Authors: Sherri Hayes
A woman greeted us and asked if she could help us find anything, but Master said no. Instead, he pulled me farther into the store and took several items off the racks before ushering me to the dressing rooms. Turning toward me, he put the items in my hands and told me to go try them on one at a time and then come out and show him.
I felt a little awkward, but I rationalized that it really was no different than what I did every day. It wasn’t like he was watching me dress or anything. Then the thought crossed my mind that that didn’t really matter either. My Master had seen all of me.
Okay, well maybe not all of me, but enough.
Getting out of my clothes, I selected the first outfit. It was a fitted pair of jeans that sat low on my hips and a rust-colored shirt that dipped a little lower than I would ever pick for myself. It showed my cleavage, but not overly so, and the hem ended about an inch above the waist of my pants. With a look in the mirror at myself and a deep breath, I walked out of the dressing room so that he could see me.
He’d been looking at a magazine when I stepped out, but quickly his eyes rose and skimmed over me. I felt instantly uncomfortable. There was something in his eyes that was almost predatory.
With practiced grace, he stood and walked toward me, only adding to my nerves. Silently, he walked slowly around me like a cat stalking its prey. I felt my panic rising.
Then I felt his breath caress my ear as he whispered, “Number?”
What number? It was hard to get my brain to think, but I tried and settled on a five again.
I closed my eyes and tried to answer honestly. “I’m afraid.”
“Of?” he prompted.
The next words were so hard, but I was determined not to lie to him as he’d asked. “You,” I squeaked out.
He was still behind me, hovering over my shoulder with his mouth so close to my ear I could feel every breath he took. “Why?”
How could I explain to him my fears when I wasn’t sure I understood them myself? Our entire conversation was done in whispers. The shop was empty except for the lady who had welcomed us, and she was on the other side of the store. So I just simply said, “I’m afraid you’ll . . . touch me.”
His response did not come right away, like he was thinking about how to answer me, but then, “Do you not like it when I touch you?”
I closed my eyes. This was one of the confusing parts because, yes, I did.
My breathing was unsteady, coming in short pants. His hands came up, rubbing up and down the sides of my arms as he spoke the next words. “I will not have sex with you until you ask me to, if that is what has you worried.”
What? He wouldn’t . . . Why?
And before I could stop it, I heard myself utter, “Why?”
Within seconds, he was in front of me. His hand came up to grip the back of my neck more aggressively than he’d ever touched me, angling it until I had no choice but to look at him. “I want you, Brianna, don’t doubt that,” he said in a voice that made me shiver. “But you will give yourself to me willingly. If I have you, I want all of you.”
Suddenly, he released his hold on me and took a step back. His grip had been so strong that I still felt it even after it was gone.
The look in his eyes was full of hunger, and in that moment I had no doubt that he wanted me just as he said he did. That knowledge made me nervous, but for some reason not as much as I thought it would. My heart was pounding hard against my chest as he continued to stare.
Then suddenly, the spell was broken. He turned, retook his seat, and picked up the magazine. Without looking at me again, he said, “I like that one. Go try on another.”
As quickly as I could, I fled back to the safety of the dressing room to change.
I sat perfectly still as she turned and almost tripped on her way back into the dressing room. It wasn’t until she’d disappeared that I allowed myself to breathe again.
What in the world had I been thinking, declaring myself like that?
When Brianna came out wearing that deceptively innocent outfit, something inside me clicked and took over. Millions of other women her age wore similar clothing every day, but on Brianna it looked like the most provocative outfit I’d ever seen.
The jeans hugged her curves perfectly, leaving my fingers itching to grab a hold of her hips and wrap her legs around my waist. And that top . . . I groaned just thinking about it again. It was chaste, really. Everything that should be covered was, but there was just a hint of cleavage showing, not to mention that narrow strip of skin left visible.
Clenching my eyes shut, I ordered myself to calm down. Sitting here remembering and thinking about what I wanted to do to her was pointless. Her reaction just a few minutes ago proved that. I just hoped my stupid words didn’t destroy the trust we’d built.
Everything I’d told her was true. I wouldn’t touch her until she asked me to. That didn’t mean telling her that in the middle of the local mall had been the most brilliant decision of my life.
I was so distracted by my thoughts, I only vaguely registered that another couple had entered the store. It wasn’t until they came close to the dressing room where I was waiting for Brianna that they completely drew my attention.
