There's a Fine Line Ch. 07byMazuri©
This chapter contains graphic depictions of things that may be upsetting or unpleasant to readers. Please check the tags before reading.
As always, my thanks go out to my three aids: Archangel_M for his excellent editing skills and Jaisen and Mokkelke for their brainstorming and beta-reading. You guys help me make this the best it can be. Thanks! Maz
Narrow bands of sunlight filtered through the curtains, waking Alicia from a most inappropriate yet extremely arousing dream. After Blake's parting words the night before detailing all he wished to do to her, all he planned to do to her, there was little wonder that her dreams had been full of him. And her. Together. Rolling over, she groaned into her pillow as desire flooded her body and moisture pooled between her thighs. She'd already had a taste of his expertise in carnal pleasures and, even if going further scared her, she still craved more. She craved her mate. She flipped onto her back and snorted in disgust.
"Mate. He's my fucking mate. Son of a bitch."
Admitting it aloud didn't upset her like she'd expected. Instead, it seemed to grant her a peace that she'd only felt once before: the night Blake had strapped her to his bench and flogged her. Grumbling as much from the revelation as from the early hour, Alicia rose from the bed and wandered into the shower. In a few short weeks, her entire life had been turned on its ear. Even after the Reveal, she'd never given much thought to the nonhumans except as either potential employers or unaware "clients." In the cutthroat world of the homeless, race mattered little over what someone could give you. To think of herself as belonging to one of them, mating with one of them, and possibly even becoming one of them, were frightening yet oddly reassuring thoughts.
As she smoothed the soapy sponge over the taut plane of her stomach, her dreams returned in vivid detail and she couldn't help but imagine that he was touching her, learning her curves, teasing her with those insanely skillful fingers and lips. Closing her eyes with a soft moan, she dropped the sponge as she hesitantly slid her hands along her wet, slick skin. For the first time in her young and troubled life, she explored her body to learn what she liked. For once, she could think of herself as a sexual being without shame. For that, she would always owe her vampire more than she could repay.
With the force of the heated water beating down upon her, Alicia explored the body she thought she knew. Cupping her small breasts, she stroked the rounded globes and was amazed by their softness. She wasn't as large in the bust as many of her peers but Blake had seemed to enjoy stroking and licking them. And biting them. With a whimper at the memory of sharp fangs sinking slowly into delicate skin, she lightly pinched the hard nubs that graced their peaks. It felt pleasant enough but seemed to be lacking...something. Again, she pinched her nipples but added a twist that caused her to catch her breath. Yes...this is what she was missing and what she needed. Gripping the reddened tips firmly, she gave them both a cruel twist and gasped as the pain shot pleasure straight to her neglected core. Leaning against the cool tile, she gave her abused nipples a second twist, harder and crueler than the first and moaned at the dual sensations. Pleasure from pain; pain that became pleasure. She didn't entirely understand yet but she was beginning to learn.
Needing more, she closed her eyes and pictured Blake's ruggedly handsome face as she let one hand trail slowly down her stomach to the soft bed of curls that lay below. As she gently tugged and twisted her nipple almost absently, Alicia slid a finger along her soft folds. She shifted her feet a little wider in the stall, pressing her back against the wall as she stroked the small bundle of nerves that had given her so much pleasure at her mate's command. It radiated warm pleasure with even the gentlest of touches and she spent many minutes just enjoying it and thinking of all that was to come.
How would it feel to finally give her mate that last piece of herself that she'd guarded so closely for so long? Would it hurt in that painfully pleasant way, or simply hurt? Would he be the gentle lover or the domineering vampire? Which would she prefer? Teasing her clit almost absently, she accidentally scraped the tender nubbin with an errant fingernail and inhaled sharply. God, the pain was delicious! Praying that Blake wouldn't be gentle, she altered her caresses until they bordered on vicious. As she built towards her ultimate ecstasy, she gripped the small bit of flesh in her fingers. Moaning loudly as she brutalized both her nipple and her clit, she gave the tender flesh in both her fingers a savage twist. Her cry was loud, echoed with a hint of her avian tones, and filled with the pleasure of her release. Slowly sinking down in the small shower stall, Alicia trembled as the last aftershocks of her orgasm passed.
