Stronghold (Stronghold 1) (6 page)

BOOK: Stronghold (Stronghold 1)
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Some big benefit dinner was
happening on Saturday and Leigh was attending with Michael of course.  They
were supposed to be going with another couple, one of Michael’s friends from
college who was a former reality television star and his wife. 
Unfortunately his wife had just been diagnosed with mono and wasn’t going to be
making any kind of public appearances for a while.  Owen needed a date and
Leigh needed a back-up friend.
 

“I hope he’s okay with the fact
that I’ve never seen his stupid show,” she muttered, feeling a large amount of
resentment towards a man she’d never met.  Not that Adam had said he’d be
back at Chained this Saturday.  But people tended to follow habits. Maybe this
was fate’s way of telling her that she needed to stay away from that group of
men.  It was probably for the best.  After all it wasn’t as if she could
actually pursue the guy.  He thought she was a Domme and she hadn’t given
herself much wiggle room there.
 

“I’m sure it will be fine,” said
Leigh, excited now that she had her victim well ensnared. “Thank you, thank you
so much. You won’t-”

“Please don’t say I won’t regret
this,” interrupted Angel, although she had a smile on her face. “We both know
that’s probably not true.”

Not only would she be missing out
on seeing sexy dominant men, she was going to be paired up with someone who
actually wanted to put part of their personal life out on television.  Ugh.  She
would never understand the appeal to that.
 

“He’s a nice guy, I promise.”

“You owe me.  Email me the
details, I’ve got to get back to my class.”
Not the best way to finish out her class, her concentration was completely
shot.  Fortunately by the time Leigh had called the women were already
practicing the hits that Angel had showed them, taking turns back and forth
with their pads.  The room echoed with the word “NO!” being shouted over and
over again.  

“Yell it as loud as you can, every
time,” Angel reminded Priscilla, one of the women who often got so into hitting
the pads as hard as she could that she would forget to yell, before moving on
to watch the next pair.

Her mind kept wandering though;
she still wanted to go back to Chained.  At least one more time before she
turned around and went to Stronghold.  So she’d go on Friday instead.  Next
weekend her show opened and if she went Chained she’d have to stay until two in
the morning to make the drive worth it. 

Sighing she reminded herself that
she hadn’t wanted to run into Mr. Grouchy again anyway.  Right?

“More from the waist, Nicole,
right now you’re punching from your shoulder, you need to get your whole body
into it.”

Maybe it was best she couldn’t go
on Saturday again, she mused as she watched Grace attack the pads Bridget was
holding with renewed fervor.  If the same Doms were there then maybe she could
consider it fate and force herself to tell the truth.  If she didn’t then she’d
know that she should just keep with her original plan of moving on to
Stronghold.  Leaving it up to fate, as it were.

**********

Friday night at Chained wasn't as
bad as last Saturday night.  It was worse.  There were no major interruptions
to the evening, thank goodness, the Dungeon Monitors didn't need to do anything
than walk around and keep an eye on things, but none of the group she'd met
last Saturday were there either.  She wandered around and watched the
various scenes, even met a few other Doms and Dommes who were very nice
although none of them were as friendly as Chris, Andrew, Rick and Mr. Grouchy. 
As she explored she found herself feeling disappointed rather than
interested.  Bored rather than intrigued.  The only big difference
between this week and last week was that there was no Mr. Grouchy.  She
found herself sitting back at the table she'd sat at with him last week when
everything had seemed shiny and new, despite the gaudiness of the club, and
thinking about Adam.  
Master Adam
.

It took an interruption from the
cute submissive who had been so eager to get her a drink last week to bring her
back to her senses.  She was feeling pretty comfortable here, even though
it was only her second visit.  The atmosphere and the people appealed to
her.  But what had really intrigued her last week were the men that she had
met.  And, truth be told, she'd rather latched onto Adam.  Even if he
wasn't her type. Other than being far too sexy and obviously very
dominant.  It was probably a good thing he wasn't really her type or she'd
be more interested in coming here than in going to Stronghold, and the hour
long drive just to get to a club really sucked when she knew there was one a
lot closer to home. 
 

