Authors: Sherri Hayes
“Yes, Master.” Her voice was cold, almost robotic.
His wicked smile reappeared. “I do love hearing you say that, but I am not your Master now.”
With that, he released her and turned his back on both of us, strolling back to his desk. “Alex, show them out,” he said with a dismissive wave of his hand.
Alex walked us directly to the door and opened it, letting the chilly evening breeze wash over us. I looked down at Brianna and her attire. A tube top and a miniskirt were not the best things to wear mid-April in Minnesota. Turning to Alex, I asked, “Does she have other clothing or a jacket?”
Ian’s alpha slave looked at Brianna with what could only be described as disgust. “
does not own anything, Sir.”
I sighed in exasperation, took off my suit jacket, and placed it around her shoulders. It was far too big for her, but it would work for now.
Brianna walked one step behind me the entire way to my car. She stopped outside the vehicle even after I opened the door for her. “You may get into the car.”
After I’d given her permission, she complied quickly.
The ride back to my condo was quiet, as I knew it would be. She held my jacket close to her body as we drove. Her hands were shaking even though I could see she was trying to hide it from me. She was scared. After living with Ian Pierce for the past ten months and seeing the bruises, I had no doubt of that. Brianna lived in fear, not pleasure.
I was going to change that.
When we arrived at my building just before nine, I parked my car in its usual spot and got out. It wasn’t until I was halfway to the elevator that I realized Brianna had not followed.
Walking back to my car, I opened the door for her. “You may get out of the vehicle.” She did, and then stood looking down at the concrete floor. “Come.” She followed.
As we made our way to the elevator and then up to my penthouse, I contemplated the new problems I had. I’d never “owned” a slave before. Brianna had nothing but the clothes on her back, and those weren’t suitable for public. I knew Ian might disagree with me on that, but from the little I’d seen already, I had a feeling we didn’t agree on much.
We managed to reach my condo without running into any of the other tenants in the elevator, and she followed me inside.
I loved my home. When I moved back to the city after college, it was my first major purchase. It was in the heart of downtown Minneapolis, and I had a view of the city skyline from my living room. The open floor plan had always appealed to me, and of course the wood beams in my ceiling came in handy when playing. My aunt and uncle offered to let me stay with them for a while until I could find a house, but I needed to be out on my own. I was not the lost boy they’d sent off to college anymore.
Laying my keys down on the side table, I walked to the kitchen, loosening my tie. I didn’t know about Brianna, but I was starving now that I’d had time to calm down after my sickening business dealings tonight.
Reaching into the freezer, I pulled out two french bread pizzas, putting one in the microwave. “Have you eaten dinner?”
“No, Master,” she whispered.
It was not that I had a problem with her calling me Master: both of my collared submissives had at one point in time. The way she said it, though, held not respect but fear. I didn’t like it, but it was too late to try and fix anything tonight. My main priority was to get us both fed and into bed.
The microwave beeped, and I took the first pizza out, sliding it onto a plate. Setting it down on the counter across from me, I looked over at her. She hadn’t moved a muscle. “Come eat.” Brianna came.
She stood stiffly as she picked up the pizza and began eating. Her first bites were slow but soon became faster as if she hadn’t eaten in a very long time. My anger for Ian continued to grow the more I observed the beautiful creature in front of me, wolfing down her dinner. Her pizza was gone before mine finished cooking.
I brought my food with me and sat on the stool beside her. She was stiff as a board and still looking down. “You may sit, Brianna.”
Brianna didn’t move as I began to eat. There was a mixture of both dread and excitement as I realized the task I had in front of me. She was broken, totally and completely. It would take a lot of work to rebuild her self-worth, but I knew the end result would be worth it.
All of a sudden she started jerking, almost as if she was choking. I stood immediately and moved behind her, ready to give the Heimlich maneuver should she be in need.
“Let it out,” I said softly, hoping that she wasn’t trying to downplay whatever was happening, fearing my response.
As soon as the words left my mouth, her jaw relaxed, and the pizza she had just shoveled down covered the counter.
I stood stunned. If I had not moved from my seat when I did, I would probably have been part of the collateral damage.
