremendous flood of relief wash over me.

A flood did come. But when it did, it nearly drowned me. Every step that I took, it became doubly difficult to breathe, and barely halfway back to the bar I was all but hyperventilating.

My head spun. My skin seared. I caught a carved stone pillar to keep from collapsing in what I believe may have been an honest-to-God swoon. Panicking and perspiring, I glanced around. The door to the ladies room stood just a few paces further. I scraped up my strength, and staggered in.

I stood before the mirror, my palms on the counter, trying to recall some caricature of one of Marie’s yogic breathing exercises. Agni-Prasana—breath of fire. How come I remember what it’s called, I panted, but not how the hell it’s supposed to help me?  I ran some cold water from the faucet, dabbing a bit across my chest and on the back of my neck, beneath the chain of the choker.

I gazed hard into my dim reflection. Shockingly, the girl in the mirror betrayed almost none of my upset. Her hair was unmussed, and her makeup unsmudged. Her Eyes were clear and white. And probably it was just the poor lighting, but even her skin looked scarcely flushed, or mottled. On the surface, she was precisely as I’d left her in the vanity mirror of Marie’s bedroom—smooth, impassive, porcelain pale.

China doll. I grimaced. It had been one of my Mother’s favorite pet names for me growing up, and the only one that I’d consistently resented. Back then, I never considered myself especially fragile. Nor anyone’s doll to be dressed up, toyed with, or set on display.

Yet, here you are, Penny. I squeezed the necklace, and the stones flashed back at me, soft as starlight. Dressed up. Toyed with. Already half-shattered. I sighed, finally beginning to catch my breath. What were you thinking? What if you’d really gone through with it? I narrowed my eyes. Who are you?

This girl in front of me—with her dress, and her hair, and the delicate green heat of her eyes—she wasn’t me. She wasn’t anyone, really. She was a shape, a shadow; an image he’d designed around me. A painting of Penny. And this is how he would’ve wanted me, I crossed my arms, shivering, all the time. Can you imagine?

I did imagine. I saw it all, with dappled light and vignette edges, like memories from a strange, mid-afternoon dream. Locked up at Lacoste. Shackled in pearls, perfume and lace. I quit shivering. Like the bathing girls in his Renoir, the dancing ones in his Degasjust another pretty thing for him to put in his house. I thought of The Gilded Cage, that queerly pretty painting by St. George Hare, seeing it for the first time not as social symbolism, but for what it really was—in all its unsettling, golden glory.

I wondered. I wondered what it might’ve been like, being his. I wondered what he would have said—what he would’ve done—had he caught me some late winter morning, strolling his halls in my pilled and worn flannel pajamas. The scene played out whimsically in my head, with all the absurdity of a Feydeau farce. I smiled. In the mirror, I saw myself smiling. And I think my heart almost stopped.

Stop. Idiot girl.

I wanted to claw that idiot grin right off her idiot face. You ran off to the washroom, I rubbed my temples, so you could stand here, dreamy-eyed, and play effeuiller la marguerite over a man who would own you. A sigh hissed through my teeth. Wonderful. Now why precisely do you look so fucking pleased? I stared at her, still simpering stupidly. Tell me why. Why the fuck are you still here, Penny Foster?

But I knew why. Both of us did. It was a function of physics; a torturing trick of his magnetic field. My attraction to him had never been composed of much emotion. It was visceral—some heavy, toxic metal that seeped into my bones, and poisoned my blood. It held me near him. It trapped me. And without some dangerously potent chelators, or a spontaneous reversal of the Earth’s poles, there was hardly a chance in the hell I would ever really be free of him. I sniffed, and groaned loudly, covering my face with both hands.

“Excusez-moi,” a small, soft hand gripped my shoulder. “Vous vous sentez bien?”

I peeked between my fingers. In the mirror behind me, I saw the girl in the rabbit fur stole. I spun slowly as she handed me a tissue from her purse.

“Oui. Oui,” I shook my head, embarrassed, and dabbed my eyes, “Merci bien.”

“Je vous en prie,” she nodded once, glancing over her shoulder at me as she vanished into a stall.