“Come on, baby. Try it on for me. Please?”
“I don’t know if I should,” the woman replied back flirtatiously.
“What do I have to do? Do you want me to beg? I will you know.”
I could see them now out of the corner of my eye. They were standing at the entrance to the fitting room, and their volume didn’t provide for a private conversation. Either they didn’t care or they were totally oblivious to my presence.
“Hm. Begging sounds good,” the woman said, wrapping her arms around the man’s neck with obvious amusement. “Beg me,” she said with a little more force.
I was ready to completely dismiss this game they were obviously playing and go back to my magazine when I heard a small noise come from inside the fitting room. I was up and out of my seat before I even thought about it.
I found a row of six doors behind the curtain, but only one of them was closed. The closer I got, the louder the sound I’d originally heard became. I tried the doorknob, but it was locked.
Just as I was considering my options, the sales lady came in waving her arms around, telling me I wasn’t allowed back here. Completely ignoring her protests, I easily removed the key ring hanging from her wrist and began looking for the one that would fit the lock and get me through the door.
The woman was still yelling at me and had been joined by the couple that had been standing outside, but I kept my focus on the task in front of me.
Finally, after trying the third key, I felt the lock turn and the door gave. Brianna was naked from the waist up, huddled in the corner on the floor, whimpering. Without a thought to anyone other than her, I crossed the small room, grabbed the nearest shirt, and knelt in front of her. I reached out with the garment in my hand to try and cover her naked torso, but she flinched away from me and her volume increased.
“Please,” she gasped. “Please don’t hurt me. Please.”
Tears were running down her cheeks in a steady stream, and she had a blank look on her face. I knew she wasn’t here. She didn’t know it was me in front of her.
I threw down the shirt and tried once again to touch her, this time going for her face. Again, she flinched but not nearly as much as before. Brianna was still whimpering, but she let me raise her chin.
“Brianna, look at me. It’s Stephan. You’re here with me and you’re safe. You’re safe,” I said, then repeated myself with more force. “You’re safe.” Slowly, I saw recognition register in her eyes and felt her pulse begin to slow back down.
“Is she all right?” I heard someone behind me ask.
That was a loaded question. Instead of answering, I kept my focus on Brianna and asked, “Maybe we could get a glass of water?”
The sales woman quickly disappeared, which left only the couple. They were watching us closely. My hands were still cradling Brianna’s face, but she’d lowered her head when my grip had slackened and was now looking at the floor.
Ignoring our audience, I leaned in, placing my mouth an inch above her ear where our observers could not see my lips and asked, “Are you okay, love?” Brianna was the only one that mattered to me at the moment.
She nodded, and I let my lips graze her hair as I pulled her closer to me. “Are you able to put your shirt on for me?” Brianna nodded again, and I pulled back enough to hand her the shirt. She took it without hesitation and only fumbled a little as she put it on.
Just then, the sales lady pushed her way through and handed me a small cup full of water.
“Thank-you,” I said to her before turning my total attention back to Brianna.
Her hands were resting flat on her thighs. I reached down and one by one placed her hands around the cup. “Drink,” I ordered softly.
Obediently she raised the plastic to her lips and began to drink. Satisfied that she wasn’t about to fall apart on me for the first time since entering the small room, I turned completely to our audience. “Thank-you for your assistance, but if you don’t mind we’d like a few minutes alone.”
To their credit, the couple seemed a little embarrassed as they pulled themselves away and disappeared from the dressing area.
The store employee hesitated a few seconds, but finally said, “Of course.”
I turned back to Brianna and watched as she drained the cup before laying it as an offering at her feet. I picked up the now empty container and put it up on the bench behind me so that it was out of the way. With a slight shift in position, I was kneeling in front of her with our knees almost touching.
Brianna had once more placed her hands in her lap, but I noticed her pressing her lips together, alerting me to her nervousness.
“Tell me what you’re thinking.”
She remained silent.
“Brianna,” I said in a firm voice to let her know that I expected an answer.
“Will you take my books away again, Master?” she whispered.
Take away her books? What was she talking about? “Do you think I should take your books away again?” I asked, wanting to hear her answer.
“Please, anything but my books, Master. Punish me however you want, just . . . just please don’t . . .” I heard a choking sob and although I couldn’t see her face at the moment, I knew she was crying again.