Looking around the club, Angel
decided that there was currently nothing for her here.  Being in the club
just made her want to shed the Domme persona she was hiding behind and be who
she truly was.  She felt like she could be brave enough to do that
now.  Especially if she went on a Thursday.  Stronghold was open five
nights a week, three of them for BDSM.  The other two nights were devoted
to swinging and fantasy play.  She'd heard a lot about the incredible
fantasy rooms that they had there, pretty much anything you could desire for
roleplaying.  Chained didn't have that at all, everything was pretty much just
in this one room.  Maybe eventually they'd be successful enough for renovations
and they could upgrade.  Not that she'd be sticking around for it.  Way too far
away from home.
 

With one last regretful sigh,
Angel glanced at the clock on the wall and headed for the door, trying not to
feel like she'd wasted gas by coming down here.  Maybe she wouldn't be back.  Maybe
she should just go straight to Stronghold next weekend and get what she'd been
looking for. Well she couldn't go next weekend.  Or the weekend after
that.  She had dress rehearsal Thursday nights and then shows on the
weekends.  So after closing night of her show, then she'd go get what she
really needed.
 

******

The benefit dinner was actually
rather nice.  Not only did Angel get to dress up in her favorite red silk
floor length dress that she hardly ever got to wear, but she got to spend some
time with Leigh, eat good food, and her date, Owen Michaels, was very charming
and fun.  They were having a pretty good time together, both being big flirtatious
teases, although he tended to rely on her to lead him around the room rather
than the other way around, even though he knew a lot more people than
her.  He was also very obviously in love with his wife, who texted him
every thirty minutes or so to make sure he was staying in line.  Angel
even talked to her for about ten minutes on the phone to reassure her that Owen
was acting like a perfect gentleman. 
 

"She’s a riot," she
said laughing as she closed Owen's phone and handed it back to him.
  “It’s too bad she’s cooped up at home
tonight.”

"Yeah, she hates being sick.
 And she especially hates leaving me in the lurch with a beautiful woman,” he
said, winking at her.  Even though it might appear to an outside observer like
he was flirting there was a definite ‘unavailable’ vibe to Owen and she could
tell that his wife didn’t have anything to worry about.  “You wouldn’t
believe the amount of women who started throwing themselves at me just because
I’ve been on television.”

Angel shrugged.  “Well next time
you text her, you can tell her that you’re safe with me, I hardly ever watch
television.  I just wait for the shows I’m interested in to come out on DVD.”

“But you’ve seen my show right?”

“Nope.”

"Well that explains a
lot," he said laughing as they wound their way through the crowd back to
Leigh and Michael.  Michael was chatting with some of the other business
men that were attending while Leigh stood there with a smile pasted on her
face.  As much as Angel was enjoying spending time with her best friend,
seeing her in this kind of environment only heightened her misgivings about the
relationship she was having with Michael.  Leigh used to be such a
carefree, spontaneous, silly person, very much like Angel herself, and Angel
hadn't seen one hint of that all night, as if being here with Michael was
forcing her to keep her impulsive energy bottled inside.
 

"What does it explain?"
she asked.
 

"Why you have so many
questions to ask me, rather than already knowing the answering," he said
teasing.  Owen rolled his eyes at Leigh as they joined her orbit. 
"This crazy woman in red has never seen my show, can you believe it?"
 

"That's because reality
television is made up of made up of a bunch of attention whores," Leigh
said teasingly, laughing loudly.

"Leigh!"  Michael's
voice interrupted the conversation and Leigh winced, smoothing her face over in
a bland mask as she turned to the businessmen that Michael had been talking
to.  One of them looked appalled, the other amused, and Michael looked
infuriated.  Angel's lip curled.  Okay, maybe Leigh had been a little loud
when she’d said ‘attention whore’ but that didn’t mean Michael had to use that
tone of voice with her.  And his uptight colleague could suck it. 

