tagMatureIn Loving Memory Pt. 05

In Loving Memory Pt. 05

byTara_Neale©

Claire stared at her black patent leather Mary James against the stark white marble tiles that seemed to stretch from beneath her feet to the ceiling. His words echoed off the cold walls but her heart was pounding so loudly in her chest that she barely heard them.

Until his hands on her shoulders pushed her down to sit upon the edge of the tub. He shook his head as he knelt to undo her shoes. "How can you be both the smartest woman I know and the dumbest?" he asked as the first buckle came loose. He sat the shoe to one side and turned his attention to the other.

She opened her mouth to remind James that he was not the only one that felt that way. Then she remembered his warning about comparing him to Him and thought better of it.

The feel of his slightly rough hands slowly caressing the silk stockings down the length of her legs brought her back from her reverie. It was doing things to her body that she had honestly thought she was well past. Truth was that the sex she had once craved had long since stopped being a major part of her relationship with Him.

But now needs and hormones that she believed had waned away with age were raging like a forest fire fanned by the San Andres winds. She fought to control her reaction to him. To have the self-control that He had drummed into her.

This time she did not have the corset to hide the eraser hard nipples that jutted like craggy rock precipices from the cliffs of her breast. As hard as she fought it, she was powerless to stop the tiny moan that erupted from her dry throat as he lifted her foot and slipped the silk off her toes.

She kept her head down. Concentrated on following the light golden trail that seemed to cut across the white tile closest to her toes. She tried counting as she breathed. In...two, three, four. Out...two, three, four. She repeated over and over in her head as the silence stretched out across the universe.

She was naked now. Totally and completely exposed to the one friend that had known her longer than all others. The one man that knew her better than anyone. Better than herself, she reluctantly admitted to herself. She could not bring herself to lift her head, to look into his eyes. Fear and insecurity tightened her gut into knots tighter than a ball of yarn that had become her cat's new favourite play toy.

"Now undress me," he ordered as he rose to tower over her. Her neck ached at the sharp angle that her head forced it into in order to meet those grey-green pools. She shook it violently from side to side as more tendrils fell about her face. She opened her mouth to respond but no words would come out.

His eye brows arched, "You agreed to my terms, Claire. You were the one that said, 'yes, Sir,'" he reminded her. "Until I feel you are able to manage on your own, you are mine to control. Dom you through another mess of your making." A snarky smile cut across his handsome face, "And remember I know exactly how much your little sub brain gets off to washing your Dom."

Claire choked on the air that seemed thicker than road tar. She blushed even more as she remembered an email she had sent him once. He had a shitty night at work and she wanted to lift his spirit, encourage him. She had applied her writing skills to weave a web of fantasy, describing how she would meet him at the door naked. Naked as she was right now.

His large hand brushed the hair back from her face and trailed around to the back. With a strong yank, the scrunchie that had been holding it back was gone. "I see you remember too, princess." His fingers laced through the thick auburn length, twisting around his fist. Her eyes widened and blurred with tears and he tugged firmly forcing her to a standing position once more.

"Work from top to bottom. Begin with unbuttoning my shirt," he provided clear instructions that her submissive brain craved in this chaos.

She wanted to fight, but she was so tired. He was so much stronger than she was not. Not physically, that was an obvious and foregone conclusion. No, his strength came from the one place that mattered most. His soul was the dominance that called to hers. To fight that was to fight her nature. And she was much too weary to fight a war that was doomed from the beginning.

Her fingers trembled and she could not look him in the eyes, but she fumbled with the top button. It took far longer to spring free than it should have, but in the end it surrendered just as she had. The second was a bit quicker but a task that should have taken only a minute seemed to stretch out into the eternity that her Sunday school teacher had spoken of when she was little. She was not certain though if this was heaven or hell.

When she reached the top of his jeans, she tugged the cotton from the waistband. She hesitated when the final button sprang free. "Take it off, Claire," he provided the missing piece of the puzzle, her next instruction.

Her fingers slipped beneath the crisp material and her heart stuttered in her chest. Warmth and smoothness assailed her. She had spent so many nights over the last five years sleeping with her nose against His hairy chest. She had even nicknamed it her 'fuzzy pillow.'

But this was so fucking different that her brain was struggling to process it all. Young. Healthy. Virile. The words registered but seemed almost foreign somehow. Her fingers seemed disconnected from her brain as they disappeared further inside his shirt. They danced across firm muscles. They teased and toyed with him as she explored far more than was necessary to complete the simple task he had given her.