By reflex, I opened the padlock clasp of the leather clutch, scrounging for some fresh mascara, and found instead the pale glow of text message. It was Marie.

*tout va bien. Ren staying over. R U coming home 2nite???*

Guess they made up… I read it twice over, slowly, obsessing over what I would tell her. I took a deep breath, and typed my answer.

*yes. home in twenty.*

Alright. Alright. Time to go, Penny. I stared at the cursor, blinking back me at me; ticking off at the same pace as my heart. One letter at a time, I erased the message.

*no*

The phone shook in my hands. I tapped send. And that’s that.

The girl reemerged, washing her hands beside me. Au fond du terrier. I watched her pull open the door. Encore. And I followed.

He was standing up when I returned to the alcove. His back was to me. He stood still, reading his wristwatch. I bit my lip, and rose onto my toes. It wasn’t fair, how often and effortlessly his body fell into these timeless, masculine poses. Beneath the seams of his black suit, I could see the diagonals of his limbs and torso; matching almost to a tee Michelangelo’s David.

I glanced to the table. Our plates were cleared, and I was glad for it. From the moment I gave Marie my answer, my appetite for food had been eaten away by another hunger entirely.

“I thought maybe you’d really left,” he spoke before turning.

“I think…” I folded my hands apologetically in front of me, and approached, “I nearly did.”

He closed the space between us, “Then you’ve made up your mind?”

I didn’t answer, but dropped my eyes to the floor; wincing as he drew my chair out roughly on its hind legs.

“Sit.”

His voice was cool and dry. It was the same stentorian tone he'd used with Rupestrian after he tackled me in the kitchen.  And for about half a breath, I hesitated. I resisted, perhaps. It was my last gasp—a moment of brittle, crystalline clarity where I weighed whether I was truly ready to be ordered around by him like a dog, and kept inside his invisible fence. He even has me wearing a collar, hasn’t he? I touched the choker.

And then I sat. And I swear to God, for reasons I could scarcely begin to fathom, it turned me on. It turned me on to be told what to do. And it turned me on to obey him.

“Good girl.”

With the back of his hand, he brushed my neck, gently, just behind the ear. I bent nearer, savoring the electricity of his touch, as he pushed me deep against the table.

“There are a few logistics,” he took his hand away, “I’ll send someone to gather your belongings in the morning. And I’d like to set up a GIC for you tomorrow. You’ll use my bank.”

I frowned. It was fine, I guess—I had hardly a dime in my old savings account. And somewhere I suppose a dreary, bloodless banker was keeping close tabs on my mountain of student debt. But talk of money changing hands again put me very, very ill at ease.

I narrowed my eyes at him, “Why?”

“I could cut another check each time you finish a painting, Penny. But you won’t be needing money while you're with me. Trust me,” he rounded the table to his seat. “It’ll be far better for you in the long term,” he paused and caught my eye, “You’ll have your easel up, and your things put away by the time I arrive home tomorrow. Understood?”

I blushed a little.

“…Strange,” I shook my head, smoothing nervously a nonexistent crease in my lap. “It seems so formal.”

“Jawohl. Ist doch ein jedes Blättchen gut,” he drew his chair over very close beside me, and sank down, “Du unterzeichnest dich mit einem Tröpfchen Blut.”

Mephistopheles…  Our flanks were nearly touching. I shifted my hips, wishing they were. And I sighed silently as he wrapped his arm over the head of my chair, taking hold of my shoulder. A warm chill stirred in me just beneath his hand, and dove down deep into my chest. It might’ve kept on, tingling its way right through to my fingers, my toes, and my eyelashes. But following his Faustian insinuations, the feeling was cut short by an impervious twisting in the pit of my stomach.

“But,” I knitted my brow, “you won’t really make me…sign something, right? A waiver. Or gag order. Or whatever,” I swallowed uncomfortably, “…a contract?”

“No,” his answer was quick—too quick, in fact, had my question come to him entirely out the blue. At some point in the past, I could tell he’d considered it. “Your consent. And your discretion. Your word on both is enough for me, Penny. I trust you. And you can trust me when I tell you,” his grip tightened slightly, “I won’t need my attorneys to keep you in line."

