Read Healing the Wounds Online

Authors: M.Q. Barber

Tags: #Romance, #Erotic, #978-1-61650-533-2, #BDSM, #Menage

Healing the Wounds (4 page)

BOOK: Healing the Wounds
7.4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

“Then why have you usurped my role here?”

“I’m sorry, Henry.” All the Jay-ness drained from his voice, and he sounded eerie and hollow like he had on the way home from the club.

“Tell me why. Tell me why, or use your safeword. You still remember it?”

His dull, hopeless loll might’ve been a nod.

“Tell me your safeword, Jay. I want to hear that you know it.”

Jay choked out a garbled sob and then, “Popcorn.”

Henry sucked in a breath. Popcorn wasn’t Jay’s safeword. Tilt-A-Whirl was.

Pain radiated from his grip on her arm. She winced but didn’t pull away.

“Oh, my darling boy, no.” Henry released her arm, pulled her head to his, and whispered urgently in her ear. “Relaxed rules, my dear girl. Intuition and compassion.”

Leaving her behind, he climbed onto the bed and cradled Jay. “Tell me what you did that was bad, Jay. It’s all right. Tell me.”

“I was, I was…” Even engulfed in Henry’s sturdy strength, Jay shook like a sapling in a windstorm. “I was hard. I
wanted
it.”

She’d missed the damn warning sirens. A tornado filled the horizon, and she’d done nothing but stand powerless on the porch while the force uprooted Jay. God help them if Henry couldn’t hold him tight enough.

“They aren’t the same thing at all, my boy.” Henry stroked Jay’s back. “Your dreams made you hard this week, didn’t they? You weren’t even awake to want that. You wanted the opposite, but your body didn’t listen. Your dreams managed to make it happen despite your wishes, even with no further stimulation.”

Huddling closer, Jay took a long, shaky breath.

Henry kissed the top of Jay’s head. “How much more difficult, then, to fight your body’s natural reaction when a skilled manipulator is in control? He was already an expert sadist.”

Jay lurched.

Henry wrapped him tighter. “You were so new.”

A skilled manipulator.
Hell of a partner she was. She’d babied her own insecurities and ignored Jay drowning beside her all week.

“The blame is his, Jay.”

A sadist.

“It always has been.”

Cal.
Nearly five years of Henry’s love swept out, and the jagged rocks of Jay’s pain resurfaced. He’d reverted to a man she’d never met, a shame-filled submissive shell.

“I would’ve—I was gonna—if you hadn’t stopped him…” Jay shook his head, the back of his neck slender and bare, his face hidden against Henry’s chest. “He saw—he said I wanted it and he was, was gonna let me come and punish me for it.”

Eyes welded shut, Henry laid his head atop Jay’s.

“He was laughing be-because he knew I was a bad boy who wanted it and if I, if I came, that proved it and he’d, he’d f-fuck me bloody until he made it happen again.”

Gentle, smiling Jay. Teasing, playful, eager-to-please, beaten and shamed and— Her stomach wrenched.

She inched closer and knelt beside Henry’s leg. “Jay, sweetheart, I want to touch your hand. Is that all right?”

Nodding and sniffling, Jay shuffled trembling limbs. One hand emerged from Henry’s embrace.

“Thank you, Jay.” She closed her palms around his offering and traced his knuckles. She spoke through tears herself. Repeated his name to be sure he understood and registered what she said. She needed to fucking hold it together. “You’re amazingly brave, Jay, do you know that?”

“M’not…you…brave,” he mumbled. “Saved me. Like Henry.” The tears came faster.

Oh Christ.
“Not nearly so brave as you, Jay. You’ve come so far with Henry’s help, haven’t you?” Henry had saved him. She’d let that man get back inside his head and hurt him again. “I know you don’t want to let what happened have so much control over your life. You’re a good boy, Jay. An amazing man. I’m so proud to be in a relationship with you, sweetheart. To love you.”

He shook his head, stubborn in denial. “I’m bad. I don’t deserve you and Henry. You shouldn’t love me.”

“Jay, even women—” She squeezed his hand, grounding herself. “Even women sometimes orgasm during rape.”

He flinched as if she’d flayed him open. One word. Four letters rippling through the tense muscles down his back and arms, crushing her fingers in a panicked grapple.

“It doesn’t mean they want it, Jay, not any more than you did.” She pushed on. Like Henry would do. Honest, firm, and kind. “It’s biology. The body compensating and responding the way it’s wired to. You didn’t do anything wrong. I want you to know that, really know it, and believe me when I say it. You didn’t do anything wrong. Not then, and not last week.”