Once she was certain she could stand without stumbling, she rose to complete her shower. She dressed comfortably in a pair of relaxed jeans and a loose t-shirt with a pair of backless sandals. Glancing at her clothing, she frowned at what she saw. The clothing was certainly comfortable but that was all that could be said for it. It was concealing and shapeless and, quite frankly, unattractive. It had been a necessity on the streets; curvy little girls were prime targets for the stronger sexual predators but shapeless or plump ones were often overlooked. Rummaging through her closet, she was dismayed to see that all of her clothing fell into the same style. Perhaps she could persuade Ms. Pierce to take her shopping for an outfit that would shock her vampire? Alicia grinned as her eyes faded to black. Oh, what delicious punishment would he offer?
She nearly skipped down to breakfast, humming a silly tune from her youth as she piled her plate with eggs and bacon while waiting on her toast. Not daring enough to go for something truly slutty, Alicia thought she could pull off a mini-skirt and midriff top, perhaps. Her legs were decent enough and though she hadn't seen the inside of a gym since high school, her stomach was nothing to be embarrassed about. She was about to pour a cup of coffee when a glass of orange juice appeared before her eyes like magic.
"I think you'd do better to drink this, McNugget." Francisco grinned at her yelp of surprise and swirled the pulpy liquid in the glass.
"Ok, Cisco. What's with everyone pushing juice on me all of a sudden and why can't I have my coffee?"
"You need your energy replenished, Alicia. Your mate has been rather fang-happy, and it shows."
"It does?" Alicia looked horrified for a moment while wondering just what else was so readily apparent to her hosts.
"Yup." Her friend grinned and sat her glass in front of her before taking the opposite seat at the table. "You're too pale, a bit shaky, and it's plain that you're sometimes dizzy when you first stand up. You have a mild case of anemia, sweetie – very common in a vampire's human companion and a near constant condition to the human mate of one."
"So, that's what he was talking about." A blush rose in her cheeks as she petulantly speared her eggs. "How long will it last? I want my coffee, dammit."
Francisco chuckled and rose to pour her a cup. "You can have coffee after you finish your juice, little girl." His teasing set her at ease, as it always did, and she shared in his laughter. "As long as he keeps his fangs to himself, you should be fine in a day or so. You'll need to get some red meat into you, though." When her cheeks flushed nearly purple with embarrassment, his laughter echoed throughout the room. "You naughty human, you!"
"Fuck you, Cisco!" Alicia gave him a rude gesture before turning her burning, yet smiling, face towards her breakfast. Totally unperturbed by her mock hostility, Francisco finished fixing her coffee and sat it before her once her juice was gone.
"Elizabeth is working from home today, by the way." The young vampire moved easily around the kitchen preparing his own version of a meal – a warmed glass of bottled blood mixed with a spicy V8. His announcement was spoken casually yet he watched his human friend closely. Blake had spoken to the small coven about his mate and all were eager to help her to understand and accept her needs.
"Oh. Ok. D'you think she'd see me? I need to talk to her about something."
"Of course she will, Alicia. Shall I let her know to expect you after breakfast?" He was rewarded by a renewal of her blush but she nodded immediately. Touching on the very light bond they still shared, he could feel that she was happier and more at peace than at any time in the past few weeks. Dropping a brotherly kiss on the top of her head, he nearly danced from the room to alert his Lady.
An hour later, Alicia was pacing outside the door leading to Elizabeth Pierce's study, debating how to approach such a – in her mind – delicate subject. She had enjoyed the night she'd spent with her mate, and even dared to hope it would happen again soon. Hell, her private playtime in the shower reinforced the fact that she needed something more than a gentle cuddle, but that didn't make it easier to discuss the particulars with someone who was practically a stranger. Besides, what would she say? 'Hello, I'm Alicia and I like to have my hair pulled and my ass spanked before having the most powerful orgasm in my life. What do you think? Am I a fruitcake?' Awkward! Groaning, she stopped at the end of the hall and gently banged her head on the doorframe that separated it from the kitchen...and safety.
"You know," an amused feminine voice interrupted from the study's doorway, "I don't think this is what Blake intended when he wanted you to discuss your enjoyment of pain with me."