He trusts me? My brow creased. Why? I didn’t even trust myself, really—especially not when it came to him. I looked in his eyes for some flicker of irony, or doubt. I saw nothing—nothing but blue, and a deepening blackness as his lips bent close to mine. I shut my eyes.

But he didn’t kiss me. He watched me, his face a fraction of a centimeter from mine, as gently and deliberately, he let his hand sweep downward, grazing through my dress, just barely, the tender center of my breast. I breathed a long soft sigh through my nose, feeling the knot draw tighter inside me. And I blushed because I knew he saw it—the dress was thin, and its low back had forbidden a brassiere. I knew he could see what his touch did to me. He kissed my neck, so lightly I wasn’t even certain we truly touched, and he released me.

An inviolate silence followed. I stared into the flame on the tabletop, unable to face him. Each time I drew a breath, and the fine-spun fabric slid softly over my nipples, some lingering phantom of his fingertips still haunted and taunted me—a blurred shadow on blue silk. I shifted and squirmed, and rubbed my ankles together; frustrated that he seemed so content to deprive me of any further affection, and frustrated furthermore that he’d so freely succeeded in frustrating me.

I frowned. Most of me wanted more. But a reckless and impatient part of me just wanted to return the favor. My head in a steamy haze, I slipped free from one lacy high heel under the table, and drew the soft arch of my foot up along his leg. He tensed slightly, and without chancing a glimpse at him, I smiled.

I think I knew how foolish it was to provoke him. I must have. Conventional wisdom and common sense were rife with the sort of warnings that should have stopped me. Don’t play with fire, or skate on thin ice. Watch your step. Keep your head down. Don’t poke the bear. Let sleeping dogs lie… But even with my little tease, I was far from satisfied, and further still from finished.

My foot crept upward. I didn’t once dare to look at him; to see whether I’d kindled some incinerating, blue fire in his eyes, or if they’d frozen over, entirely, into ice. Either way, I knew the sight of him would stop me dead in my tracks.

And then I felt him—the tip of him there at the tip of my toes; already heavy and hardened, like a polished stone pestle. I splayed my toes, shuddering as he swelled a little larger.

How does it happen? I marveled childishly. Does it hurt? I would think it would hurt… Somehow I’d never given it much thought before, but the phenomenon was a strange one. That some soft, fleshy part of him should so swiftly swell to six times its natural size. I recalled the day I discovered I was allergic to nickel—how my pinky had ballooned beneath a cheap zirconium ring. I was thirteen, I think, but I still cried. Doctor Foster had to cut the band off with a little electric saw. He nicked me by accident. I still had some scars.

I moved higher on his thigh; up, and up, all the way up to the root of him. Mon ostie. I stared into the candle, watching threads of white wax dribble down from its fiery tip. It would seldom fail to unsettle me—the length of him was more than the whole sole of my foot.

I shut my eyes—but snapped them open again as the waiter reappeared, setting down a shallow saucer right under my nose. I hadn’t even heard him coming. I held in a gasp, and yanked my foot back to the floor, scrambling to find the shoe I’d shed.

“Sabayon aux lavande, fraise poché, et cerises noires,” he gestured in turn to a few pale streaks of whipped custard, a single strawberry, tumescent and blood red, and a pair of cherries, black as a couple of marbles carved from anthracite. “Is…everything to your satisfaction, Monsieur?”

I saw him glance disconcertedly to Dmitri as he laid out our spoons. Warily, I followed the line of the waiter’s gaze, and when I saw what he was looking at, felt a few shards of frost form in my veins. He stared back at me, neither smirking nor scowling. Like an Etruscan bronze, the muscles of his face were utterly expressionless. But his eyes—his eyes were so sharp, they might’ve split me in two.

“Yes,” he spoke without motion, without intonation, “Je suis aux anges.”

Très bien ,” he bowed cautiously, “…merci beaucoup, Monsieur.”

