Faint Heart Never Won Fair LadybyAlexis Haines©
With heartfelt thanks to Bill Kipling
Jack Bateman sat in his den. His blue eyes were unfocused as he stared at the TV screen. The local news broadcast was white noise to him, a murmuring backdrop to his thoughts. The glass of Pilsener stood ignored beside his chair, the remote control lay forgotten in his hand. He had seen her today.
When amongst people, Jack's expression was usually attentive. His eyes were uncommonly warm for their light color and his broad 6' 1" frame, strong and well honed through years of workout discipline, was noticeable for its trimness rather than capacity to intimidate. This was deliberate on Jack's part. When meeting with clients he leaned forward, partly to assure them he was listening carefully and partly to reduce his height. When in court, he used his physical qualities to their full advantage. His eyes took on an intensity that unsettled inexperienced and fallible witnesses before he spoke a single word. He was a carefully controlled chameleon; there was never a moment when Jack Bateman did not present himself according to what was required.
That Jack was able to respond so appropriately to situations was due to two qualities. He was observant, and he was analytical. While always ready with a smile and a genuinely warm sense of humor, Jack could also place himself on the fringes of human interaction and often did so, the better to observe it.
In this way he had learnt the unspoken rules of behavior as defined by the senior partners, and avoided the faux pas committed by his peers. He worked out regularly at his gym, and worked his mind as assiduously and resolutely as he worked his body. He missed nothing, he worked hard, and he never allowed his analytical ability to be swayed by subjective judgments.
In fact he was so rational that, at times, he could exasperate those who were closest to him. Everyone agreed that Jack was a 'great guy'. He was perceptive, a ready listener, and always responsive. Yet nobody could say they really knew him well. That the man was passionate was easy to believe; anyone who had seen him defend a client could recognize the depths of his feelings. But when engaged in personal conversation, Jack often gave the impression there was more going on in his mind than he was willing to divulge.
His chosen career and his dedication to it rewarded him well. He had taste and indulged it, carefully selecting the trappings of his hard won wealth; a small art collection, a large collection of classical recordings. He found time to indulge his love of history, travel and sailing. And theater. Which is how he met her.
For years he had made an annual migration to London, visiting the theaters on Shaftesbury Avenue and taking in the atmosphere with a heady joy. He loved the English springtime and he enjoyed Shakespeare; and so the decision to break his routine one year and see the Royal Shakespeare Company perform at Stratford-on-Avon was almost inevitable. A friend recommended a 16th century inn within striking distance of the town. Using this as his base, he quickly worked up a plan that would keep him happily exploring the honey colored villages of the North Cotswolds, and take him as far afield as Oxford. With taxi service arranged to transport him from Heathrow to Stratford and back, and a classic MGB Roadster booked for the duration of his stay, Jack knew it would be a memorable trip. It was more than he hoped for.
On the morning he visited the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, the tour was able to include the backstage. This added another dimension to his understanding of that evening's performance; a dimension he found himself explaining to a quiet, gently smiling, fellow American woman later that evening.
The way they met was part serendipity, part gallantry. He had made his dinner reservation well in advance; she had not. He had not yet ordered when he observed that a poised, fair-haired woman in a simple black dress was about to be turned away for lack of seating. On impulse he had asked his waiter to let her know that, if she would like, she was welcome to join him. She was alone, so was he. Why not?
That they lived within twenty blocks of each other was quickly passed over, once discovered. Neither knew if that was a good thing or not. But as the evening's conversation progressed, Jack began to think it might be. By the time they got to sharing a chocolate truffle torte with espresso anglaise, he had decided it was. Her name was Christine. Christine Langford. She was a technology consultant with a small outsourcing company. Their clients were well taken care of; she wasn't able to take extended vacation time very often, and she rarely traveled abroad. She struck him as being a little out of her depth, and it attracted him.
She was reserved, even cool, at first. Her dark hazel eyes would only occasionally meet his. Given the situation, he thought her caution was sensible. As she relaxed, he caught glimpses of a considerate nature. She had relatives in London, had planned this trip with an aunt who had fallen ill at the last minute. She almost hadn't come but her aunt had insisted that she should. Their plan had been to eat dinner at a local pub, but she didn't feel comfortable doing that on her own. It was kind of him to share his table with her. Would he excuse her? She wanted to call and make sure her aunt was alright.