"Fuck!" Alicia turned with a shriek, her hand covering her rapidly beating heart, to see the petite brunette lounging against the wall with a smirk. "I swear to god, all of you need to wear fucking bells or some shit like that before you give me a heart attack."
"Language, my dear." At the younger girl's look of shocked dismay, Elizabeth chuckled softly. "Yes, I know of Blake's dislike of foul language from the lips of his women. I can only imagine how much worse it is for you as his mate." Grinning at her guest's faint blush, Elizabeth waved her into the room. "Now get in here before you bleed all over my doorway or wear a groove into the carpet. It's Persian silk, you know, and very difficult to replace."
"Sorry," Alicia mumbled as she passed the beautiful vampire.
Elizabeth closed the door and crossed to the small bar she kept by her desk. She poured her guest a finger of the expensive scotch the human favored and herself a glass of imported Sangue Vino, a drink from an ancient recipe that combined the juice of champagne grapes and fresh blood for a sweet, heady wine that satisfied more than just the human palate. Little was known of its origins but it was advertised as being created by a monk rumored to have mated with a vampire in the time of witches and Inquisitions. She found it to be an exquisite mixture, and far superior to any other. Handing over the short tumbler with a smile, she took her seat and fixed her gaze upon her friend's mate.
The silence that followed was long and awkward as Alicia took a great interest in the contents of her glass. Setting her own drink aside, Elizabeth decided to ease her guest into the subject with a gentle nudge.
"Now...I may not have known you long, my dear, but you've never seemed the type to avoid something just because it was difficult."
"Yeah, but it just ain't right to go talking about your sex life, you know?"
"Ah, but we aren't talking about sex, just about pain, pleasure, and how the two can combine."
"I'm not all that sure that's right, either." Alicia knew her cheeks were the color of an overripe strawberry, but she couldn't help it. Her mom might have been the town whore but she would have died rather than tell her only daughter exactly what occurred in her bedroom. The poor girl had to learn that from her stepfather.
"Why? Because others say it isn't? I make it a rule to never allow more people to have a say in what I do in my own bedroom than those within it. No one else needs to know what happens between you and your mate and, if they find out, their words shouldn't matter."
"Okay, I understand that. But surely it's not right to actually enjoy someone whipping you so hard that you get bruises?"
"Says who? Alicia, the only thing that makes it 'not right' is if you truly did not enjoy it. Did Blake force you? Beat you even after you begged him to stop? Hurt you in some permanent manner?" The young girl's horrified expression answered her more clearly than any vehement denial. "Are you, now, scared of your mate?"
"No! Blake didn't hurt me, not really. I mean, yeah, it's a bit stingy to sit on a hard chair if I forget and bending over can be really awkward, but it's not like he went all caveman on me. He never took advantage of me even though I was trussed up tighter'n a Christmas turkey. He could have easily fucked me that night but he didn't because he knew I wasn't ready. And then, God, he was so sweet afterwards. You should have seen him." Alicia closed her eyes and smiled as she remembered waking next to her gorgeous vampire. "He let me cry and rant and rave...I must have sounded like a crazy person but he never once left me. Instead, he touched me the whole time to let me know he was there. He gave me water, wiped my face, and...well. Um, afterwards, he held me when I slept and treated me like I was made of spun glass when I woke up."
"Then isn't that worth far more than the opinions of people who could never matter to you and him?"
"Yeah, I suppose it does." Smiling into the amber liquid, she thought about his visit the night before and his apology. Something told her that he rarely made such a gesture. Gathering her nerve, she asked one of the things that had been bothering her about this new discovery of hers. "So...pain and pleasure. Is there a limit? I mean, could just anyone smack my ass and give me a thrill, or is it just him?"
"I'm afraid I can't answer that, Alicia. That would be something for you and Blake to discover if it became an issue. Again, does it really matter? I believe you told Johannes that you wouldn't want to be shared, and Blake really isn't the sharing type, so it's doubtful it'll ever come up."
"Well, I'd hate to find out that stubbing my toe made me cum! Imagine the embarrassment if I did it in public!" The two ladies giggled softly, and Alicia relaxed even more. There was no judgment here, only helpful answers and common sense which made her wonder just why she'd been so nervous about discussing this with Elizabeth. "Can I ask you a personal question, Ms. Pierce?"