"I'm sorry, gentlemen,"
Leigh said.  Although she was in complete control of herself, Angel knew
very well that Leigh only went expressionless when she was covering up
emotion.  They'd done theater together so Angel knew that Leigh was more
of a singer than an actress, and when it came to situations where she was
feeling upset she just shut down rather than being able to pretend everything
was truly alright.  "I didn't mean to be so crass."

"We'll talk about this
later," Michael said to her in a low undertone that the businessmen
couldn't hear.  Owen looked rather uncomfortable at the entire situation
and Angel had to exert all her self-control not to toss her drink on the
patronizing ass.
  When had Michael
turned into such a jerk? 

"Come on Leigh," Angel
said, grabbing her friend's hand.  "Let's go to the bathroom so these men
can finish their super important discussion."  It was an effort not to let
any sarcasm drip from her voice but she managed.  Lacking the sarcasm just
made the remark sound even more biting.  She could practically feel Michael's
eyes glaring daggers into her back as she pulled Leigh away, but she didn't
care.  What an asshole.  When had he started acting like this?  Was
this why Leigh had been so upset lately?
 

As soon as they were in the
privacy of the ladies room Leigh's eyes filled with tears and Angel grabbed
some tissues for her.
 

"What crawled up his
ass?" she asked, wrapping a comforting arm around her friend. Leigh looked
so pretty tonight with her long brown hair up in a simple chignon, silvery
earrings dripping from her ears down to her bare shoulders, and the simple gray
strapless sheathe dress she was wearing.  It killed Angel to see her so
upset on a night when she should be feeling good about herself.
 

"He's been like that
lately," Leigh admitted, dabbing under her eyes.  "Damn him... good
thing I wore waterproof tonight."  She sighed, looking over her shoulder
in the mirror at Angel.  "He used to love that I spoke my mind, thought it
was cute that I was loud and silly and occasionally crass.  Now I feel
like he's embarrassed by me half the time.  I hate this job but he's just
getting more and more involved in it and I'm afraid I'm losing him.  Did you
see the way Mr. Friedman looked at me?  I just know he’s going to say something
to Michael and then Michael’s going to be even
more
mad at me and… ugh. 
It’s just so frustrating!"

"Oh honey," Angel said,
pulling Leigh into her arms as her friend sniffled.  She held her tightly,
letting Leigh lean into her shoulder.
 

"He's going to leave me
again," Leigh whispered.  "I know it.  He's going to want to find a
woman that fits the image he needs for this stupid job."

Angel squeezed her tighter,
feeling furious at Michael and even a little bit at Leigh.  She deserved
so much better, which was not a new sentiment, but no matter how many times
Angel told her that, Leigh just wanted Michael.  "If he can't see that
you're the perfect woman then he deserves whatever bimbo hag he ends up
with."

Leigh snorted a laugh, pulling
away and dabbing at her face with a tissue again as she rolled her eyes.  "How
do you always know exactly what to say?"

"I'm serious," she
replied.  "And he's not worth you feeling like this.  Are you even
happy in the relationship anymore?"  Leigh hesitated and then
shrugged.
 

"I'm not sure.  But I don't
know what I'd do without him.  We've been together so long... I can't just
throw that away."

It was the same conversation they
always had whenever Angel brought her reservations about Michael up.  He
really wasn't that bad a guy, even if right now she wanted to tear him a new
one for hurting her friend.  But even if he wasn't that bad a guy, he didn't
seem right for Leigh either.  She was the most self-sacrificing person
that Angel knew and she needed someone who would boost her up and not take
advantage of that.  Unlike Michael who seemed to constantly be using that side
of her for his own benefit.  Still, it's not like she could do anything
about it.  Leigh's life, Leigh's decision.
 

BOOK: Stronghold (Stronghold 1)
6.34Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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