Zone of Discretion Ch. 01bypsych_student©
(Note: This part deals with the lead up to a D/s relationship. Skip it if you are after steamy sex scenes:)
Clutching my latte in a death grip, I navigated the maze of wobbly tables and sunk into the chair opposite Jack. He didn't look happy. He was hunched over a half-eaten plate of pasta, frantically punching at his phone's keypad.
"Fuuuck," he hissed, hitting the table with a clenched fist.
I raised an eyebrow at him as I mopped up the coffee that now pooled around my purse.
"Sorry." He flashed me a rueful grin. "My God, this day is going completely to shit."
"Are you going to tell me what happened, at long last? I feel a little left out."
"But it's different with you. I actually care what you think of me."
I gave him a playful nudge.
"Come on! I challenge you to make me think less of you."
"Yes?" I fixed him with an expectant look.
He leaned back in his chair and put his hands behind his head, scanning the room. The noise level had increased; neighbouring tables were rapidly being claimed by other staff and students. His eyes returned to mine. They were a moody, faded blue. Seconds lengthened until I was uncomfortably aware of myself.
He sighed and finally broke eye contact.
"So what was this information you accidentally blurted?" I tried to take a nonchalant sip of coffee.
Another tortured groan.
"Come on, you'll feel better..."
"I doubt it," he laughed, "but here goes."
Jack motioned for me to move closer.
"I met up with my ex at this bar on Chalmers. I told you that?" He spoke in a low voice.
"We were with some of my friends. Things got...rowdy."
"Well, my lady friend happened to mention some of the things she's into, some of the things we used to get up to..."
"Really? Must've been awkward."
"It wasn't your average vanilla stuff, Belle. In fact...," he anxiously rubbed his brow, "she went into detail about our involvement in the BDSM scene."
He watched me, trying to gauge my reaction.
I licked my lips and ventured a vague expression of concern. My mind was racing.
"Anyway, some of the party didn't take it so well. I mean, they didn't say anything to me at the time...but later..."
"Judgmental gits." My own vehemence surprised me.
Jack looked just as surprised. Then he recovered and gave me a soft smile.
"So, what was it you blurted," I asked, hesitantly.
"I mentioned that I had plans for Lynne."
It was my turn to groan.
"Yeah," was all he said.
"Is disgusted. Apparently, I'm a sick misogynist who'd scare any sane woman. That's verbatim."
"Shit." I hesitated. "Maybe it'll just take time-"
Jack shook his head.
"Thanks for trying to reassure me, though. You're lovely, you know that?"
My face burned.
"Well, you're my friend," I mumbled.
The smile he gave me then stayed with me all afternoon.
Jack caught me just as I was unlocking my car door. He shook his umbrella open and held it over us as the first drops spattered on the dark bitumen. I couldn't help noticing the way his shirt clung to his torso in the humidity.
"Just wanted to make sure we're okay." His fingers rested lightly on my arm.
"Of course we are." I instinctively leaned into his touch, before catching myself and jerking away. I hoped he hadn't noticed.
"I'm sorry, but I just can't believe you're not shocked at all."
"I'm really not." I shrugged. "I mean, it's possible that it hasn't really processed yet. It's not a subject I've ever given that much thought."
"Okay." He nodded, still looking worried.
"See you tomorrow?" I gave him a brief, awkward hug and escaped into the stifling cocoon of my car.
My apartment was similarly stifling, the air fetid with stale cigarettes and booze. I silently cursed my flatmate as I wrestled the windows open. I felt flushed and dizzy. I flopped on to the lounge and took some deep breaths, trying to restore my wits. A fine mist of rain reached my face.
"Jack, Jack, Jack..." I breathed a mantra, swallowing the lump that formed in my throat.
I'd spent the afternoon visualising Jack's face above mine, uncharacteristically stern as he was issuing some order or other, his eyes an intense, stormy blue. It was as far as I had gotten in "processing" his revelation, because I was afraid of the feelings this image stirred in me.