He left once more, and I ought to have left well enough alone. Every sensible bone in my body understood it. But then, in that moment, it wasn’t the sensible ones that moved me. No sooner had the server disappeared than like one entranced, I maneuvered my insole back to his inseam.

But he was no longer a statue, no longer still. I gasped as he caught me tightly by the ankle, and slid his seat roughly right up against mine. I jolted. He didn’t let go.

“You were a petulant little girl, weren’t you?”

Our faces, near before, were now nearly touching—I could almost feel his stubble chafing my cheek.

“I’ll bet your Father gave in. Gave you whatever you wanted. Didn’t he?” He was no longer looking at me, and somehow that made me all the more nervous. “He never taught you to be patient, Miss Foster.”

He was half-right. I was always impatient, and often petulant. ‘The immovable object…’ My brothers’ teasing faces spun through my mind in sequence, dim and distorted like the slides in a magic lantern.

And though Doctor Foster always sought to spoil me with gifts, in truth he gave me everything except the thing I always wanted. I never knew quite how to tell him. I think my first and only true attempt to do so was when I stopped accepting his money; holding out for something else. Something he guarded more closely. He called me a fool and a child when I took out loans for college rather than letting him pay. It was maybe the most heartfelt thing he’d ever said to me.

“He tried,” half-heartedly, I went to wriggle free, but he held me still tighter, twisting my leg to a place just shy of painful. “I was—” I bit my tongue to keep from whimpering as I made another attempt, “…stubborn, Mr. Caine.”

He nodded, still without turning to me.

“Then let me teach you,” he took up one spoon, and scooped a little crescent of custard. “There’s a story I learned when I was little. Vorobyshek I Volk. ‘The Little Sparrow and the Wolf’,” his voice was dark, steady; a little aloof. “It was one of my very favorites.”

He held the spoon to my lips, and paused, waiting for me to part them. Seriously? I raised an apprehensive brow at him. Absolutely not. By the slightest of increments, he twisted my ankle further, and sent a warm, tingling twinge of pain up through my leg.

“Ah!” I winced, and he slipped it in.

Mother. Fucker…

I glowered at him, wiping a stray, creamy smudge from my lips. If he’d have smirked, I might have gouged his eyes out with other spoon. But he didn’t. He didn’t even glance at me. He sliced into the into the strawberry, and with more than a touch of trepidation, I watched it bleed.

“One cold winter on the steppe,” he recited slowly, ignoring our little skirmish below the table, “a half-starved wolf met a half-starved sparrow, flying low spirals in the sky. The wolf called to her, ‘I would eat you up, Little Sparrow, but I can see you’re much too swift for me’.”

He held up the sliver of strawberry—I hesitated only a moment this time, and opened up. I didn’t need another warning.

He went on, “The sparrow flew down to him, lighting on his back and answered, ‘I am swift, Wolf, and you are fierce. But both of us are starving. Let us look for food together’.”

He slipped the spoon between my lips. The berry was sweet and tender; it almost melted away on my tongue. But before I could swallow, I felt another tingling flash through my leg as his grip loosened around my ankle, and began gliding up along my calf.

No. My brow tightened. No.

“So all day and all night they traveled, searching high and low for something to eat. On a soft hillside, they came upon a little tuft of wheat.”

His hand went higher, and I convulsed as his fingers tickled lightly along the back of my knee. He held me still, scraping up another bit of custard.

“The sparrow sighed, ‘There is grain here, Wolf. But it will scarcely feed us both. The wolf turned to her. ‘Eat,’ he said, ‘I will wait, Little Sparrow. And my meal will be all the sweeter.’ So the sparrow pecked and pecked, until each stalk was dead, and barren.”

Once more, he fed me, but I tasted almost nothing. The only sensation I could process was the dreadful, slow ascent of his hand. All else was dust and ashes. His palm passed further, now onto my thigh—his touch soft, but ruinous. Like gentle sea waves swallowing Ys. Or the swirling sands of the Empty Quarter, pulverizing Iram of the Pillars for a thousand years.

