tagBDSMRaw Ch. 12

Raw Ch. 12

bysecretsxywriter©

It has been an amazing journey from the first stand-alone short story to what has blossomed into eleven more chapters of adventures. Never had I thought it would come this far for Becca. Thank you, to all of my readers who have been loyal along the way, encouraging me to continue when I was ready to give up for fear that the story would become cliché in the realm of BDSM. I hope that the ending has done the characters and the series justice.

I would like to extend an immense thank you to EGRI for your impromptu and continuing advice and support on the series. I treasure your friendship, although it's just through cyberspace. I can't thank you enough.

SSW


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Nothing but the hand of God allowed me to hold in my anger as Malcolm guided me across the floor of Master Jesse Pratt's dungeon-slash-basement.

"Lady Becca, how good of you to join us." Jesse stepped down from the stage and took both of my hands in his. He raised them to his lips. "I hope you slept well."

He squeezed my hands tighter as he lifted his eyes to mine. For the briefest moment, he held me in his trance. I couldn't breathe. Or think. And I couldn't stop the shivers that raced up my back when the tip of his tongue darted out to lick my skin.

The corner of his mouth turned up as he lowered our hands, although he did not release his hold. God, how the man repulsed me. And yet, he still managed to spellbind me at the same time.

"Bonjour, Beeca! Veuillez m'excuser. Je suis assez indisposé."

As much as I hated to say it, I had never been more thankful in my life for Juliet. I don't know what the hell she'd said, but it distracted Jesse enough that I could pull my hands free. I sidled closer to Malcolm, mad as I was at him, too.

That's when I noticed—with a bit of relief—that Juliet was wearing nude underwear, much like she had the night of the dungeon party I'd been to in December. She was grinning at us. Or at Malcolm at least.

"Lady Juliet asks us to please excuse her for not coming to greet you," Jesse said, although I hadn't requested a translation. "Come, I have been showing Master Malcolm the basics of suspension. He has informed me that you were quite interested in the demonstration at the convention, no?"

"We agreed to look into it," Malcolm said, rubbing my back lightly. "If Becca decides—"

Jesse's hard glance silenced my fiancé, much to my amazement. Before Malcolm could react, Jesse waved his hand at Juliet and the suspension rig. "Let us not delay. While Lady Juliet is a good sport, I prefer not to leave her hanging for too much longer."

I clenched my teeth as Jesse once again acted as if nothing had happened between us a few minutes prior, not to mention a few months ago. I wanted to smack him. To put him in his place once and for all. But I knew it was better not to. Not here like this. Not before I could confront Malcolm. So I bit my cheek and concentrated on breathing normally.

For the next twenty minutes, I managed to stand without crossing my arms or saying a word while Jesse showed me the finer points of rope bondage and suspension. Or rather, he noted how he and Malcolm had previously bound Juliet, and demonstrated the use of several different positions. The latter was done without any decorum for us ladies present. Then again, I wouldn't necessarily qualify Juliet as a lady, unless it was a lady of the night.

Juliet startled me by speaking up at one point, offering a few words of advice—in her vampirish accent—on how to control breathing and to think away any pain. I'd actually forgotten she was there, my focus primarily on keeping as far away from Jesse as possible while still trying to appear that I was listening and taking mental notes. I'd jumped and shrieked which earned me a glare from Jesse and raised eyebrows from Malcolm.

When Jesse deemed the lesson complete, I forced back the desire to scowl as I watched both him and Malcolm lower Juliet from the scaffolding and then release her from the ropes. Juliet's eyes never left my fiancé, and she licked her lips at least twice when his hands brushed against her while untying a section of rope. If I'd ever seen a cat that was eyeing its prey...

Jesse retrieved a silk robe from a table on the stage and covered Juliet, loosely concealing the multitude of red marks circling her body. He walked her to the edge of the stage where Malcolm was standing instead of leading her to the aftercare room. It puzzled me, especially after how long I'd witnessed her being suspended. Then again, maybe Jesse didn't believe that slaves always required aftercare. Maybe the room was more for show. As was this whole morning's display, I deduced.

"Thank you, Juliet, for your assistance," Malcolm said, offering her a hand as she stepped down from the stage. "It was very informative."