Jay sang a chorus of pain in hitching breaths and silence. Clutching her hand and huddling in Henry’s lap, he’d listened. If she said the words often enough, maybe the letters under his skin would spell out love and safety.

“Alice is right, my boy. Cal is a sadist with a great deal of training. He knows how to obtain the responses he wants. And what he most desires is to humiliate and harm his partners.”

Henry opened his eyes, and she gazed back at him with every shred of trust and confidence she could muster. Nothing would erase the tears, but his consoling smile presented a glimpse of shared understanding.

“Jay, my dear boy, do you believe it would have been any different for me? If Cal had treated me in the same fashion, I likely would have climaxed no matter how much I fought against it.”

“Not you.” Jay shook his head.

“Yes, me.” His voice gentle but allowing no argument, Henry pressed his cheek to Jay’s head. Lines pulled at his mouth, strain running in grooves toward his clenched jaw.

“Henry wouldn’t lie to you, Jay.” She squeezed his hand again, refusing to force any further interaction on him. “He’ll give us the truth, every time. And he has, what, four times the years of experience you have with this scene? Twenty times the experience I have? He understands physiological responses better than we ever will. Trust him to tell you the truth.”

Jay’s sharp angles softened, his shoulders reclaiming their natural curve and his neck losing the thick bands of overtightened muscle.

“I know it’s difficult, my boy. That’s why you refused to give a detailed account to the board, isn’t it?” Henry’s soft tone enveloped Jay in protection. His intense stare pinned her in place. “Why you agreed to sign the papers calling the incident an ‘unintentional miscommunication between two consenting adults’?”

She slammed her mouth closed on a gasp. Intentional malice and cruelty masquerading as mistake. No one but Jay and Henry and Cal knew the truth?

“It’s why you’ve never stayed with the counselors and psychologists for more than three sessions.”

Jay sniffled. “Didn’t want them to know. I couldn’t talk to them.”

Oh God. No wonder he’d fucking lost it Friday. Christ, they were lucky he was coherent now. Jay had lingering trauma, and Henry had coped alone for years. The only one Jay would open up to and depend on. Jay’s anchor.

Jay tugged on her hands.

She freed him with one hand.

He clamped down on the other and tugged again.

Reluctant to disrupt his comfort in Henry’s arms, uncertain whether he truly wanted her touching him, she scooted forward with caution.

Jay stopped hiding his face in Henry’s embrace and lunged. Both arms out, he slammed into her chest with a hug.

She followed Henry’s lead, holding Jay and crooning to him, telling him over and over of her pride in him for talking about what happened, and his bravery, and her thankfulness to have him in her life. He settled while she spoke, his head slipping from her neck to her shoulder to her chest as he relaxed. Beside her, Henry rubbed Jay’s back in light circles.

Henry must’ve intended to break through their avoidance tonight, to bring healthy and fulfilling sex back into their lives. They’d cleared an emotional hurdle. The physical might have to wait. Things would move at Jay’s pace.

She loved them, no matter the challenges. She never could’ve predicted this would be her life. She had no idea how she’d ever explain their love to her family. But she’d found the keeper relationship.

Jay’s sobs subsided and his breathing slowed. Maybe he’d fall asleep, exhausted from the emotional release. She’d talk to Henry later, alone, when she wouldn’t make Jay relive those weeks and months to improve her understanding of what loomed after such a fresh reminder.

Jay closed his mouth over her breast.

Her surprise squeaked through closed lips.
Not a squeak. I do not squeak.

Head pillowed in the center of her chest, he cupped the outside of her breast as his lips fumbled and finally sucked at the nipple.

Her arousal spiked with alarming speed. Unintentional. He sought comfort, an instinctive need, innocent and childlike. But aside from Henry’s caresses tonight, her breasts had gone all week without stimulation. Jay’s contented murmurs escaped with each tug. Biting her lip, she tried to ignore the rush between her thighs.

She struggled not to jump when Henry tucked her hair behind her ear.

“All right, Alice?” He tipped his head toward Jay. Voice a bare whisper, as if he hesitated to interrupt their communion, Henry kept rubbing soothing circles on Jay’s back. He had to consider what was best for both of them, not just Jay, even on a night like tonight.

Arousal claimed a small part of an inseparable mix of feelings. Jay drawing comfort from her without fearing rejection brought forth pride and tenderness. But keen awareness of Henry’s separation dogged her. He couldn’t provide this comfort, and if he felt left out he’d never mention it to allow what Jay needed. He wouldn’t take what he needed.

Unless she asked. “Kiss me?”