It was only Brianna’s movement that brought me out of my fog. She practically collapsed onto the floor. At first I thought she had fallen, but realized it was too controlled for that.
She was on her knees, forehead to the floor. Her entire form shook with what I finally realized were silent sobs.
I stood looking back and forth from the mess on the counter to the girl shaking on the floor before deciding to leave the mess and deal with Brianna first.
Squatting down, I kept my voice calm and even. “Look at me.” Her head slowly came up off the floor, but every muscle in her body tensed as if she was waiting for something awful to happen. Tears were streaming down her cheeks, and I noticed that she needed some cleaning up. “Are you okay?” I asked, concerned.
For some reason this made her cry harder, but she nodded.
I reached out, trying to offer my assistance, but she stiffened more, so I pulled back again.
With a sigh, I pushed myself up to my full height, and asked, “Can you walk?”
“Y—Yesss, Master,” she stuttered.
“Follow me,” I said, knowing she wouldn’t move from her spot unless I told her. Leading her through the living room, I walked into the room next to mine.
This would be her bedroom. It was smaller than mine, but it had its own full bathroom. I showed her the bathroom. “Go clean yourself up. I’ll wait here,” I said, taking a position a few feet from the door. She lowered her head and walked inside.
I looked around the room. It had been empty for a while, since Tami. The bed was the dominant feature in the room along with a built-in dresser and closet along one wall. There were two end tables, one on either side of the bed, but other than a lamp and alarm clock they were empty. The only other piece of furniture was a plush leather chair that sat in the corner. All personal touches to the room had left with the person who used to occupy the space. Hard to believe that was six months ago.
Brianna didn’t take long. She was gone less than five minutes. Her face was slightly red where she’d obviously scrubbed it clean, as were her neck and shoulders. She stood with her head bowed, waiting.
As I watched her, I wondered briefly if I should try to find her something else to wear to bed besides her current attire, but figure it wouldn’t hurt her to wear them for another night. Tomorrow I’d be finding something else for her to wear anyway. “Come to bed,” I said, motioning toward the queen-size bed. “This is where you will sleep.”
She walked over beside the bed. But instead of getting into it, she lay down on the floor.
What the . . .?
Walking over, I knelt beside her and reached out slowly for her hands. It was the first time I’d touched her since leaving Ian’s, and she jumped slightly, not able to help herself. I saw her eyes widen in fear as she realized what she’d done.
“Brianna,” I said in a voice that brooked no argument. “You will sleep in the bed, not on the floor.”
I didn’t think her eyes could get any bigger, but they did. Then she got up and climbed onto the bed, lying flat on her back, her arms down at her sides.
Her face was set, waiting for something.
I studied her for a minute before it dawned on me what she was waiting for; she thought I wanted sex.
We would get to that, but not tonight, and not with her like this. Opening the dresser drawer, I pulled out a bottle of salve.
Her breathing picked up as I sat on the bed beside her, a telltale sign of her nervousness. Brianna’s eyes were closed now. She was mentally preparing herself for whatever I was going to do to her.
I lifted her skirt, once again revealing her bruises. They looked worse in the bright artificial light of this room, and I felt the pizza I’d just eaten threaten to come back up. Without waiting any more, I placed some of the salve on my fingers and began massaging it into her thighs.
When I finished and put her skirt back in place, she was looking at me. Then, realizing her mistake, she quickly looked away. I stood and put the bottle back in the drawer.
“You don’t have to fear me, Brianna. Goodnight.”
Turning off the light, I left her alone and went back out to the kitchen to clean up before heading to my own bedroom. Stripping down to my boxers, I fell into bed. The emotional strain of the day quickly pulled me into a deep sleep. And my last thoughts were of a fragile woman with brown hair and blue eyes.
A piercing scream tore me from sleep. Throwing the covers off, I ran to Brianna’s room to find her huddled against the headboard of her bed, looking wild with fright. Her hands were twisted in her hair, tangling it. At first she didn’t seem to notice me in the dim light from the window, but when she did, she closed her eyes, tilted her head down, and began to shake.