Reaching out to her, I pulled her head into my chest. This was not a conversation I wanted to be having in the middle of a store or out in public, for that matter. I gently stroked her hair in the way she liked until I felt her calm.
“Are you able to walk?” I asked.
She nodded and whispered, “Yes, Master.”
I pulled back and helped her to stand. Lifting her chin, my eyes met hers. “We will discuss this at home.”
She nodded and cast her eyes down.
Walking back out into the store I kept my hand in hers. The sales woman met us almost immediately, as I’m sure she’d been hovering close by since she’d left us. Giving her my credit card, I instructed her to put the clothes we’d left behind aside for one of my staff to pick up tomorrow. As soon as I had the card back in my hands, I guided Brianna back out into the mall.
This time we didn’t linger. To make it easier on her, I positioned us on the edges of the crowd and kept us moving. I just wanted to get her home. She’d had enough for one day and deserved some rest, even though we still needed to talk.
The entire drive home Brianna was tense and looking down at her hands. Usually she liked to watch out the window as I drove, but her entire body radiated anxiety. I wanted to comfort her, but I was unsure how at the moment. She seemed to think she was in trouble, although I didn’t understand what she could have done to warrant punishment.
I didn’t linger in the parking garage, and we quickly made our way into the elevator and up to the top floor. She was still quiet. Brianna hadn’t said a word since we left the store. Although in her defense, she never initiated conversation, and I was still mulling over everything that had transpired in the last hour.
I unlocked the door, stepped through, and threw my keys down on the table. She followed me inside without stopping, and knowing she would follow me, I went directly to her bedroom, and then into her bathroom.
As I walked through the door separating the two rooms, I heard her enter the bedroom behind me. Under the sink I found the bottle of bubble bath I was looking for. It was something I had provided for Tami when she was using the room, so she had not taken it with her, thankfully. Taking it over to the tub, I turned on the tap, regulated the temperature to a comfortable level, and poured in some of the fragrance.
I waited until the water reached the desired level before shutting off the tap. When I turned around, Brianna was kneeling just outside the doorway. Strolling over to her, I reached down, took her hands, and indicated that I wanted her to stand.
Placing my hand under her chin, I brought her face up so she could look at me. “You are to get into the tub and take a bath, Brianna. You are to stay in there at least thirty minutes. When you’re finished, there will be clothing laid out for you on your bed. Put them on and meet me in the kitchen.” I didn’t wait for her to agree before I dropped her chin and left the room.
As soon as he left me, I collapsed on the floor sobbing. Stupid, stupid, stupid. He’d been so happy this morning at breakfast and now . . .
He was acting like everything was okay, but I knew it wasn’t. I would be lucky if he only took my books away. It had been insane for me to ask him not to, to ask him for anything but that.
If it were Ian, he would have taken them away just to spite me on top of whatever else he had in mind. But I had no idea what Stephan would do.
Wiping my eyes, I got up off the floor, walked into the bathroom, and removed my clothing one piece at a time. As I stepped into the bath the last of my tears dried up.
The water was warm and inviting. It only added to my confusion. Why did he want me to take a bath? I couldn’t think of any type of punishment where I would need to be clean and smelling like . . . coconut?
Taking a deep breath, I decided not to worry about it for the thirty minutes I was alone. Closing my eyes I ordered myself to relax. This was just another example of how nice my Master was. Whatever punishment I had to endure later, he was giving me a chance to collect myself first, and I was grateful. Maybe now I wouldn’t embarrass myself again by begging as I had earlier.
I felt the tears returning to my eyes.
The images started to flood back through my mind.
“And what do we have here?”
“I found her trying to get out the back door again, Master.”
“Tsk, tsk, Brianna. You know better than to try and escape.”
His cool voice held a level of menace unlike I’d ever heard in my previous life. Before I knew what was happening, my head was wrenched back hard. I could feel it all the way down to my roots.
“Please,” I pleaded.
“Please?” he mocked. “Please? Please what, Brianna?” Then he was in my face, and I could feel every syllable he spoke. “
YOU. ARE. MINE!”
Suddenly, he released my hair. In the next second he grabbed my arm and wrenched it hard behind my back. The force of the movement caused a searing pain through my entire limb and a distinct cracking sound, causing me to yell out.
“Please. Please. I’m begging you.”
“Oh, Brianna, you are learning aren’t you? Now.
My screaming filled the room as my arms flew about me in an effort to make it all go away.