Authors: Rachel Clark
“It’s okay, baby girl,” Bradley says as I release a shuddering breath. “I’m going to put you in a cool bath as soon as we can find an empty private room.”
I get the impression that was also a type of question to Ryan, because he shifts slightly and says, “Bookings are all computerized now.”
Bradley moves toward the desk, taps a few buttons, and asks, “Password?”
I feel Ryan’s agitation, and it seems he might want to get up and type it in himself. I wriggle slightly in an attempt to move away from him, but his arms tighten around me and he presses my head to his chest, his large, warm hand splayed over the side of my face, keeping me safe, keeping me close, stirring emotions I don’t understand.
“Melody19—all lowercase,” he says quietly.
My name and the age I was when I gave him my virginity.
Fuck. All these years I thought that I’d been nothing special, just one of many. Is it possible that our fumbled, awkward coupling so long ago was as memorable to him as it was to me?
I want to look at Bradley. I want to see his face. I want to apologize for loving his brother as much as I love him, but Ryan holds me trapped as some sort of silent communication passes between them.
It takes a few moments for Bradley to access the file he needs, but it’s not until he comes back and places a soft blanket over me that I realize I’m shivering. “Room five is empty,” Bradley says as he heads to the door. He goes out and closes it behind him before I can even think to try and stop him from leaving.
“I’m sorry, Sir,” I say reflexively, not even certain what I’m apologizing for.
“It’s okay, little sub,” Ryan says in a quiet voice. “Please promise me that you’ll never put yourself at risk like that again.”
“Risk?” I ask because I truly don’t understand. Does he mean the risk of coming to a club like this by myself?
“When I first put you over my lap you couldn’t breathe, yet you didn’t use your safe word. You didn’t try to wriggle into a better position. You didn’t give me any indication that something was wrong. You put yourself at risk because you didn’t tell.”
I want to disagree with him. At the time I’d been breathless with excitement, rather than unable to breathe, but I can feel a tremble in his arms that isn’t just the echo of mine. Whatever happened scared the hell out of him. Considering the topic of conversation beforehand, I’m beginning to realize that the harsh spanking had more to do with his need than my punishment.
From what he said earlier, he owns this club, and if he’s still the protective type of guy he was growing up, then it’s a good chance that he feels responsible for what happened to the sub who had a heart attack. I just hope he’s worked it out of his system. I don’t think I ever want to live through another punishment like that one.
“I’m sorry, Ry,” I say, hoping that by apologizing I make him feel better. “I promise to always speak up if something is wrong.”
“Thank you, Mel,” he says, pulling me closer and pressing a fierce kiss to the top of my head. I get the impression he wants to apologize—I know him well enough to sense his disquiet—but I don’t want him to say anything. He needs this as much as I do. And, considering the fact that I’m still cuddled up to him, still trust him to keep me safe, and still love him as much as I love Bradley, I’d say my questions have been answered.
If I didn’t run from this life after that sort of experience, I guess that means I belong here.
* * * *
Bradley was grateful for the chance to take a few quiet moments alone. When he’d gotten Ryan’s phone call he’d almost believed it a practical joke. It was only the fact that Ryan would never joke about something so serious that had convinced him that Melody had indeed wandered into Ryan’s fetish club.
He checked the room over quickly, pleased to see that the specialist cleaning crew Ryan had on retainer still did an excellent job, and then headed into the bathroom. Room five was often used for medical fetishes, but as well as the medical examination table, various lamps, and other medical-looking props it also had a variety of spanking benches, a St. Andrews cross, and a fully stocked cupboard of adult toys. Most were single use and disposable, but there were some more expensive items available also.
Most Doms preferred to bring their own equipment, but it was good to have a variety of things handy. It was also quite a lucrative income earner. Bradley could still see his brother’s face five years ago when he’d suggested setting up a toy cupboard with the same type of rules as a minibar in a hotel.
It had become quite popular, with both subs and Doms suggesting additional items they could stock. Ryan’s receptionist took great delight in finding and sourcing new and interesting toys for the members to try. They weren’t cheap by any means, but since the members of this club paid a small fortune to be members, money wasn’t much of an issue for most of them.
Bradley moved past the cupboard without opening it. He’d lost count of the number of fantasies that he’d had of bringing Melody to one of these rooms, but the reality was far more complicated. A part of him had known all along that Melody still had deep feelings for his brother, but he’d foolishly tried to dismiss them as just friendship. They’d all known each other for such a long time that it was natural she’d still care for Ryan, yet having watched them together through one of the harshest spankings he’d ever seen Ryan give, it was obvious they were made for each other. The fact that Melody wasn’t running for the door suggested that she understood exactly where Ryan’s punishment had come from.
Even without experience as a submissive, Melody knew Ryan well enough to give him what he needed. She’d never once looked like she might cry “halt” to her first spanking.
Bradley put the plug in the large bath and turned the cold tap on full blast. It wouldn’t be very comfortable to sit in for long—even with the heat wave they were having—but it would help take the sting out of Melody’s sore bottom.
He stared at the cold water as it swirled into a whirlpool and wondered how his life had changed so goddamn quickly.
“Bath’s ready,” Bradley says as he comes back into the room. Ryan moves as if to hand me to my fiancé, but nothing happens. I can’t see the silent exchange between the brothers, but I can feel the tension in Ryan’s muscles as he presses my head against his chest and lifts onto his feet. Whatever was said without words has left him almost as tense as he’d been moments before he spanked me.
I’m not sure I can handle another go-round just now.
I can’t hold back the whimper, not just at the thought of another spanking but at the feeling that I’m causing a problem between Bradley and Ryan.