I had felt something for Jack from the beginning, since I'd started work at the university. He stood out, above every man I'd ever met. Not in looks alone, though he was striking. He moved like his veins ran with quicksilver instead of blood. He was tall and lithe - but not overly muscular. He had a sensitive mouth I wanted to kiss every time it quirked into a smile. And he had artists' fingers. But it was his manner that held my attention. He was direct and friendly. He seemed to know something about everything; he was passionate, but never arrogant. Above all, he never treated me any different because of my relative youth. I was just Isabel to him. I loved talking to him, and we had fallen into the habit of lunching together. He was the best part of my working life.
But he was off-limits.
I needed to take a shower.
I stood under the spray, daydreaming. As I washed myself, I let my hand rest on my pubic mound, tilting my head back as I let my anticipation build. I saw Jack in my mind's eye, smiling his crooked, electric smile. I stroked the soft hair on my outer lips and slipped one finger gently between them. I felt so hot but the water had washed away most of my natural lubrication. I tentatively brushed my engorged clitoris with a fingertip and winced as the intense friction sent a stab of pleasure-tinged pain shooting through my pussy. Frustrated, I applied more pressure, squashing my swollen flesh and reveling in the ache that centred under my fingers and radiated through my whole body. With the smallest of movements, I ground my clitoris against my pubic bone, torturing myself, feeling my vaginal muscles clenching around nothing, pushing myself until the muscles in my wrist started to seize painfully. I stopped, wondering how I could be rubbed raw and desperate for more sensation all at once. I leaned my forehead against the shower screen. Why was I so strange? Why couldn't I climax?
I shut off the taps, dejected. Standing in front of the mirror, I studied my virginal form with more than a little distaste. Soft breasts tipped with large, pale pink nipples, an arse that jutted out below two prominent dimples. I longed for the hard-bodied perfection of a catwalk model. I rested a hand on the flat planes of my stomach and tried to imagine seducing a man. I had to smile. I could hardly talk freely to Jack, who I'd known for a year. I cupped my breasts, speculating. Could anyone know the kinds of fantasies that dominated my waking mind? Would Jack be shocked, even turned on?
I shrugged into a cotton wrap and pinned my thick hair into a messy bun, leaving a few black tendrils curling around my face. I studied my reflection up close. Too pale. My green eyes too wide and ingenuous. I looked younger than twenty-three. I didn't look enticing. I knew people saw me as aloof, reserved, a prude. I hated it.
My flatmate crashed through the front door. I headed out to greet her.
The rain had cleared by morning. The air was deliciously cool as I left my car and headed to the nearest coffee cart. Suitably armed for battle, I arrived at the office just five minutes late, resisting the temptation to see if Jack was in yet. My colleagues were already in full swing.
"You'd never suspect it, would you?"
"He is a little bit...different. I'm not really surprised. I did think he was gay, though. What do women see in him? Why would any self-respecting woman let him do... that?"
"There are some fucked up people out there."
I flung a pile of books onto my desk. Leon shot me a look of incredulous disdain.
"Isabel? What's your problem?"
I tried to glare at him but I couldn't match his venom. I set about tidying the books.
"I think his private life is his own business. He's not hurting anyone."
Leon snorted. I blushed, furious with myself.
"You have a soft spot for sadists, do you Isabel?"
One of the others rolled their eyes.
I ignored him. I felt him move to stand close behind me. His aftershave smelled like acetone.
"You want a good spanking, Isabel? You want to wear a dog collar? Well, well."
I could almost feel his smirk.
The other girls left for their classes. I started out after them. Leon stopped me with a hand on my arm. He leaned in with a sincere look on his face, like he wanted to apologise.
"Show me your tits," he murmured, his eyes boring steadily into mine.
"What..," I choked, feeling suddenly shaky. I tried to wriggle out of his grip. The head of the school walked past the door and smiled in at us. Leon nodded back politely.
"Show me your vagina," he breathed into my ear. "I bet it's nice and tight."
My face crumpled. Leon smirked as he released me and strolled off down the corridor. I stood for a few moments, paralysed.