I wanted him. At least, about half of me did. It was the algebra of my anatomy; a simple matter of extrapolating curves. I knew what he would do if I let him. And I knew I would let him if this went on any longer. His touch was fast approaching zero. But I still had my limit. He never would get to where he was going—my rational functions forbade it. I shook my head, and drew my legs together tightly.

With only one arm, and without the slightest show of effort, he pried them apart again; entrapping one leg between our seats, and the other against his knee.

Oh, no. No, no, no, no… I struggled in earnest this time, but could barely move my lower half. A cold sweat beaded at the back of my neck. God, no.

“They walked on,” he slid a coal-black cherry onto the spoon. “They found a field of frozen sunflowers.”

His hand grazed the hem of my dress, and he drew it up slowly toward my hips. My heart battered spastically against my chest.

“The sparrow sighed, ‘There are seeds still left, Wolf. But they will scarcely feed us both’. ‘Eat,’ he answered her. ‘I will wait. And my meal will be all the sweeter.’ So the sparrow flew among the blossoms, pecking up whatever little seeds she could find.”

“Please…” I begged him as he slipped the cherry into my mouth. I swallowed it almost whole, wondering only afterward if it was pitted. “Please, Dmitri—”

“One last time,” he cut me off, and finally, he faced me—eyes flashing icily. My protestations froze solid on my lips. “They walked. And walked. And they walked—until both dropped to the earth in exhaustion. But found nothing.”

With each word he uttered, he slid my dress a little higher, stopping just short of revealing me entirely. My thighs quivered violently against him.

“The little sparrow pleaded, ‘Please. Let us rest, Wolf. If we are alive tomorrow, we’ll look again.’ The wolf assented, so they settled in. And as the sun set that day,” he leveled his gaze, his face half-hellish in the candlelight, “the whole snowy meadow lit up around them, illumined by a million fireflies.”

Suspense, quite literally, was killing me. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t breathe. And my nerves were on the absolute precipice of collapse. Still, he stared through me; drawing a few slow, intersecting rings in what remained of the custard.

“‘Bozhe moi,’ the sparrow cried, ‘Wolf, we are saved. Here are enough fireflies for both of us.’ But the wolf growled once more, ‘I will wait, Little Sparrow. And my meal will be all the sweeter.’ So she flew to and fro, hunting all alone after the fireflies. But they were far too swift for her—so spent was she from their long journey. And in the end, she gave up, and landed at his feet. ‘Alas, Wolf,’ she wept, ‘now, surely, we will starve.’ But when she looked up,”

The last cherry slipped onto his spoon. The sound I breathed, neither wholly sigh nor wholly gasp, was either way transected by the compulsive chattering of my teeth, as he drew away the last remaining measure of my modesty.

“…The wolf was glaring down at her,” he breathed hotly down my neck, “He was licking his white fangs. ‘No,’ he snarled, we will not starve tonight, Little Sparrow’.”

He ran the side of his hand along the soft crease between my thigh and torso, and I flushed a shade of red too deep to register in the visible spectrum.

“Please…” I hissed, warm tears welling in my eyes.

“The sparrow shrieked. She tried to fly. But it was too late,” he kissed my neck, and pressed the cherry to my lips. “He pinned her wings—splayed them with his hairy paws against the ground. ‘I have waited. And waited. And now…’ he snarled.”

“Please,” a tear escaped down my cheek. I shook my head, stammering frantically, “I’m…I’m not—”

Forgive me. I remembered Raymond Nonnatus, patron saint of well-kept secrets, of women’s nethers, and always painted with a padlock through his lips. I have to tell him.

“Dmitri, I’m not—”

“Not wearing panties, Penny?”

He smirked cruelly, and my jaw may have scraped the tabletop. How the hell—How did he?

“You overestimate my manners,” again, he kissed my throat, just behind the ear this time, and whispered, “Do you really imagine it wasn’t the first thing I noticed?”

He touched me there—his fingers combing softly along my swollen lips. Whatever words I might have spoken sublimated into aether on my tongue.

“That from the second you stepped in, I wasn’t salivating over every last shadow, and edge of you? No.”

