Wanting It All Ch. 10byLBGrant©
So...I have lots of good news. First, I got a lot of time to write over the long holiday weekend. Second, as my muse got busy, I found that chapter 10 is actually turning out so very long that I need to split it into two chapters which means we will all get a bonus chapter! Yeah! Third, I have the first half already completed so now that I am splitting into two chapters, I was able to post this chapter 10 faster than if I'd waited to finish it all together. Finally, I already have over half of what is now going to be chapter 11 done so the wait for the next chapter will be much shorter than normal.
So... you know there has to be some bad news in here, right? I'm giving you fair warning... and I don't want to hear any complaining or I may need to call in Lukus to hand out punishments. (Maybe I should rethink that threat. Let's face it...who wouldn't want a Lukus punishment?) Chapter 10 is all about Markus and Brianna and taking a peek into their intimate reunion. As we all know, they have a few things to work out. Be warned, there is some pretty emotional stuff going on here. I promise that Tiffany and Lukus will be returning front and center in Chapter 11. If any of you are feeling sick from missing them, let me know and I can see if James can prescribe something.
As always, a huge thanks to redyellowgo who spent a ton of time over her holiday weekend working through not just this chapter but what I have down for the next as well. She does so much more than just check spelling and grammar for me. Several of the plot details in the next few chapters came from ideas and brainstorming with her. Thanks RYG!
My final request....Don't judge Markus until the very end. He is human after all.
The room is dark, illuminated only by a few dying votive candles still clinging to the last threads of wick. They're about to be snuffed out like the dozen or so other strategically placed candles had before them. After their fast fuck on the stage floor, Markus had made sure to set a more romantic scene once they were alone. He'll never forget the vision of Bri watching him with such reverence as he'd lit the candles. The look of adoring love on her face had somehow managed to fill the empty hole she'd left in his heart the night before.
Markus contemplates getting up to blow the last candles out, but doesn't want to disturb his sleeping wife tucked tightly against his body. Brianna is nearly sleeping on top of him, her right arm and leg thrown over his naked body, her head tucked under his arm as she snuggles close, using his chest as her pillow. Like his wife, Markus feels an almost undeniable urge to stay as physically connected to her as possible.
'Hell, I'd sleep buried inside of her if my dick would cooperate.'
After gently reconnecting while making love within minutes of hitting Lukus' guest room, Brianna had somehow managed to fall into the kind of deep sleep that can only be achieved through true exhaustion or overwhelming relief. Considering she'd had little to no sleep the night before, coupled with the emotional and physical upheaval of her last twenty-four hours of punishment, her comatose-like sleep makes sense.
Still, as exhausted as he is, Markus finds himself laying awake now, listening to the comforting sounds of his wife's slow and steady breathing as she peacefully sleeps tucked away in his arms. The mish-mash of visions floating through his brain makes sleep impossible for the recently revived Dom.
'Damn, she was so beautiful tonight on stage; the perfect vision of submission...her beautiful body responding to the pain, allowing it to bring her pleasure. I can't fucking believe she actually came from just the pain of the punishment. I was sure Lukus had been full of shit about her hitting sub-space.'
Feelings of sexual dominance he'd long ago learned to suppress are now coursing through his body. It's as if they'd been locked away in some secret lockbox deep inside of him for safe keeping...hidden away where they couldn't accidentally flow out and scare Brianna; brewing just beneath the surface. Somehow in the fallout of Brianna's infidelity, the lockbox got dropped...spilling open. Memories and feelings he thought were long gone have resurfaced with a vengeance.
If only the reawakening of his dominant nature were the only thing weighing on the recycled Dom, he might be able to find some peace. Unfortunately, his sexual dominant tendencies were not the only memories he had conveniently locked away in that lockbox years ago. He had somehow managed to stuff a boatload of guilt over how utterly he had failed Georgie at the end of their marriage into that same small box. The guilt has now spilled out and is threatening to drown him with its sheer volume.