Slowly, I walked toward her. I didn’t want to frighten her more, but I felt I needed to do something. Brianna was my responsibility. She was in a strange place, alone. Although I was a stranger, I was all she had at the moment.
By the time I reached the end of her bed, she was moving. I hesitated. She nearly tripped over herself as she scrambled to the floor to kneel in front of me.
Her name was on the tip of my tongue when she started jerking. I bent down, concerned that she was having another episode, and reached out to grasp her by the shoulders. Her eyes were closed tight, and she looked like she was in pain. Scooping her up, I carried her to her bathroom and set her down by the toilet. I lifted the toilet seat and pulled her hair back. She bent over and let loose, but nothing came out. Her stomach was empty. All she had were dry heaves.
Once she calmed, I got two washcloths from the rack. After running them under cold water, I took them to Brianna. She hadn’t moved, not that I’d really expected her to. Her body was unnaturally still, her eyes cast to the floor as I washed her face.
When I was finished I tossed the dirty cloth into the sink and turned back to her. Again, she looked like she was about ready to cry.
I carried her back to her bed.
Placing her on the rumpled covers, I brushed her hair back and placed the fresh washcloth on her forehead. Her eyes flicked to my face, then closed as she tensed.
She acted as if she was waiting for me to molest her. The fact that she thought I’d do so when she was obviously unwell made me wonder just what horrors she’d undergone while living with Ian Pierce.
Without another word, I stepped away and settled into the chair in the corner of the room. I’d used the chair for various reasons in the past, but a bed had never been one of them before tonight.
As I leaned back, trying to get comfortable, I watched her still form on the bed, letting myself study her. Her delicate features were silhouetted against the lights of the city coming through the window. It gave the illusion of a peace that wasn’t present. She was a mystery. I had no idea of her past beyond her time with Ian, and even that was sketchy. Who was she before? Was this a life she chose that went horribly wrong or something worse?
Eventually, she seemed to relax and fall back to sleep. With a sigh, my eyes closed, and I tried to find some rest of my own.
When I woke the next morning with a crick in my neck, she was on the floor beside her bed, patiently kneeling. She had an amazing submissive presence. Her posture was near perfection. Ian had not been exaggerating on the amount of work he’d put into her training.
I rubbed the sleep from my face before addressing her. “Good morning, Brianna.”
She didn’t answer.
“You may respond.”
“Good morning, Master.” Her voice was dead, and she did not look up.
“How are you feeling?”
“Better, Master.” She sounded like a robot. There was no emotion behind her words. I frowned. Was this really what Ian had wanted? Someone who just did what you told them to do without feeling? I repressed a shiver and pushed the thought aside. It would do me no good.
Looking down at her, I noticed her color had improved. Her fair skin showed a faint blush. Hopefully her stomach had also settled, but I wasn’t taking any chances. “Go to your bathroom and do what you need to, then come meet me in the kitchen.”
She didn’t respond in any way other than to get up and walk into her bathroom. I rubbed a hand across my face, and then went to my own room to get dressed.
I decided to keep breakfast as simple as possible given what happened last night. She needed to eat something, but I didn’t want to have to clean up a mess again.
As I was putting the bread in the toaster, she walked into the room. Her movements were stiff and unnatural. It was as if she were trying to be invisible.
Taking two glasses down from the cabinet, I turned to put them next to our plates only to find Brianna kneeling on the floor. I stared at her bowed head for several seconds before deciding to go ahead and finish what I was doing before addressing her.
Once I had everything set on the counter—toast, butter, and jelly, along with juice for me and water for her—I walked around the island and sat. “Come sit beside me and eat, Brianna.”
She obeyed and took the same seat beside me as she had last night. When she reached for the dry toast I’d put on her plate, I placed a hand on her arm to stop her. “Slowly.”
Brianna was like a statue until I turned back to my food and started eating. Then, hesitantly, she picked up her toast and took a small bite. We managed to get through breakfast without another incident.
After breakfast, I went into the living room and called Jamie to let her know that something had come up, and I would be working from home for the rest of the week. I instructed her to hold all my calls unless it was an emergency. She promised to keep things under control until I returned. I laughed, trying without success to picture my soft-spoken assistant standing up to the likes of Karl Walker. Jamie was many things, but aggressive wasn’t one of them.