His fingers climbed. My eyes fell shut, and my mouth open; anticipating their inevitable end. Up from my ankle, his touch had lit a slow-burning fuse in me. I had time enough left to sigh once, maybe twice more before—Christ on the cross…

He stroked my clitoris. And stroked again. I moaned through closed teeth, blushing darkly at my own unuttered blasphème, but might’ve tacked on Peter and Andrew before he was through with me.

“I saw you first from behind tonight,” he growled down at me, our foreheads pressed together gently, “hair all tied up off those tiny shoulders. Red firelight on your skin. I wanted to touch you. To trace my hand down the smooth, bare ridge of your spine. Down. Right down to the little, white cleft of your ass.”

He let me have no reprieve, moving his hand in a steady, dizzying ellipse. It took every pitiful part of my physiology to stay silent, and every few seconds, I had to remind myself to breathe.

“You really have an uncommonly perfect ass, Penny. Those curves—cordiform. And dimples of Venus. They’re almost trigonal,” his eyes flashed, “I think you’ve made Pythagoras my new perversion.”

‘Give me the hypotenuse of the Venus of Praxiteles.’

Obscure words rang soft and chaotic in my head. None were mine—they were only echoes. And that was fine. Fine, because, without them, I was utterly and intolerably empty. He made me feel my emptiness. Feel it so keenly; with such a sharpness, and ache. And if he let me have nothing else, I would have to glut myself with his words, and echoes.




Keep talking…

“But no, I didn’t touch you. Not like I wanted to—not like this,” his hand pressed deeper, and my hips, by some humiliating carnal reflex, rose stiffly to meet him. “I waited. And I watched you. I watched you looking for me. All tense, and timorous. You glanced right past me at the bar. I let you look,” his breath blew hot against my neck, “You remember, don’t you? That man leering over at you out of the darkness. You stared right at him, and didn’t see. But then,” his teeth closed on my earlobe, just tight enough to pinch, and he released, “you didn’t quite want to see me, did you?”

I gasped faintly as he slowed his rhythm.

“It’s fine. I felt something similar when I saw you, Penny—your lids and lashes painted for me. That chain around your neck. And just this shred of silk to shield you from me. Do you what I thought?”

My breaths were too short and shallow to let me answer, keeping pace with my galloping heartbeat.

“I thought, it would be less cruel,” he laid a chaste kiss on my forehead. “It would be less cruel, if I left you there. Looking for me. Rather than stay, and put you through all that I had in mind. I’ll defile you, Penny. I’ll make you depraved.”

With a touch that was, in its delicacy, almost ghostly, he slid the length of his ring finger along the tender, slickened edge of my clitoris. Every fiber and sinew in me seemed to wind itself tighter, and then, when he stopped, spun loose again.

I blinked. And for one breathless moment, I was absolutely certain that I’d come. Until he did it to me again, replicating precisely the sensation, and its intensity. He did it again. And again—each time coming closer and closer on the tail of the caress that came before it.

My head slumped forward, and I gripped the tablecloth for balance. Something about the throb he was conjuring in me—it disrupted the symmetries of my inner ear. The world around me was unstill, and unclear. Concavities became convexities, and switched back again; like reflections on either side of a spinning, silver spoon. At first, the fluctuations were swirling all around me. But as his hand worked me deeper, they closed in—they were in me. They were part of me. 

I felt myself stretched, and compressed, and stretched out again. I whimpered, and he lifted my chin, drawing my lips very near to his. This. This is it… My thighs trembled violently.

“Patience,” he growled, and left off his touches entirely.

Oh. Oh. You. Fucking. Prick…

I couldn’t believe it. It was like he’d fed me a spoonful of hot coals, and made me watch while he dumped ice water at my feet. Kriss de kalise de tabarnak d'osti de sacrament... I swore at him, though silently, with the deadliest venom and malice I could muster. No. No. You started this, didn’t you? I gritted my teeth fiercely. Didn’t you?

Once more, our waiter’s arm appeared over my shoulder, and I all but leapt out of my already reddened skin.

“Excusez-moi de vous déranger,” he removed the saucer, and set a small hinged box down between us. “Monsieur Caine, I want to thank you for visiting us again. And I was wondering,” he lifted the lid, revealing a pair of dark chocolate truffles, “would either of you care to hear a bit about this final course? It has a most intriguing history.”