"Damn it, Claire. Stop it," he cursed as he drew in a ragged breath and shrugged his broad shoulders. The shirt slipped easily down his arms. He tugged on the sleeves and in a single motion tossed it like malodorous rubbish into a laundry basket several feet away.

He stood staring down at her for several long moments. For the first time she felt truly naked. Naked and exposed. It was not a pleasant feeling in that moment. Finally he stalked over to the glass enclosed shower. Opening the door, he turned the silver handle until water erupted and pulsated from the wide shower head. "Get. In."

Claire's feet bypassed her clouded brain until she came to stand beside him. "What about you? Didn't you want me to finish undressing you?" she stammered. She held her breath and waited.

He frowned at her for a long moment. His fingers caressed her collarbone and she closed her eyes. Ache and need that had been barely beneath the surface burst forward like the rising of the sun in the east. She arched her chest to meet his torturous touch. Her breasts jutted out in an open invitation that she was unaware she was even making.

Then she felt the tug at something around her neck. Her eyes opened to look up into his. They had become the coldest darkest grey storm clouds she had ever seen. All trace of the warm green was gone. Simply disappeared.

"Despite your obvious invitation, princess. I don't make love to another man's property. So as long as you wear this meaningless piece of metal, forget it." He pushed her under the water as if to cleanse her from the stench of a French brothel.

Warm water seemed freezing cold as the power of his words hit her like a lorry. "The least you can do is wash the stench of fags and beer from your body even if you won't wash the selfish bastard from your mind."

His fingers caressed her chin as he lifted her face to his. "Don't go making offers that you are not free to fulfill. Five years playing second fiddle to that bastard's ex-wife should have taught you that at least."

He closed the glass door and turned his back to her. "I'll wait for you in the bedroom."

The moment she heard the click of the door closing Claire collapsed to the shower floor. The warm shower spray mixed with her tears. She had cried a thousand times or more since that sunny summer morning. But not like this.

Her tears were not for the basically good but horribly flawed man that she had loved and was committed to for so long. No, this time her tears were for herself. For the pain of his denial that she herself had denied for so long. He was right, for five years she was the secondary in a polyamourous relationship which was one thing she never wanted to be. The truth was that he had used them both...her and his ex-wife. Played them against one another for his pleasure and ego.

Worse yet, the truth was she had let him. In her misguided desire to live up to the commitment she had made to him when she accepted his collar, she had allowed him to use her and abuse her trust. The hardest truth was that she had fulfilled a commitment to a piece of metal that did not mean the same thing to the man that put it on her neck as it meant to her. She had been a fool. For five years.

And she was going to be one again. She stood up and grabbed the loofah. She poured body wash on it and drank in the deep clean scent that had permeated the confines of the car. She scrubbed. Hard and long until her skin shone a rosy pink.

But He was right. She could not seem to wash him from her mind. She filled her palms with shampoo and ran them through her hair. She tugged at wet tangles as the lather seeped into her eyes. New tears sprang to her eyes, but it was neither the chemical burn of shampoo in her eyes or the pain of tangles that she seemed incapable of unweaving.

No, this pain was deeper. Soul deep. The pain that she had denied for too fucking long swamped her mind. She had known. She recognized the truth but had chosen to ignore it. It was why she had never ever tried to come between them. Never raised the issue of his denial, no matter how much it had hurt her. She had been a fool. An old fool as the saying goes.

Had it been worth it? He had not died alone. She had been with him until the end. She had held him and laughed with him. She had caressed and soothed his cooling body as his spirit careened onwards to whatever awaited. She hoped it was something good; that he would find courage and self-awareness in the next life that he had not in this one.

Because another truth was that he had died in the wrong woman's arms. His stubborn pride had kept him from admitting the truth...that he made a mistake when he divorced her. And that mistake had cause all of them pain. So much pain.

Was she going to make the same mistake? Was her pride going to keep her from admitting her mistake? She had knelt to the wrong man. The wrong men. She swallowed the foul tasting bile that rose in her throat at the thought. She looked at the closed door. The only man she had truly wanted for the past eight years was on the other side of that door. Closer than she had ever thought He would be. Closer than she deserved.

But sometimes you are lucky. Sometimes you got another chance in this fucked up world. Sometimes Fate gave you a second chance. Or a third. A hundredth. There was no telling how many you had. And that was the problem...you just never knew. Was she willing to run the risk of letting this one slip through her fingers? What if it was her last? Could she go as he had into whatever waited on the other side without knowing? Without ever tasting Him? Without ever knowing how it felt to love Him fully?