"Of course, my dear."
"Are all vampires like you and Blake? Do they all like to...tie up folks and smack them with those little mini whip things?"
"Those little whip things, Alicia, are called floggers. I'll have to show you around my playroom and introduce you to my toys. Just to look and ask questions, of course." She added hastily as the color fled her young guest's face. "I would never touch a fellow vampire's mate without his consent and presence.
"Now, back to your question. A lot of creatures – vampires, humans, and others – enjoy power games; some of them even enjoy adding in elements of bondage and sadomasochism. That's the tying up and smacking bits, m'dear." She added at Alicia's blank look. "Blake's dominant behavior has less to do with his becoming a vampire than his own innate needs and desires. Had he lived and died entirely human, he still would have indulged in tying up his lovers and spanking their bottoms red. Of this, I am certain."
"Oh, okay. That makes sense, I suppose. He's a rather arrogant ass, isn't he? I guess something like that doesn't just happen 'cause you got bit." Draining the last of her scotch, she spun the fine crystal in her fingers. "What about you? Did you always want to have a husband like Johannes? Or a...a pet like Cisco?"
"Of course not. I was a lady, born and bred, and wanted nothing more from life than to marry well, provide an heir, and throw elegant balls. As I'm sure you are well aware, the fates tend to twist our lives into something far different than we had planned."
"Yeah, they love having a laugh at our expense, the bastards. So, how did they fuck with you?"
"Alicia...language. I will inform Blake of your lapses if they continue to occur." At the girl's hasty apology, the lady vampire nodded and began her tale. "I had the great luck of being born to parents who loved each other very much; a rare occurrence between married couples in England's titled nobility. The year was 1795 and King George IV still held the throne, though his son would soon assume his role as Regent. Unfortunately, I never knew my mother, for I was both early and a breach birth. She hemorrhaged and died before the week was through. It broke my father's heart to lose her and he never forgave me for not following her into the grave." Elizabeth poured another glass of the blood wine and began to pace the room.
"While he was never outwardly hostile, he was emotionally withdrawn. It became worse as I aged and looked more and more like the woman he loved. He began taking trips into London that lasted longer and longer until I rarely saw him at all. He returned on the eve of my debut ball to inform me that he'd secured a husband for me who was appropriately wealthy and titled. Father assured me that Janus, the Earl of Wiltshire, was young enough to father many children to keep me happy and attractive enough to please me in other ways. While I would have preferred to have chosen my own husband, I was desperate to please the father who seemed to resent my very existence."
Staring into the fire, Elizabeth relived that night all over again.
"My Lady, the master awaits." The maid wrapped a warm cloth around her body as she rose from the cooling water and began to pat her dry while another briskly rubbed her brunette curls with another. "All is in readiness for the ceremony."
Blushing from the attentions of the maids, Elizabeth wondered if all of their peculiar preparations had been entirely necessary. Her entire body had been shaved smooth except for her brows, lashes, and the hair on her head. Lavender oil was rubbed on her skin until she'd squirmed beneath exploring fingers that tried to rub her in places no one but her husband should ever touch. The maids were stronger, however, and she'd had to bite her lip to contain her gasps as those questing fingers had rubbed oil between her smooth nether lips and into her small, virgin hole. They'd even rubbed oil on her bottom and pushed a finger into her there! She would definitely have strong words with Janus about replacing these strange females and their wandering hands.
More oil was rubbed onto her skin, only this time, the hands that held her still were bordering upon cruel. When she protested, they merely laughed and informed her that they were doing the bidding of their master and he would reward them dearly for a job well done. Held fast, Elizabeth could do nothing to stop the probing fingers that cruelly stretched and violated her young body. She was sobbing by the time they threaded her arms into the sleeveless shift they'd held in readiness. The thin garment they allowed her would have scandalized a whore. The bottom barely covered the curve of her pert ass, while the cloth was so sheer that it clung to her oiled body like a second skin. The moisture of the oil turned the barely opaque cloth into a gauzy veil that enhanced rather than concealed her body from prying eyes. To her further shame, a leather collar was fastened around her neck with a heavy metal buckle, while similar cuffs were locked around her wrists and ankles.