It feels so wrong to be thinking of his ex-wife while laying with the love of his life wrapped tightly in his arms, but Markus is a smart enough man to know that if he's going to take his place as the Dom of his marriage, he has no choice now but to deal with his failures from the past head-on in order to ensure he never makes the same mistakes with Bri. He wallows in his guilt for several more agonizingly long minutes while allowing nightmare memories to rush through his brain.
Finally, knowing wallowing is going to get him nowhere fast, Markus takes control of his own wayward emotions. He successfully coaches himself to approach this problem as he would a new criminal case. He needs to gather and review all of the facts first. He needs to then analyze the nuances of each piece of data to plot a course through the maze of past guilt and failure and come out the other side with a solid plan for the future.
First, to gather the facts.
He'd known even on the day they got married that he hadn't really given his whole heart to Georgie. Not really. At least not in a way a husband should love his wife. He had loved the idea of being married and he had certainly loved dominating his beautiful full-time submissive, but even at the time, he'd subconsciously known that he used his natural dominance as a shield of sorts; keeping not only his wife, but any other part of life that threatened to get too close, at arms length. While that shield helped make him a damn fine...even at times ruthless lawyer, it actually made him a pretty shitty husband.
Looking back, he had held his family and even his best friends, Lukus and James, at arms length most of his adult life as well. Sure they always had a great time together and could shoot the shit with the best of them, but when it came to really baring his soul to anyone, he had preferred to play it pretty close to the chest.
Brianna had changed everything for him and even though he's worked so hard to change...to improve... since falling head-over-heels in love with her, it didn't escape him today that his first instinct had been to shake Lukus' hand as thanks for all his best friend had done to help save his marriage. Lukus had once again trumped him by forcing him into the awkward man-hug...a hug that he's grateful for from a friend he isn't entirely sure he deserves.
After all, Markus knows he totally treated Lukus like shit by cutting him out of his life after meeting Brianna. He'd told himself at the time he was just protecting Bri from getting hurt by being around the whole BDSM scene after Jake had brutalized her. The raw truth is he'd been both embarrassed and guilty over how badly he had let Lukus down when things started falling apart with Georgie. As hard as it is for Markus to admit it, he'd been a coward. Lukus had been riding his ass for months after Georgie left and it was easier to just cut Lukus out than it was to admit his own failings. Right or wrong...Markus had looked at Brianna as his do-over and he hadn't wanted any of his past mistakes and guilt to bleed over into his new marriage. The fact that Lukus has not only forgiven him for how shitty he'd treated him, but still considers him like a brother is truly a miracle.
'I really don't deserve his friendship after all of the crap I've put him through over the years. I don't know how I got lucky enough to have him as a best friend. He didn't just save my marriage. He saved my life, because I truly don't know how I could live without Brianna.'
Yep. Action number one is to make sure Lukus understands just exactly how grateful he is for his help. Markus makes a pledge to never again let his invisible wall hold back his relationship with the closest thing he'll ever have to a brother. Not only does Lukus deserve better, but Markus knows Lukus has been spot-on about his shortcomings as a Dom all along. While Lukus had pissed him off today by calling him a really shitty Dom, he can't deny it's the truth. Markus had gone from one extreme to the other in his two marriages and without a doubt, he's going to need Lukus' help in learning how to navigate successfully when blending the two parts of himself into the strong, loving Dom and Head of Household (HoH) that Brianna wants and deserves.
'First chance I get, I'm gonna ask Lukus to actually coach me. He knows me better than almost anyone else other than Brianna. I need to push down my pride and ask him to help me become the kind of man that will make my wife happy.'
As he mentally ticks off his 'guilt' list, he recognizes that Lukus isn't the only person that he'd held at bay earlier in his life. While he and Georgie had lived only minutes away from his childhood home, they rarely saw his family except on holidays or special occasions. At the time, he passed it off as trying to keep his dominant sexual practices secret from his family. In reality, it was just an excuse to keep the emotional wall up.