He studied her as she walked to the lobby area, watched her easy movements on her high heels. They added some height to her 5' 4" frame, and balanced her compact figure. She curved in all the right places. Curves he became better acquainted with, back in the United States.
They agreed to date on their return. Once she was over her caution, and he had eased her shyness with his warmth and candor, Jack found she laughed easily at his gentle teasing. She was easy to get along with during the few days they spent together. It was in a low-ceilinged, rowdy pub in Oxford that they finally swapped telephone numbers.
To his joy, she turned out to be the same person back home as she had been on vacation. She was natural, and a natural choice for him, he decided. She kept her apartment and moved in with him, eventually. From the start, they worked out together at his gym. It gratified him to see how vivacious she could be, how she impressed the male contingent in the free weights room. It was her odd mix of brilliance and insecurity that he found so attractive, and she was undeniably intelligent. He was proud of her.
There had been few lovers in Christine's life besides one, long-term relationship. Jack was a confirmed bachelor and had played the field more. In the beginning, their lovemaking was lustful. While Christine was shy, she was not timid. She gave herself freely to passion and Jack enjoyed feeling her ardor rising, taking her to the edge of orgasm, and controlling their lovemaking. Then, as long work hours intruded, as the weekend routines took hold, they made love less often. She perceived his devotion to his career as waning interest in her, and it hurt her pride. She felt shut out; he never discussed his cases, and he didn't understand her professional field. Resentment set in. Jack knew he was losing her but could not respond; at some level of intimacy, their relationship failed. Jack could not admit to himself that he needed her help, and she could not perceive that he needed it. So Christine played along as Jack analyzed, reasoned, and rationalized away her concerns until she felt her self-confidence slipping away. And then she became angry, no longer able to talk coherently about how she felt. Jack's cool composure, his only defense, became abhorrent to her.
Their breakup became a necessity, in the end; he came home one day and she was gone.
Outwardly, Jack did not change. She never turned up at his gym again. When asked if she was OK, he frankly and unemotionally stated she had moved out. He didn't offer any more information than that and, sensing a tender bruise, the gym clientele left the subject alone. He carried on as though nothing had happened. It was the rational thing to do; so, too, was not looking back. Jack had put time and distance between him and Christine, and had moved on. Or so he thought.
As he stared with uncomprehending eyes at the colors on his TV screen, Jack was dimly aware he was in shock. He had seen her today.
Shock wasn't too strong a word, he decided. He'd not expected to see her, but it was more than that. It was the way she'd acted, the way she'd talked. He thought he knew her, but she had been so different it was almost as though someone else was walking in her skin. He didn't believe people changed that radically. So he played back the memory, analyzing, seeking answers. She had turned up at his gym.
Helen was a trusted spotter with many of the gym regulars. She paid attention, watched carefully for signs of collapse and mentally counted the repetitions. What Jack appreciated most was the way she spotted him on the bench press. She was unobtrusive, applying just enough lift to the bar to help him on the last reps. Her encouragement was quietly spoken. Not anything like what he had heard on that last set; the one where he had closed his eyes. He had been focusing on squeezing the last, desperate contractions from his pectoral muscles when he had heard her voice. Christine's voice.
"Does it burn, Jack?"
His eyes had flown open. And he'd almost dropped the bar on his neck. Her gloved palms had quickly caught the bar, and then barely maintained its lowered position. She had merely balanced it on the sides of two fingers of each hand. The weighted bar was almost fully his, and had swayed dangerously. Helen had vanished.
"You'd better regain control, don't you think?" Her voice had been mellow, suggestive. Her face had gazed down at him impassively, but her eyes had locked onto his with frightening intensity.
"Wh-what are you doing?" His heart had been galloping, breathing totally shot to hell. He had almost panicked. She had smiled before she answered. There had been triumph in that smile.