I could barely raise my eyes to look in the box, much less to face our server, and answering him was absolutely out of the question. I prayed to God above and Lucifer below that he might just turn around, and leave us.

“Mais bien sûr,” Dmitri nodded darkly, “do tell.”

Without warning, his cruel and covert caresses resumed beneath the table. My entire body reacted, and in a bleak effort to disguise my convulsion, I feigned a shrill and wracking sneeze.

“À tes souhaits,” Dmitri stroked the back of my neck, glancing down at me—and I glared daggers back at him. “Ma chère amie—elle a un faible pour les sucreries.”

“Ah, vous allez être gâté, Mademoiselle. Deux champagne-chocolat truffes,” the man pointed pompously to the chocolates. “Our pâtissier derived these from a handwritten recipe belonging to the great Auguste Escoffier.”

I’m going to kill him. I am. I’m going to strangle him. Poison him. I’m going to stab him in the bath. I’m going to… Oh… Oh, God. A warm throb moved through me, and I bit down hard on my tongue, struggling to keep myself from coming apart at the seams.

“…A couverture ganache of blended Criollo and Peruvian Nacional cacao. The latter was, until quite recently, believed to be extinct. With a dash of 1899 Moët & Chandon demi-sec rosé…”

Throughout the entire ludicrous oration, Dmitri kept his head cocked in mock interest; all the while redoubling his indecent attentions to my tortured vulva. By and by, my ire with him, though still scalding the inside of my skull, all but boiled itself dry, and what remained in me when the steam cleared was naught but a scorched film of desperation. I stared up at him, begging abjectly through widened eyes.

Please. Please, for the love of God—don’t. Don’t let me come while he’s standing here…

I bit down harder. I tasted blood.

“It will please you, Mademoiselle, to know that Escoffier first concocted these at the Savoy, as a special treat for the Prince of Wales, and the American actress Lily Langtry in her public debut as his maîtresse en titre. Un péché véniel, no?”

“Ou…” I gasped, releasing my jaw as briefly as possible, “o-oui, Monsieur.”

Mistake. Another monstrous throb rolled up through me from below, and I hid my head against Dmitri’s shoulder until it passed.

The waiter’s grin faltered, “Is…everything alright, Madame? Is this not to your liking?”

“No,” Dmitri held me; brushing a stray lock of hair from my forehead, now glistening with perspiration, and tucked it back behind my ear. “I think it’s very much to her liking. Merci, Monsieur.”

At long last, he dismissed the man, while his hand allowed me, momentarily, to relax. I breathed heavily into his shoulder. Thanks be…

“Now,” he hissed once our server had gone, “was that so awful?”

Yes. Yes. Most definitely. The whole ordeal was mortifying, but I doubted whether I could ever even look in a mirror again had I climaxed, out in public, right before the eyes of an utter stranger. The ignominy of it, I winced, the sordidness. It was the stuff of Ovid; where a ruined girl could only hope to salvage her last shred of human dignity by being changed into a heifer, a nightingale, a thicket of reeds.

Or a laurel tree. For one painful moment, I thought of Peter’s half-finished sculpture. And far worse, I thought of Peter; of all his bitter warnings and his frustrations with me—of how I lied to him. Will he even speak to me? I shifted my shoulders nervously. What’s he going to think of me when he finds out…

Dmitri’s lips dissolved my nascent dreads with a deep and lingering kiss. My eyes fell shut, and I let him take his fill of me, but fought back the foggy and indomitable urge to kiss him back. I knew that once I did, it would be impossible to stop myself.

His lips… They were far and away the most enticing thing I’d tasted all night. He kissed me again, and I gave in, savoring him, and sank my teeth into his lower lip at the end—just to keep him near me a little longer.

Looking back, I suppose we might’ve been making a bit of a scene by that point, much like the French Consul Général and her lover were when we first sat down. But my paralyzing awareness of the people around us had evanesced alongside my concerns for Peter. And anyone else in the world for that matter. Anyone. Anywhere. But him…

He smirked insidiously when we finally separated, brushing with his thumb the little dashed line of indentations where I’d bit him.