Even his own mother has often commented that Brianna had brought out the very best in her own son. He'd been taken aback the first time she said it... almost insulted. But after stepping back to evaluate why his own mother would say such a thing, he had to acknowledge she'd been right. Brianna is truly the only person who has ever managed to puncture that protective shield and touch his most inner, vulnerable self. It's why she alone held the power to hurt him as much as she had with her infidelity.
In the years since he met Brianna, he has become more comfortable in his own skin and therefore...more open...more playful...more emotionally invested in the relationships with the people important in his life. He knows without a doubt that the happiness he's found in those deeper relationships is a direct result of Brianna's influence on his life.
The first time he tried to brush off an invitation to dinner at his parents for no particular reason, Brianna would have none of it. She's so very close with her own parents and older brother that she wouldn't hear of putting any distance between them and his own family. At first he'd resented sharing her with anyone else...including his parents, but in typical Brianna fashion, she'd torn down his defenses. Before he knew it, he was picking up the phone to share news with his mom and dad as if he was a thirteen year old boy running home after school to show them the A he got on his big science project. The closer relationships have brought him great joy and happiness and he knows he has Brianna to thank for her influence in helping to strengthen his relationship with his family. Hell, even her infidelity has helped to bring him closer to Lukus again.
While he may feel mildly calmer having sorted through some of the guilty feelings surrounding his relationships with Brianna, Lukus, and even his parents, Markus knows it's time to open up his Georgie wound....the one that he knows has never truly healed. His ignored guilt has been buried deep in that lockbox... festering away these past few years. As if he were a surgeon, he knows he needs to open the wound and effectively flush it out so the healing can begin. It's the only way he'll have a chance in hell of becoming a better Dom for Bri than he had been for Georgie.
A fresh wave of guilt invades and Brianna stirs slightly at the muffled groan that escapes from Markus. He'd love to blame Georgie for at least part of their marriage's demise, but as he's discovered during these last twenty-four hours of hellish reflection; he can't find one fucking thing that she did wrong. Sure, she'd become increasingly lonely and even despondent as their marriage came to a close, but in retrospect she had every right since he'd been the poster child for workaholics everywhere. He'd been gone literally sixteen hours a day, six days a week and even then he often brought work home with him. He had frequently traveled for weeks at a time to clients as he was building his practice and reputation and he rarely took Georgie with him because he didn't like to be distracted while he was working. He had told himself that she'd have been bored silly waiting for him in a hotel room anyway.
When he was home, he'd enjoyed spending time in their makeshift dungeon playing with his sub. At the time, he thought it was enough that he was careful to ensure that they connected nightly before bed with a scene in the dungeon that would normally end up with them fucking hard and fast after a discipline or bondage session. In the beginning Georgie seemed happy enough with their nightly connection, but towards the end, she had become increasingly melancholy after the sessions. At the time he had no clue what was bugging her. He had of course picked up on her cues and had confronted her several times trying to get her to open up and tell him what was wrong. In retrospect, he knows that as a submissive, she just didn't know how to vocalize her own needs, not unlike Brianna more recently. Only after it was too late did Georgie finally break down and tell him that all she really wanted was for him to hold her more...talk to her more...make love to her sometimes instead of dominating her...to make her feel treasured, instead of a mere possession.
No...he has to come to terms that one hundred percent of the blame for the demise of his first marriage falls squarely on his shoulders. He was after all the HoH...the Dom...the man who was to lead his wife and see to her needs. He had failed to open his eyes and really see what his first wife really needed to make her happy. He'd been too busy...too closed off...too selfish. By the time he had woke up and really noticed how far apart they'd grown, it was too late. She had closed down and wouldn't talk to him about her feelings at all, which in turn only pissed him off more. The last month they had actually had their first arguments where Georgie had felt brave enough to talk back. At the time he didn't see it, but he now knows that she could only argue because she had lost all of her respect for him.