"Isn't it obvious? I'm spotting you. Now, p-u-ssh, Jack." She had pouted as she formed the command. The sensuality was unmistakably intended.
His concentration had been completely broken then. He had begun to lower the bar carefully to his chest but she had held it up. Frustrated, he had quickly retaken control of the bar.
"Stop it, Christine. This isn't funny."
"No, it's not, is it?" she had agreed, brightly. "There's a lot of weight on this bar." Then she had feigned puzzlement. "But it's not like you to give in, Jack. Do you really want to give me control?"
Something in the question had turned his panic to anger, given him the surge he needed to send the bar up to where he could place it on the stand. But she had not let him place it.
"That's good; now, one more."
He had obeyed. Looking back, he did not know why. Maybe he thought he would humor her; whatever the reason, he had simply dropped the bar and sent it shooting back up. He remembered it had surprised him, how effortlessly he had done it.
"Another. Do it!" She had been totally, completely, serious. Her eyes had been blazing. With a strong exhalation, he had made the bar soar.
"Again!" He had never heard her speak like that. It had almost been a bark. He had completed another press.
She had practically purred. "Good boy. Work it, Jack. Show me how much you can take."
As he analyzed it now, he realized he had given her control. Not of the bar; her fingers had stayed with it and she had spotted him carefully but he had done all the work. No, he had given her control of the exercise. His exercise. Actually, him.
His body and the weight had flowed together. He hadn't needed to close his eyes to focus. Her face had been all he that had needed; that, and her insistent commands. As he pumped iron like he never had before, she had watched his pectoral muscles contract and a dark sweat stain spread between their raised, hard contours. Her smile had been wonderful then, tender, broadening as she looked down into his eyes. He had no idea how many reps he had done.
"Burning now, Jack?"
Oh God, had he been burning. His pecs had been ready to burst. And he had been erect. The shock when he had realized...
...that was it. He'd been in denial about that. Then the full meaning hit him like a sledgehammer.
She had taken control of him and he'd been aroused by it. Jesus Murphy. He had really liked it. He wasn't shocked at her; he was shocked at himself.
Oh, he had been so embarrassed. His strength had given out when he had realized his chest wasn't the only part of him that was bulging. She had been ready. She had pulled the bar up and helped him to drop it onto the stand without him having to say a word.
She had walked down the bench as he lay there, panting, arms splayed. She had stopped level with his groin. She had actually stood there, eyeing his pants exactly where he was displaying his excitement. Christine. Shy Christine. Examining her handiwork like an artist studying her brushwork. He had tried to get up but she had suddenly turned, straddled his chest, leant forward, and whispered into his face. He remembered the hush in the weight room. Everyone must have been watching.
"I'm going to leave now, Jack. Watch me as I go, will you? Make sure nobody tries to, uh, hassle me on the way out. I'll call you. 'Bye."
She had planted one, pouting kiss on a bare finger and then pressed it gently on his mouth. Cool as rain, she had dismounted him and strolled away. He had sat up to watch her go. Her compression tights had shown every contour. She looked great; whatever she had been doing, it had worked.
She had turned once to afford him a view of her from the front, he reasoned; perhaps to show him her top was open to her cleavage. Or was that it? Jack's heightened awareness had caught something. She had hidden it quickly when her eyes had met his. But for a moment, he realized, she hadn't been sure. Even in her triumph, she hadn't been sure he would care enough to watch her go. That's why she'd turned. He knew it.
Jack closed his eyes, smiling now. 'Ah, Christine, my fair lady; it's still you.' He began to fantasize about her.
In the softly changing light of the TV, alone in the quiet of his den, Jack's exhausted body gently towed his floating mind out to sea. Where, from the depths of his psyche, a part of him rose like a leviathan in answer to a call. A part of him he had never, ever, expected to meet.
He was gazing up at her. Christine was standing behind his head, towering, poised, and looking down at him impassively. Her mouth was open, lips slightly parted. He watched, fascinated, as she slowly ran her tongue across her upper lip, deliberately sending him some animal signal he couldn't have explained; but which he understood. Her eyes measured him, waiting. She rewarded his involuntary shudder with a smile. She blinked once, slowly, and then lazily slid her cool gaze down his prone body.