“Still hungry, Penny?”

I flushed, watching him pluck one of the much-lauded chocolates from the box, and I closed my eyes again as with a vaguely vampiric vigor he returned his lips to my throat. My heart fluttered and my chest heaved. And even with my legs still pinned apart, when his hand moved again to that warm, dark place between my thighs, I felt not the slightest pang of panic. I was ready this time—perhaps some several hundred times over.

“You’ve been a good girl, haven’t you? Very patient,” he snarled softly. “And this…” he rolled the chocolate lightly over my lips, “is for your pains, Penny.”

I could smell it; the bitter aroma—all earthy and floral and rich.

“Open wide.”

At that moment below the table, I felt him slip two fingers deep, deep inside of me—stroking that occult and implausible place that made me feel, with intolerable urgency, like I needed to urinate, to come, and attach my body to a grounding cable for fear of electrocution. He pressed the chocolate into my mouth just in time to deaden my moan.

He was relentless. His hand moved in me smoothly, tirelessly, never lessening the pressure; while the pad of his thumb plied the aching tip of my clitoris. The entire network of my nerves was overloaded.

I couldn’t speak, or swallow. I couldn’t breathe. Every muscle in me, smooth or striated, was stuck in a sort of resonant fibrillation—trembling chaotically in the wake of each swelling wave with which he struck me. And if it went on any longer, there’s every chance in hell I would have died right there at the table; drowning under the clear, iced-capped waters of my own delirium.

But it didn’t. And I didn’t. My eyes rolled back. My nails sank again into the tablecloth. I suffered one last kiss from him before the floor fell out underneath me. And I came. I came, and I went.

…Just like that?

Starting from rest, a falling body accelerates at a rate of nine point eight meters per second squared, until dragged to its terminal velocity. I wanted to fall far, far slower. It was powerful, to be sure. Inside me, I felt as though every organ in my pelvis and abdomen had changed places momentarily, like guests at the Mad Hatter’s tea party. But it was just so damn short. I’d gone over the edge, and fallen too fast to really appreciate the plummet.

In a way, I suppose it had much the same numbing satisfaction of morphine. I no longer felt like my body was on the brink of shattering—but it was also dangerously addictive. As soon as the stuff left my system, I wanted more. Much, much more… I shook my head, realizing that my mouth was still filled. With a gulp that was almost audible, I swallowed the truffle, and panted pitifully into his chest.

He said nothing for a time; only let me catch my breath, until with a low sigh, he kissed the top of my head, and let go.

“Did you enjoy your meal?”

I watched him lick a little smudge of chocolate from his fingertip. I giggled softly and nervously, still panting. I couldn’t help it. It was such a tedious thing to ask after what had happened—after what he’d done to me.

“Everything,” I admitted, straining to pull my dress back down discreetly, “except dessert.”

“Oh?” absently, he signed a little slip tucked under the box, stood, and straightened his jacket before dragging my seat away from the table, “and why is that?”

I gazed up at him, cloaked over completely by his shadow.

“It, um,” I bit my lip—it was still tender from earlier, “it just didn’t quite…fill me up.”

He smirked darkly, licking another fleck of chocolate from the other hand, “I beg to differ.”

That hand… I squinted, and flushed hotly—it was still glistening from where he touched me. But that one… That one didn’t shove a chocolate down my throat… I glanced again to the little wooden the box on the table. It was empty. A ghastly, preternatural sensation sank through me, gathering in a grim puddle at pit of my stomach—or somewhere else nearby.

No. No, he didn’t…

“Where is it?” I whispered rigidly, raising my eyes to him.

His smirk held, unchanged while he stared back.

“Where is the other truffle, Dmitri?”

He smacked his lips lightly, “Staying warm.” He winked, “I’m taking mine to go, Penny.”

A little roughly, he pulled me upright, and set that same hand at the small of my back, guiding me out toward the corridor.

God. Oh my God. He did…

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, 2015. All rights reserved.



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