"Vous êtes toujours bienvenue, mon chéri." She was smiling widely as she opened the sides of the robe, revealing her practically naked body to him before she rewrapped the material around her and tied it off with the attached sash. "Alwayz weelcome, mon chéri."

Malcolm's cheeks colored slightly. I felt like I was going to gag.

Jesse offered me his hand to assist me as well, but I pursed my lips and walked past him.

He was apparently undaunted by my act of defiance as he pressed his hand to my back in an attempt to support me should I need it on my descent down the two meager steps. "Please, stay for lunch with us. We can make our plans for Paris. We have much to talk about."

I scooted away from him and cleared my throat. Malcolm's eyes darted over to me. His forehead creased in question when I gave him a minute shake of the head.

"Thank you for the invitation," Malcolm said slowly, "but, uh, I think we should be on our way."

I could sense Jesse's lingering gaze on me, although I could not see him. Why did it feel like I'd just walked through a spider's web? And I needed a scalding hot shower?

After a moment, Jesse said, "As you wish. Please, after you."

Malcolm led the way upstairs, and I managed to get in between him and Juliet. When were all on the ground level, I spied my purse on the kitchen counter. I snatched it up, resisting the desire to open it and sift through the contents. Jesse had just better pray that nothing was missing.

While we waited for a cab to respond to our phone call, I stared out the window at the silent street. I listened to the three of them exchange goodbyes behind me in both English and French. There were at least two more reminders to let Jesse and Juliet know when we could talk about Paris.

I closed my eyes briefly. Would this day never end?

When I finally spied the cab pulling up outside, I flung open the front door with a little too much strength. It banged against the wall of the foyer, but I didn't care. I was already off the porch and halfway down the sidewalk, my heels clicking against the large paving stones in a sharp staccato, when I heard the door close. Another set of shoes scuffled down the steps and hurried after me.

"Becca, wait!"

I spun around and pointed my index finger at Malcolm. "Not. One. Fucking. Word."

He stopped short, blinking at me.

"Listen to me, and listen to me good. You would be wise to not speak until we get home."

He closed his mouth and gave me a slight nod before I continued on the path to the getaway vehicle.

I refused to let him help me into the backseat. I stared out the window the entire ride, my breathing fast and sharp as I crossed my arms, my thoughts a swirling frenzy in my head. I hoped he was worried.

I opened the door and jumped out as soon as the car stopped at the curb by my brownstone, leaving him to pay the fare. I heard the front door shut behind me as I continued on a path upstairs. If I was going to let him have it, I wasn't going to be half-naked so he'd have easy access to use his amazing cock to distract me from my thoughts. There would be no fucking on the hallway floor today. That would only deaden the significance of this, our first major fight.

Because there would be a fight. That I was certain. How we would both come out of it afterwards...

He did not follow me. I half listened to hear if the door opened and shut again—signaling he was escaping before whatever storm that was brewing erupted. The other half of my brain wondered what he was thinking as I layered on panties, bra, socks, jeans, and a sweater.

It occurred to me that I was not acting rationally. I should be talking out the problem with the man I had agreed to marry. This was not even close to the cool and calculated person I used to be in times of stress. Funny how I'd used those same two words to describe Brian Hughes at one time. And he was a maniac. I let out a soft snort. Maybe Malcolm should have committed me when he'd had the chance.

I was determined not to go easy on him. He needed to know what was wrong and why. It would do neither of us any good if I were humble. I had to lock up the submissive for the time being.

Feeling much more assertive—as if covering the whole of my body was the source of my courage, opposed to the way I felt I bared my soul to him whenever I left skin showing—I walked out of the bedroom and went in search of Malcolm. I found him in the living room staring out at the backyard through the open patio door. He had his hands in his front pockets from the way his elbows stuck out at his sides. The early spring breeze tousled his hair.

The vision before me reminded me of being at the beach. Of how relaxed he always looked. In his element. I wanted to wrap my arms around him. To press my cheek—

No. I couldn't think like that. It would make me soft.

I fisted my hands at my side and proceeded toward him. I was halfway across the room when a board creaked under my feet. He turned.

All of the tension in me—every angry word—started to slip away with one look of his glossy eyes. His wet cheeks. The trembling of his mouth.