The tender concern in Henry’s eyes gave way to a smile. She’d found the right way to offer what he needed. Months of misunderstanding she couldn’t change, but they’d led her here. She ought to be happy for this moment.

“A request I’ll happily fulfill for you at any time, dearest.” Henry bent toward her, Jay’s curled-up form between them, and kissed her sweetly. His lingering kiss did nothing to alleviate her arousal and instead encouraged it. Not because it was passionate or full of thrusting tongues, as it was neither, but because he so clearly communicated his love.

She uncurled her legs as he drew back, and he shifted his hips. The erection that had flagged while he addressed Jay’s pain likely had returned in force. After a week with neither of them touching him, he’d be as sensitive to contact and emotion as she was, if not more so. She’d damn well find a way to satisfy him tonight.

Jay snuggled more tightly against her, his mouth slowing.

She braced herself on outstretched arms to keep his weight from pushing her to the mattress.

Henry frowned. “Perhaps it would be best to lie down under the covers and allow sleep to arrive as it will. You’ve had a long evening, my dears.”

Dammit.

Jay’s hand fell away from her breast, and he slipped his mouth free.

She smothered the whimper in her throat at the loss.

“But, but we need this.” He sat up between her legs and faced Henry. “All of us. You brought us to the bedroom ’cause we’ve been avoiding it all week, right? So we need to stop avoiding.”

Selfish joy tangled urgency and guilt into a knot in her stomach. He’d said in one determined rush what she yearned to but wouldn’t. He trusted Henry to find a way to help him push past the rough patches.

“Otherwise we’ll let things fall apart. And I can’t let that happen. Please, Henry?”

“It’s no longer avoidance, my dear boy. Merely a concession to the late hour—”

Jesus, the bedside clock swore three hours had passed since he’d ordered them to undress.

“—and the difficult emotions you both are dealing with tonight.”

All three of them. Hearing their pain and supporting them challenged him as much as expressing the emotion did them, no question.

“But I still want—” Jay stopped and hung his head.

“It’s all right to share what you want, my boy.” Henry brushed Jay’s knee. “Or what you would prefer not happen, if that’s easier.”

Bravery seemed to have taken Jay as far as he’d go. He shrugged, punching softly at the sheets.

Henry opened his mouth, and certainty flooded her. He’d tell Jay no, that he wasn’t ready, and Jay would feel rejected. As she would if Henry turned her away later tonight.

“I could, umm…”

Two male gazes locked on her face.

Her stomach flipped.

Jay’s raised brows bespoke cautious hope.

Henry’s narrowed eyes and tilted head displayed studious interest. Figuring her out.

“I could go first.”

“You’ve something you wish to share, my dear?”

“Something I—” Admitting the fear she’d battled this week was embarrassing. “Something I don’t want to happen.” But Jay had admitted so much more, and he’d been so brave. Henry probably already knew. Saying the words might coax Jay to share his needs, too. She breathed deep to settle her stomach. “Blowjobs.”

Jay’s eyes widened, but Henry nodded encouragingly.

“I, umm, I’ve been so—you both know I love you. I know you wouldn’t hurt me. And I don’t normally, I mean, it’s not like it’s a chore. I like having my mouth on you and hearing how excited it makes you and feeling soft skin around hard need and knowing I’m in control of making you feel so good. But this week—this week it’s been so—” She shook her head, wishing she wasn’t about to cry and knowing she couldn’t prevent it, because the sting in her eyes was sharp.

“I’ve been afraid. Because you’re men. You have cocks. And I didn’t want to see them or feel them or think about them. I keep, I keep hearing his voice and seeing—” She choked back a sob. She needed to admit this. For Jay. For Henry. For herself. “He was rubbing himself through his pants and saying he was going to—he was going to fuck my mouth—and I couldn’t move and I was so, so angry and scared and hurt and I wanted out.”

Struggling for breath, she waved off Henry reaching to comfort her. She needed to finish this, to say the most important part. “And then Henry said we were leaving. And Jay picked me up. You think I’m the one who saved you, Jay, but that’s not—you both saved me, too. I needed to get out, and I don’t think I could’ve even stood up on my own, and you carried me home. To safety.”

BOOK: Healing the Wounds
7.4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Mercy Street by Mariah Stewart
Tom Clancy Under Fire by Grant Blackwood
Rebels of Mindanao by Tom Anthony
The Lion of Senet by Jennifer Fallon
Drawing Dead by Pete Hautman
Deadly Tasting by Jean-Pierre Alaux, Noël Balen
The Friendship Star Quilt by Patricia Kiyono, Stephanie Michels