When I finished up with my call to Jamie, Brianna was on the floor just this side of the kitchen. I stopped and watched her.
I’d had submissives before, but this was something completely different. Sarah and I had met and talked several times before we even discussed playing together. With Tami, it had been much the same. Even with the few others I’d played with over the years I’d known them on some level before anything transpired.
With this girl, I knew nothing about her. She was obedient, yes, but that didn’t tell me anything other than she was either naturally submissive, broken, or both. The fear I’d seen in her eyes a few times had me leaning toward broken.
The question was—what to do now?
I looked her over. First, we needed to get her clean and out of those absurd clothes. Her hair was still tangled from the night, and I was beginning to detest that outfit. Tami had left nothing behind, so the only option was to put her into some of my clothes until I could figure something else out.
Leaving her where she was, I went into my bedroom to see what I could find. She wasn’t tiny, but she’d be swimming in most of my clothing.
Finally, I located some gym clothes I still had from college. I was a little thinner back then, and the shorts had drawstrings. They were the best option I had access to at the moment.
Walking back into the room, she was exactly where I’d left her. “Follow me,” I said, knowing that she would.
When I re-entered her bedroom, I smiled as I saw that she’d made her bed. Whether that was a habit Ian had drilled into her or one she’d already developed, it was a good one.
She came in the room and started to kneel again just inside the door before I stopped her. “No,” I said firmly. Brianna stopped instantly. I held out the clothes to her. “Take these, shower, and put them on.”
Brianna took the clothes, and I had started to leave before I thought of something. Given what I’d observed of her behavior, I didn’t want her waiting around in the bathroom all day for my next instruction. “When you’re finished, come find me.” With that, I left her and went to get my laptop. Even though I was not going in to work for the rest of the week there were still things to be done.
I was hunched over the computer when motion alerted me that she was there. I stared openly. It was good to see her in something other than the tube top and miniskirt, but she looked even younger and more vulnerable in my clothes than I had expected. I gave her permission to watch television or read one of the books laying around in the living room. She knelt on the floor in front of the television and just stared at the blank screen for several minutes before I got up and turned it on for her, placed the remote in front of her, and returned to my work. She never touched the remote.
The rest of the day was awkward. She didn’t say much. Actually, she didn’t speak at all unless I asked her a direct question. Over her dinner of toast with a little bit of butter and jelly, I continued to make observations.
I had so many questions for her, but I knew it wasn’t the right time. No matter my curiosity, I would have to wait.
Since she had been able to keep down the toast and jelly from the night before, I added oatmeal and some fruit Friday morning. The day was again spent with me working at the dining room table and her in front of the television.
At dinner, I gave her some spaghetti with just a little sauce and made her eat slowly. She managed to keep that down, too.
Saturday we also had to address her use of the bathroom. While going through e-mails, I noticed that her face was scrunched up in pain. It made no sense to me at first since she was kneeling on a pillow in the living room at the time. When I asked her what was wrong, she quietly told me she needed to use the bathroom—Master.
After telling her to go use it I realized my mistake. Every submissive I had ever had in my home had either just gone to the bathroom when needed, or, if we were in the middle of playing, would ask. Brianna wasn’t asking.
When she returned, I informed her that whenever she needed to use the facilities that she was to go and use them. She did not need to ask my permission or tell me unless we were in the middle of something. If that was the case, then she was to ask politely to be excused.
I pretty much let her be after that, hoping she’d get used to her surroundings. Food was still an issue, but I kept introducing new things and made sure she took her time eating them.
I caught her glancing at me once while I was working, but then she cringed as if she had committed a major sin and quickly turned her attention back to the television. A woman was talking about some new vacuum cleaner. It didn’t seem all that interesting to me.
With her attention returned to the television screen, I sat back in my chair and watched her. She really was pretty. She had a simple beauty about her. It wasn’t flashy. It didn’t scream out to be noticed. But it was there all the same. Brianna was clearly trained, but I had many worries. Would she ever open up to me or would she stay in this shell forever? Only time would tell.