I stumbled back and bumped into the arm of the couch, a cry catching at the back of my throat. My chest hurt as his gaze pierced right through me.

"I'm sorry."

I blinked several times. His voice had been soft, but I'd still heard it. I just didn't believe it. "What?"

"I'm sorry." He took a step toward me. "I don't want to fight with you."

I sunk down to the cushion as he stared at me. I saw his shoulders rise and fall. He took another step forward. I scooted back until I could go no further.

"Tell me how to fix it." His words came out as a sob. He didn't try to wipe the tears from his face. "I love you, Becca. Please, talk to me."

Of all the things I'd wanted to say to him, the two words that came out were, "It's hard."

"I know."

I cowered in the corner of the couch now, my knees pulled up to my chin. "He's your friend."

That made him pause. His forehead creased for a moment, his eyes moving erratically from side to side. Suddenly they locked on mine. "Jesse?"

I nodded.

"What do you mean?" His jaw twitched. His hands started to fist. Then he relaxed his fingers and shook them out.

It had been my intention to spout off at Malcolm the moment I had noticed Jesse leering at me from the bedroom door this morning. I had not intentionally gone to that man's house. I had not put myself in that position.

But apparently, my conscious decided to kick in right then. Reminding me that this wasn't Malcolm's fault. It was mine for keeping my mouth shut for so long. I had no right to be angry with him for not knowing the truth.

He seemed to be steeling himself for whatever would come next through deep breaths. In through his nose, out through his mouth. He'd used the same method to calm me down on many occasions. But right now, he sounded a bit like a bull impatiently waiting to charge. It did not lessen the apprehension that had settled within me.

My lower lip trembled. Where had my bravado gone? What had happened to not being meek?

Finally, he said, "Okay. Tell me as best as you can." His voice was low and even. A controlled anger, but probably just barely.

I closed my eyes. I wanted to redo that night in December. To have walked out of that house after the first insult. I should have gone right to Malcolm and told him what a self-righteous prick his so-called longtime friend really was. To hell with the consequences.

"Becca? Please?"

My eyelids fluttered open. He was still standing over me. I could only stare at his abdomen as it moved with his labored breathing against his dress shirt. He had started to crumble before, but he had returned to be an imposing brick wall of power. It was a characteristic I normally revered but suddenly feared.

"You will tell me. Now!"

I flinched and lowered my eyes to his knees at the sudden sternness in his voice. "It was at his party last winter. The one Daphne took me to." I cringed as I realized I made it sound as if there were another party of Jesse's I'd been to. Way to go, Becca, for making this more difficult than necessary.

The couch shifted slightly as Malcolm sat down. He did not pick up—or at least comment aloud—on my faux pas. In fact, he was completely silent, which I took as a cue to keep going.

"It was after the show." I picked at a rip in the fabric of the cushion I was sitting on. "He wanted to show me the aftercare room. We were just talking. But he offended me. Told me I wasn't truly a submissive. Insinuated that it was a result of poor instruction, which implied that you were a poor Dominant. Honestly, I don't think any category exists to him but Master and slave. If you don't fit into those two roles, you have no business claiming that you're kinky. Yet, he kept saying I was beautiful and he would love to train me."

Malcolm made some kind of noise between a grunt and a growl.

I closed my eyes, reliving the guilt all over again. "He made me feel trapped. Confused. He was insulting me and complimenting me in the same breath. I couldn't move. I couldn't speak." A lump formed in my throat. I thought that I would feel relief for finally getting this off my chest. I wished there was something I could do to dispel the memories of what had gone down that dreadful night. Talking about it now definitely did not help.

"Continue."

With a gulp, I obeyed Malcolm. "Daphne came looking for me. One minute, Jesse was pinning me against the side of the couch, telling me he wanted to show me how to get in touch with my inner submissive. The next, he was across the room acting as if nothing had happened. Then we left."

"I see."

I turned to face Malcolm, clutching my knees closer to my chest. "No, you don't. I've gone over that night more times than I can count. Did I say something—do something—to lead him on? I didn't tell him to stop. But I didn't say yes, either."

He nodded his head. He was staring at the middle couch cushion, his hands clasped in his lap.

A little bit of my heart broke right then. He wouldn't look at me. He wouldn't comfort me. I'd never felt so ashamed. So alone.

