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Authors: Sherri Hayes

Slave (26 page)

BOOK: Slave
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She didn’t say anything for too long. I could hear the minutes ticking away and with every one my fear grew. And with her next words I had to force myself not to react. She couldn’t see how much I feared her leaving.

“But I can’t leave?” She phrased it as a question.

“If leaving is what you desire, then I won’t stop you,” I said as calmly as I could manage. Then I added, “I don’t want you to leave.”

The confusion was back. “I can . . . leave?” she asked.

I closed my eyes trying to keep the pain out of my voice. “Yes. If you wish.”

Obviously I didn’t do a good enough job. Her hand came up to my face, and she hesitantly traced the worry lines on my brow. Fingers followed the line of my nose and traced my lips.

Brianna’s hand dropped back into her lap, and at the loss of her touch my eyes opened to search hers. But instead of what I’d been expecting, she surprised me. “What’s wrong with Lily?”

It took me a moment to change gears. I’d been so worried, so sure that she’d get up and leave that I hadn’t been prepared for anything else.

As quickly as I could, I answered, “Lily is Logan’s submissive. She did something wrong, so she was being punished.” I couldn’t help but smirk. “Lily likes to talk, so taking that away from her has quite an impact.”

Again, Brianna’s eyes were full of questions. I waited until she settled on one to ask. She didn’t disappoint. “I’m your submissive?”

I sighed. “Yes. In a way, you are. Although not in the traditional sense.”

She looked confused again, but for some reason this time it made me laugh. “When you were with Ian, Brianna, you had no say. He controlled everything you did. It was what you were used to, and I thought giving you a whole new set of rules, a completely different way of doing things all at once, would be too much of a shock to you.”

I looked at her, trying to will her to understand what I was saying. She could still choose to walk away from me. “So I decided to start slow. Keep structure in your life while trying to get you to open up to me so that I could help you.”

My hands came up to cup her face lightly. “It was working. You started to relax, to talk to me, to trust me.”

Her nose scrunched up as if she was deep in thought. “If I stay here, what will happen?”

I couldn’t stop the excitement that was pounding through me. She wasn’t bolting for the door. “That will depend on you,” I replied honestly. Her eyes were questioning again. “It will depend on what you want. If you want to be my submissive or not.”

“If I don’t?” she asked.

Fear gripped me again at the thought of losing her, but I pushed it into the far corner of my mind. I’d deal with it later.

“Then I will help you in any way that I can. I have access to resources all over the city. I’d still like to see you finish your schooling, but I’m sure that eventually you would want to have your own apartment and a job.”

Again she was quiet for way too long. Then she whispered, “If I do?”

Once again I framed her face with my hands. I leaned in close, making sure she could feel the sincerity of my words. “Then we have a lot to talk about.”

Over the next two hours there was little talking done. She looked so lost that I ended up pulling her onto my lap and just holding her.

Brianna did ask me about the collar I’d given her. I explained that it had more to do with her safety and security than a traditional one given by a Dominant to his submissive. It signified, as I’d said, that she was my responsibility. She was under my protection. I had not wanted her to think that anyone would just come and take her away from me. My commitment to her hadn’t changed.

When dinner time came, I decided to order in, rather than having either Brianna or I make something. She was distracted and rightly so. The last thing I needed was for her to hurt herself in the kitchen by not paying attention. I also wanted to keep an eye on her.

All throughout dinner I kept watching and waiting. I told her earlier that she could ask me anything she wanted, and I would answer her honestly. So far, she hadn’t asked any more questions.

Once our food was finished, I stood to help her clean up. She froze. “Is everything all right?” I asked, coming up to her side.

“Yes,” she nodded and then seemed to shake herself out of wherever her mind had been.

It didn’t take long to clean up the takeout, and once the leftovers were put away, she seemed lost again. Her eyes couldn’t find a resting place. First she would look down and then at me. I even caught her glancing over to her bedroom door a few times.

Not wanting to cause her any more distress than what she was obviously in, I walked over to my chair and sat down just like I always did after dinner. I turned on the television and waited to see what she’d do.

At first, she did nothing. She stood unmoving behind me. I had to force myself not to react, not to do something. Brianna needed to make the next move.

Finally she did move. Her footsteps were slow and hesitant as she drew closer to me. She paused beside my chair for several seconds. I didn’t move from my position.

Then in a flash she sat in the middle of the couch just to my right. I glanced over and gave her a small smile to let her know everything was all right, but she didn’t return it. She wasn’t even looking at me.

The smile I’d been wearing turned into a frown as I noticed her hands begin to fidget and then shake. My discontent deepened as she pulled her knees up to her chest and began to rock. This was not what I’d been hoping for.

I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and said, “Brianna, look at me.” She didn’t respond. “Brianna,” I said more firmly. This time her head snapped up, and she looked at me. “Would you like to sit with me?” She nodded, and I opened my arms in invitation.

For the rest of the night, we sat in my chair holding on to one another. I had no idea what the future would bring for us, but for tonight she was still in my arms, still mine.

BOOK: Slave
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