Jack walked past and gave me a distracted wave.
I put my palms against my temples and fought back tears. I looked around at the bland, beige office decor. I hated that it looked just the same.
I arrived at the coffee lounge before Jack. I was doing things automatically. Find table. Get coffee. Open book. I was staring off into the distance when I realised Jack was there, in front of me. He eased his lanky frame into the chair like he was carrying the weight of the world. He still looked distracted, though he smiled at me.
"So. What does the world hold for you today, Isabel?" I could almost buy his jocular manner.
"Oh, just the usual." I gave him a small smile. "And you? I hope today's an improvement on yesterday."
"Perhaps it is, remains to be seen, I think."
"Is Lynne coming round?"
"No, we broke up."
"Oh no! I'm so sorry, Jack."
I wanted to get up and hug him, but in the end I just sat there awkwardly, arms half-extended across the table.
"Don't be sorry, honey. It was going to happen eventually, I'm sure."
I nodded, watching him carefully.
"She and I just became a routine, in the end, I think. I'm not as sad as I thought I'd be. Am I horrible?"
"You're just too nice to say. I bet the last two days have made you reconsider the company you keep at lunch."
His eyes were on mine, a resigned look in them.
"Please just be honest with me about any issues you have, Isabel. I can explain things more, if you'd like."
"Stop it, please." I was pissed off.
Jack looked at me sharply.
"You haven't done anything to hurt anyone, least of all me. You didn't want to hurt Lynne, anyway. And I'm not so spineless that I would sit here, placating you, worrying about you, if you were the kind of bastard who deliberately went about making people miserable. I respect for you now just as much as ever, and I appreciate you even more, perhaps. Who cares about your sexual proclivities? They don't impact on your kindness and your humanity. There are plenty of horrible men who are, what's the term you use, vanilla? They're vanilla and they're happily married and they go around belittling women to make themselves feel big, and you? You're the antidote to those kinds of men. I hate those men! So don't sit here telling me you're one of them!"
I lost my voice towards the end of my speech, as tears threatened to spill over. My jaw was quivering - I quickly hid my face as I tried to get it under control. I heard Jack's chair scrape back and then his strong hands were gripping my arms, helping me up and out of there. I let myself be guided, embarrassed beyond belief.
Safely in his office, I slumped down onto a chair.
He moved another chair to face mine. His thumbs gently caressed my knees. He waited patiently.
"Jack?" His name came out as a sob as the tears started in earnest.
"Bella, what's the matter?"
"That's not why you like it, is it? You don't do it because you like to make women feel like they're crap, like they're nothing?"
I rested my head in my hands and tears plopped into my lap. I felt pathetic.
Jack scooped me up and onto his lap, where he wrapped me tightly in his arms.
"Fuck no, Isabel! What going on? Where did this come from?"
I shook my head, trying to dismiss the question.
"I'm sorry, Jack." I wiped my eyes. "I'm being an idiot."
He tilted my chin up so he could look into my eyes.
"Isabel." He sounded so assured, so gently commanding. "Tell me."
"Well," I started, "it's just that I got a shock this morning, because Leon, well, he said some things. One minute he was normal, you know, obnoxious but normal, and the next he was telling me to...ah...show him my..."
I left the sentence hanging, avoiding Jack's eyes.
"And I was trapped there, and he was pretending to be talking normally to me. People walked past. And you... Christ, it sounds like nothing when I say it out loud."
"No." Jack's voice was low and dangerous. "No, it doesn't sound like nothing."
"And I couldn't bear it if you thought of me that way too, and I just didn't know."
"I think the world of you, love."
We sat that way for a number of minutes as I discretely tried to wipe my nose.
"What a fucking little prick," Jack said, suddenly.
"He is a little prick."
"Do you want to report him? I'll come with you."
"Don't you have a class?"
"Well, they can't expect me to hold their hands." He grinned at me.
I felt lighter already. I stood up.
"Let's go, then."
"And later I think I need to answer some questions for you."