"We went to Canada and I learned who Juliet really was to you. That Jesse had given up his tickets for us to attend the convention. I thought I'd judged him too harshly. Maybe it was his way of apologizing for being an ass."

"Hmm."

"I couldn't find the right time to tell you that Juliet was with Jesse now. I wondered if it even mattered."

"Then they both showed up just before the blizzard."

I nodded, even if he couldn't see me.

"Did he...?"

I rested my forehead on my knees. "He tried. When you were with Juliet. I had wanted to know what you were talking about. Why I wasn't included. He wouldn't let me see you. He suggested we go play in our dungeon. So I locked myself in my office to get away from him. When they were gone again, I buried it all. I'm sorry." The last two words came out as a sob. How had this turned upside down so quickly? I was supposed to be mad at him. He had been the one apologizing before I'd even said a word. Now, I was the one in tears.

His sigh was shaky. When I raised my head, he was looking across the room. "I'm glad you told me."

There was an unspoken "finally" in the air. Or maybe that was just what I was thinking. I worried my bottom lip. After several minutes of silence, I knew I couldn't let the topic just drop.

"What happened last night?" I barely heard the words coming out of my mouth.

He laugh sounded feeble as he shook his head. "I got a text that they were back for a short trip and wanted to know when we could hook up. I told them we were already in the city. Jesse said to stop by after we left the club. I didn't think you'd mind. You were almost out by the time we got there. He offered the use one of his guest rooms so you could rest and not be disturbed. The three of us stayed up and talked most of the night."

I didn't really want to continue, but I needed to know. "And this morning?"

He ran his hand through his hair and sighed. He seemed to be thinking about something, but finally, he said, "Jesse suggested we test out the suspension grid he made. You were still sleeping, so I figured a little practice wouldn't hurt in case we decided to get one for ourselves."

"Did you check on me at all?"

His head whipped around to face me. "Of course I did! Twice last night. You looked so peaceful. I didn't think it was necessary to wake you to take you across town just so you could go back to sleep."

I waited a five-count before I asked my next question, my voice low. "Did you take off my dress?"

"No, I did not." His eyes narrowed with each slowly spoken word. "You were still wearing it around two this morning."

I swallowed heavily. "Please tell me that he did not take off my dress and pretend to have walked in on me just as I woke up."

His jaw clenched as he sat upright. "If he—"

My stomach churned. "I don't think he did anything but look. But it was enough to creep me out."

Malcolm suddenly pulled me into his embrace.

I buried my face against his chest, fighting down the bile at the back of my throat.

He kept repeating, "I'm so sorry."

"It's my fault that I didn't tell you sooner." I hugged him tighter. "If I'd only—"

"Stop it. He's the only one to blame."

I sat up a little. "But if you'd known..."

"Shh. It's over now." He held my head to his shoulder and rocked me.

After several minutes, I mumbled, "I guess the trip to Paris is out, huh?"

He groaned. "You were seriously considering that?"

"Hell no. At least not with them in tow."

We sat there, not speaking, just breathing. Just...being. I had adjusted to sitting with my back against his chest, my head resting on his arm that he had looped around my shoulders and neck. Outside, I could hear life going on around us: traffic passing; horns honking; birds tweeting; a dog barking; a plane roaring overhead. All oblivious to the troubles unraveling in my living room.

I was trying to formulate a question so that it didn't sound accusatory when he broke the silence first.

"He lied to me."

I tilted my head back to look up at him. "Jesse?"

"Hmm." Malcolm pressed his lips to my head and sighed. It was another long minute before he continued. "He lied several times. And I believed him."

I nodded even though I was lost.

His other arm wrapped around me, and his hold tightened almost painfully for a moment. "I was so stupid. I know him. He's a manipulator. I just never thought he'd do it to me."

Had he considered that we were talking about his "good friend" who had knowingly hooked up with the woman who'd attempted to sexually assaulted Malcolm years ago? The same woman the "good friend" had diverted Malcolm's attention from to introduce him to the lifestyle? Or was that what he was referring to?

I bit my tongue when I wondered how much silence I should allow before I broached my next question. I knew it was selfish of me. I'd dealt Malcolm a devastating blow. He was hurting.

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