His prostrate, bound body. In his fantasy, he laid the length of the bench; his wrists were cuffed and shackled below it. His ankles were cuffed to the bench legs. He tilted his head back. He wanted to see the tightly clad contour of her pubic mound above him. She let him see, but moved away before he could gaze his fill.
He watched the undulating movement of her hips and buttocks as she strolled slowly along the length of the bench. His skin thrilled to her touch as she trailed her fingers along his perspiring, naked skin. She stopped level with his groin. She turned her head, looked back at him over her shoulder. His eyes locked on hers as she reached and placed her hand lightly on his balls. When she was assured of his attention she looked down at her hand. She grasped his sac and pulled, stretching him. Her grasp became a crushing clench as her fingers tightened. She manipulated his testicles, rubbed them together. The pain shot upwards, stabbing into his abdomen. He cried out, head back, eyes staring in disbelief at the ceiling light above him.
She was standing beside him. She pushed her breasts forward, allowing him to watch her circle and cup them with the flat of her palms. She let him watched her tweak her nipples. His cock was swelling. She slowly smoothed one hand over her abdomen and down to between her legs where she pleasured herself. His eyes fixed on her rhythmically moving fingers, on the place they disappeared between her folds.
She told him to open his mouth for her. He gratefully sucked the wetness from her woman-scented fingers as she laid them, mercifully, on his tongue. She pulled her fingers from his mouth and slid them down his chin and neck.
She stood astride him. He looked up at her. He adored her. She was holding a riding crop. He thanked her as she began to whip his nipples in a slow, courtly, figure eight.
First one nipple.
Then a graceful backhand to the other.
The taps became flicks and the leather tress began to deliver a precise, quickening sting. Then she was dancing around him, applying a cadence of stinging, wrist snapping switches to his reddening skin, raising livid patterns of crazed art. She applied her skill lightly, delighting in the adoration in his glazing eyes.
She slowed. She turned her back to him and mounted his chest. She took hold of his cock and stroked him purposefully. Her voice floated strangely in his ears, a mellow murmur from a dark place that held him as firmly as his cuffs and shackles.
As his blood pumped to her bidding, she told him he was not to release. She forbade it. She knew he wanted to please her, and she would be disappointed if he cheated her. He was only to be hard for what she was about to do. As she stroked him, he obediently and thankfully swelled for her.
She held up the crop. His heart thundered in anticipation. As he watched, she brought the crop down in front of her in a slow, graceful arc. Then he felt her tapping it quickly and lightly against his rigid shaft. She rubbed excitedly on his chest as his groans rose. Her short, wet, rocking movements increased with his agony until he was barely aware of the slowing rhythm of the crop, hardly noticed her slowing undulation.
She was holding herself open over him. She slid two fingers down to her open sex. He groaned as he watched her penetrate herself. She showed him how deeply she entered, how slowly she withdrew. When she was flowing, she quickly cradled his head and brought him to her as she lowered herself onto his protruding tongue. He sought to meet her expectation. He nuzzled her, worked his tongue inside her, and fucked her as her fingers had done, slavishly, hungrily, until she withdrew.
She stepped away, took pause to stretch. She strolled casually around him, surveying her handiwork, admiring the marks along his ribs and chest, the glistening of her smeared juices. She took her time, caressing him occasionally. When his erection had subsided, she faced him and straddled the bench between his legs. She grasped his genitals. He gazed subserviently at the ceiling light as he listened to the quiet sound of snaps fastening. She told him to look. Glancing down, he saw the black leather straps that now held him around the base of his balls and cock. He could feel another strap between his testicles.
He heard her tell him again that he was not to come. He was forbidden to release. His erection was all she required. She stroked the underbelly of his shaft, licked him, sucked him, and ran her tongue around the ridge beneath his head. He engorged again for her.
The straps held him tightly now; his cock was stiffer than he had ever felt it. It was suffused with all the blood in his body. He felt monstrous, like some manic Priapus with huge, heavy balls. And then she mounted him, took him into her, delighted in the feel of the leather against her clit. She churned and ground herself against it.