'She argued because she no longer recognized me as an authority figure over her.'
Things had snowballed that last month until the fateful night that she had threatened to leave him. She'd had her bags packed and was sitting, not kneeling, in the foyer with her bags near the front door when he finally showed up at home half-drunk after a business dinner. Even now he remembers the overwhelming rage that had coursed through him as she calmly confronted him. Looking back, he'd been angrier at her for daring to embarrass him by leaving than he was upset at the thought of losing her. For the first time since the day he'd met her, she had stood up to him...told him there was nothing he could do to make her stay.
If only he could take the next few hours of his life back, he would. Even now, years later, he feels the tears welling up in his eyes at his deep regret and shame for losing control that night. While he may have never been the best husband or Dom to Georgie before that night, he had never truly hurt her physically and while it may not have been what she wanted most from him, he had always been generous with gifts, making sure she had everything she needed...everything except himself, that is.
That night, in his rage, he had broken every single rule there is in the Dom handbook. He had started by screaming mean, horrible things at her. The verbal abuse was meant to break her spirit so she would relent and stay. When that had failed, he had then dragged her to the dungeon where he'd tied her down to the spanking bench and wailed on her ass with his belt for several long minutes until she was crying and screaming for him to stop. Still, when given the choice of him stopping if she would agree to stay with him, his suddenly strong wife continued to hold her ground.
As many mistakes as he made that night, he's grateful the one thing he did right was realize that he'd lost control of his anger. He had untied her as she sobbed and carried her naked body to the car. He had driven like a mad man, heading to The Punishment Pit. If she wasn't going to listen to him at home, he was convinced she would damn well listen to him if he put her center stage for her punishment.
Lukus had been surprised when Markus had barged onto the stage in the middle of that night's show, his naked wife thrown over his shoulder....insisting she required a public correction session. Lukus could see how angry he had been and of course did his best to calm Markus down. After closing down the show and shutting the curtains to give them some privacy, Lukus had taken him aside and preached the Dom rule #1 of never punishing when he was angry, but Markus would have none of it. If only he had listened to his best friend. It wouldn't have saved his marriage...it was already too late for that. If he'd listened though, it might have prevented the downward spiral of guilt and shame that had dogged him ever since. Only the damn lockbox had kept the memories locked away where he didn't have to continue to confront them daily. But now, with the lockbox open, they are here...front and center. He has no choice but to hit them head on.
He feels the tears falling freely down his cheeks now and doesn't even try to stop them. He closes his eyes and allows the shameful memories to replay. How he had tied Georgie to the whipping post...her arms pulled so high she was literally on her tippy toes after he had locked her ankles wide on the spreader bar. He should have started with his hand...even a strap or a paddle would have been okay, but he went straight for the whip; the only implement he had never used on her before. He was determined to get her attention...to wake her up. Before starting he made sure she knew that she could stop the punishment any time she wanted. She had a safeword of course, but she had never once had to use it in their relationship. That night, all she had to do was say that she would come home with him and unpack her bags and her punishment would end.
She had somehow taken the first few biting strokes of the whip silently, which in turn had only angered him more. He can barely contain his own sobs as he remembers how he had only used more force...using his well toned muscles to deliver the kind of punishment that no submissive could ever deserve...especially his obedient wife who's worst sin had been to fall in love with a selfish ass-hole and who had dared to dream of being a treasured part of his life.
Not that it really matters, but he knows that Lukus and Georgie have never believed that he hadn't heard her use her safeword that night. He'd had no right to be hurting her the way he was in the first place...safeword or not. But it was the truth. In his rage, he'd never heard her calling out her safeword. He had delivered another full-force strike of the whip before her second cry of butterfly broke through his rage-filled haze. He heard it at the same time Lukus thankfully tackled him to the floor, stopping him before he could follow through with the next strike.