She turned the handle and the spray came to a sudden stop. She reached for a white towel from the stack of neatly folded ones on the metal shelf next to the shower. She wrapped it about her body like armour. She girded herself to face whatever came. Possible rejection tiptoed like steel toed boots through her mind as she opened the door.

He stood at the edge of the railing. His back was to her. Those broad shoulders seemed stooped a bit. She saw His knuckles were almost white where they gripped the wood.

She remembered His words. Naked. Though fear and insecurity raged in her mind, she dropped the towel. As vulnerable as she was, it felt right. It was all or nothing.

The walk across the room seemed like some scene from a bad sci-fi movie. An endless corridors with aliens or monsters around every corner stretched out before her as she faced and slayed the demons of a lifetime. In the end, she stood just behind Him.

"I'll take you back now, Claire," He said without turning around.

Tears swam in her eyes. Her heart stopped. She could not breathe. Let alone find the right words. She sank to her knees. Not to kneel as she had planned but simply because her legs gave way in defeat.

He turned around. She saw that His eyes were cloudy, but almost the pure green of grass after a spring rain. He shook His head slowly. "Forget it, Claire. I could have played meaningless games a thousand times over the years. They have never held any appeal to me." His thumb brushed her dripping wet hair back from her face. "And you are the last person on this planet or any other than I want meaningless games with."

She shook her head in denial, tried to find words that made any sense. For someone that made her living from them, they abandoned her when she needed them most. Her fingers reached out. She found the buckle on His belt and fumbled with it.

His fingers covered hers, "I said, STOP. I know that you need punishing. I know you need someone who can control you. Give you the pain and boundaries that you have been missing for too fucking long." He looked away. His voice broke as He finished, "But I can't be that man. I can't Dom you through this one, princess. I'm sorry."

"Take it off," she whispered.

He shook His head again. His face was a cold mask when He looked up again, "I said, NO, Claire. I can't. I won't," He protested.

"Not your clothes, James." He shook His head and opened His mouth. She continued before He could ask whatever question lay behind that look, "The collar. Take off the meaningless piece of metal as You call it." Her hand sought out His. "Free me."

Silence stretched between them. It filled every nook and cranny of His home. It was so loud that it drowned out even the sound of the surf crashing against the rocks. It hung like curtains, blacking out all light. The deepest darkest black hole that sucked at her very soul, until it threatened to consume all that she was. More than anyone else ever could. "Please," she begged.

He shook His head, "I told you to take it off, Claire."

She looked at the white carpet, wanted to sink into its woolen warmth. Simply disappear. Her voice was a mere whisper, "I can't."

His fingers lifted the locket, caressed it. Or perhaps He was trying to crush it, His face was so dark, His concentration so deep. He tugged at it. Then shook His head, "It isn't that hard, Claire. You can just fucking slip it over your head. If you want it off, take the damned thing off yourself."

Claire hesitated. Words abandoned her again. How could she explain it to Him? How could she make Him understand something that she was not sure she fully understood herself? But she had to try.

"I don't mean 'can't' like that, James." She struggled past the lump that rose in her throat, "I can't because it is not a sub's place to do such things."

"What? What the fuck do you mean, Claire?" He demanded.

"A collar is for life," she tried to explain.

"Yeah so you told me years ago, Claire. You did it. Your stubbornness won. You were his good little slave. You stuck by the bastard no matter what he dished out. So what now? You think you have to keep doing it until you die too?" He snarled.

She shook her head, "No. I know you are right. What you said...about it being meaningless. At least to him anyway. Well, maybe not meaningless, but it certainly did not mean the same thing to him that it did to me," she looked up at Him. "I'm not making any sense, am I?"

He chuckled, "No, no, you aren't. If it is so meaningless, why can't you?"

She frowned and sought words that would not come. She shrugged, "I know it is silly but only a Dom should remove a collar."

"Fuck," He cursed so violently that the rafters seemed to actually shake. He paced the room for several long minutes until she feared He would wear holes in the carpet. He stopped suddenly just in front of her, "Did he know that, Claire? Did he know that you would not take it off yourself?"

The explosive way that the words burst from His mouth frightened her a bit. But she could not deny Him the truth. She nodded slowly, "Yes, he knew," she whispered.

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