“It’s okay, Mel,” Bradley says as he steps close enough to place his warm hand at the base of my spine. Even through the thick blanket cocooning me I recognize his touch. “We’ll work something out.”
I nod a moment before Ryan steps into the hallway and carries me toward the bath. Thank god, Bradley comes with us. We need to talk. I need to explain. I want to understand why they didn’t tell me. There is so much that I want to know, need to know.
The cold water is a shock. Gasping for air, I shiver violently even as it soothes my inflamed skin. I have no experience with a spanking like this—well, with any spankings, really—but I suspect I will feel this one every time I sit down for several days to come.
Slowly my body acclimatizes to the temperature and I kneel—no way am I sitting—more comfortably. Ryan, arms crossed, leans against the vanity while Bradley kneels beside the bath and touches my face with his warm fingers.
“We need to talk.”
I want to say “no, shit,” but even though it would be my usual response it doesn’t feel appropriate to the circumstances. I nod instead.
“I misread your need,” he says sadly. “I can’t tell you how sorry I am. Can you ever forgive me?”
“You want me to forgive you?” I ask in shock.
“If I’d been a better Dom, I would have noticed and shown you this life a long time ago.”
I shake my head, denying his assumptions. “I hid it”—I glance at Ryan, who seems to be grinding his teeth—“really well. I should have said something, but I was…well, I was too embarrassed.”
“I’m so sorry that I made you feel that you had to hide it.”
“What about you?” I ask, wanting to curl into his embrace but currently too wet, too cold, and, ironically, too comfortable to do it just yet. “You’ve been hiding your needs, too.” And then, because I’m no longer certain of anything anymore, I add, “Weren’t you?”
“I was, and I’m sorry for that, too,” Bradley says, obviously willing to carry the weight of blame for every mistake we’ve both made.
Ryan moves, and I glance over in time to see him roll his eyes.
“Enough with the apologies,” he says impatiently. “You were both wrong. Build a bridge, get over it.”
I smile at Ryan’s typical response to touchy-feely emotions. He’s never been comfortable expressing his feelings in a verbal way. Judging by the fact that he owns a BDSM club, I’m starting to realize he has another outlet for his emotions.
Thankfully, Bradley doesn’t take offense at having our mutual apologizing session cut short.
“Done,” Bradley says with a wink in my direction. “Now what?”
“What do you mean?” Ryan asks, very clearly irritated. “The solution is simple. Train your sub, and then the two of you can live happily ever after.” He straightens up, moves away from the sink, and heads out the bathroom door. “See you at the wedding,” he says in a very clear indication that he considers that the end of his involvement.
Bradley must see the worry in my eyes because he leans forward, presses a kiss to my lips, and whispers that he loves me a moment before getting to his feet and following his brother out the door.
“Ry,” he calls from the doorway. Judging by the thump of the door closing it would seem that Ryan made it all the way to the outer door before Bradley called him back.
“What?” I hear Ryan ask in that impatient tone he seems to have developed in the past five minutes.
“I need your help. I’ve never trained a sub before.”
My heart nearly stops beating as I wait for Ryan’s response. I’m not sure what Bradley’s plan is, but I’m really glad that he’s refusing to let his brother walk away. After the experiences the three of us have shared in the past hour or so, I’m seeing myself in a whole new light. They’ve been my best friends my entire life. I can’t let either of them walk away. I’m not sure where this is heading—and I can see disaster at the end if things don’t work out—but I think the three of us need to see it through. Something is happening that seems bigger than us all.
And selfish, horrible woman that I am, I want a chance to keep them both.
* * * *
Ryan tried to deny the need that pounded through him. Melody belonged to his brother. He couldn’t help with her training and stay sane. It was hard enough to walk away right now when his instincts were screaming at him to claim the woman as his own. Fuck, he wouldn’t hurt his brother like that. Ryan had never seen Bradley happier than when Melody had agreed to marry him.
Losing her would devastate him.
“Doug trains the subs in this club. Ask him.”
“I would,” Bradley said with a shrug that looked far too casual to be natural, “but I heard that he quit training now that he has a wife of his own.”
Ryan could feel dread pounding through him. He hadn’t been eager to hand over the woman he loved to be trained by someone else, but he at least trusted Doug. He quickly ran through the list in his head of unattached Doms and just as quickly discarded them all. After the incident with Robert he wasn’t willing to trust his judgment at the moment.
“You’re the only one available,” Bradley said seriously. “And the only one I trust.”
Ryan nodded, swallowing painfully as he tried not to think about abusing that trust. He loved Melody, had loved her most of his life.
“Take your fiancée home. Draw up a training contract and meet me back here in two weeks.”
Bradley smiled, shook his hand, and then headed back to join Melody in the bathroom.
Ryan shook his head as he watched Bradley help Melody out of the bath. Training his brother’s fiancée was going to be the second-hardest thing he would ever have to do.
But letting her go was going to be harder…much, much harder.
I’m so nervous I’m nearly bouncing out of my skin. For the past two weeks, Bradley and I have discussed everything about the BDSM lifestyle that I ever wanted to know. It’s been so wonderful to have someone who can answer my questions and make me feel comfortable enough to ask them in the first place.
I can’t believe I spent so much time hiding myself and my needs from such a wonderful man.
I’ve also spent two weeks worrying about Ryan. It’s such a relief to know that in only a few moments I’ll be able to see him again. But when he comes into his office, he’s all business. He doesn’t acknowledge my presence at all. He doesn’t make eye contact. He doesn’t even look at the lacy corset and skimpy panties that Bradley insisted I wear or even comment on the fact that I am kneeling at my fiancé’s feet in the pose Ryan insisted upon last time. All he does is reach for the contract that Bradley and I have spent hours discussing and writing.