Authors: A.M. Sexton
I did. He made a grunting noise, and then he was upon me, his cock hard against my ass. He pulled my hair with one hand, and, with the other, gripped my flaccid cock.
“This is not acceptable,” he growled in my ear. “I won’t tell you again.”
He let me go, almost pushing me over as he did, but I regained my balance. I took a minute to reposition the layers of fabric. My back was to him, and it gave me a moment to swallow one of the ildenaaf pills. I closed my eyes and used my hand through the silk to tease my erection to life until the il had a chance to take effect. When I turned around to face him, I found him smiling at me, the way a wolf smiles at a sheep.
“You are a lovely little whore,” he said. “And you learn fast.”
I swallowed hard and made a clumsy bow. “Thank you, sir.”
“You’re a woman tonight. Try that bow again.”
I faltered, then managed a clumsy curtsy.
“Good enough. They probably told you that last night was a test, but they were wrong. Last night was so I could make sure you were pretty enough. The real test is tonight. Do well, and you’ll be set to make a lot of money from me in the coming months. Do poorly?” He shrugged. “Well, it’s best not to think about what may happen then.”
My mouth went dry. My bile rose. My cock did, too, as if to taunt me. It wasn’t true arousal. It was purely a matter of the drug running through my veins, but he saw it. And for better or worse, he liked it. His eyes glinted at me.
“Good little whore,” he said. “Now, let’s go have dinner.”
His carriage was small, with thick, soft cushions and velvet pillows. He sat me in one seat and himself in the other, facing me. Curtains hung over the windows, and he pushed them open, allowing the waning sunlight to stream into the confined space. Still, I could barely make out the spidery tattoos of aristocracy across his cheek.
“I want to watch you get yourself off,” he said. “All the way there.”
I was glad now for the pill. I pulled my skirts up and to the side until my erection popped free. I couldn’t help but moan when I wrapped my hand around it.
“Convince me that you like it,” Donato ordered. “But don’t come.”
I began to stroke. I put my head back against the velvet pillows and began to jack myself off, like I’d done a thousand times in my life. Granted, never while somebody watched. Never while dressed as a woman. Never while sitting in rich man’s carriage, wearing silk.
I didn’t have to pretend. I took Lalo’s advice and let myself enjoy it. I savored the familiar feel of my hand on my erection. I was a bit disappointed when he said in his thick, husky voice, “Stop. We’re here.”
It took serious effort to stop my stroking. My hands shook as I straightened the green silk over my legs. He was pleased with my performance, though. A sheen of sweat glistened on his upper lip, and his pants strained around his bulging groin.
He helped me from the carriage, as if I really were a woman. The silk brushed against my erection, causing me to whimper. He put his arm around me and pulled me close. He growled into my ear. “A perfect little whore. Tonight, you’re named Jade.”
Electric lights lit the broad, cobblestone path to the front door. Inside, music played. The room was bright, filled with dresses of every color. A huge fountain filled the center of the room, but the sound of falling water was lost in the noise of the crowd. The voices were deafening. Most of the people who filled the room had tattoos on their faces or on their shoulders, either real or painted on like mine. I wondered if everybody who wore paint instead of real ink was a whore like me.
I couldn’t deny it any longer. I was a whore.
“This is a very popular place,” Donato told me. “All of these people are waiting their turn to eat. There are only a few tables, you know.” He grunted and pulled at his jacket. “The food’s not even all that good, if you want to know the truth. This place is all about being seen.” He handed me a glass of liquor. He indicated with a hand gesture that I was to drink it all in one swallow. I obeyed, and he smiled at me in approval as he took the empty glass and deposited it on a passing waiter’s tray. He held his arm out to me. I tucked my hand into his elbow, and he began to lead me through the crowd, introducing me to people left and right. I curtsied to them all. I did my best to catalog names, because I knew Anzhéla would ask. Most of them meant nothing to me, but I filed them away nonetheless. The women were demure, the men bold. One touched my collarbone on the right side, where the dress left me exposed.
“Lovely, Donato,” he said. “Where’d you find this one?”
“Imported directly from Deliphine,” Donato said.
The man raised his eyebrows. “No tattoos?”
Donato laughed and squeezed my buttock possessively. “No. This one comes of her own free will.”
I choked back a swallow of wine, and let Donato lead me to the next person I was to meet, a monster of a man, muscular to the point of vulgarity, but with a layer of fat that spoke of easy living. This man, I knew on sight.
“And here’s Benedict,” Donato said.
Benedict was the head of the police. He was the man who sent soldiers into the trenches. He was the man who ordered the raids. The wine in my stomach threatened to make an unwanted appearance as I forced a curtsy. “My lord.”
Benedict grunted at me. “You seem familiar. Have we met?”
“No, sir.” And thank the sky for that. Otherwise, I might have met Donato on very different terms, inside his courtroom, with my fate in his hands even more than it was now.
Benedict turned his leer upon Donato, revealing one gold tooth just right of center. “Going to give me a ride on this one?”
I shuddered at the thought.
“You know I don’t like to share,” Donato said, and I nearly wept with relief.
After that, it was a banker, two of the city’s seven mayors, and pinch-faced Elias, harbormaster of Upper Davlova’s private dock. I began to worry I’d never remember them all.
My erection started to wane, and I snuck another pill into my mouth. I kept a fake smile on my face. I feared my cheeks would crack from the strain. My cock tented the folds of my dress. If anybody noticed, they were polite enough to not betray their embarrassment. I began to wonder how normal this was. Did the rich folk of the hill do this type of thing on a regular basis? Was it common for a man to parade a whore through their midst? The number of slaves in the room, some of them on stylish leashes, hinted that it was.
“It’s our turn to be seated,” Donato said at last. He guided me with a hand on the small of my back, through the crowd, up a flight of stairs, around a silk screen to a private table overlooking the city.
I stared in awe at the sight of it—lights laid out below me like stars in an upside-down sky. I’d had my eyes closed in the carriage, but I realized now that wherever we were, we were high up on the hill, right in the center of the purebloods’ world. Their electric lights circled us, bright white and unwavering. Farther down, I saw the towering city wall which surrounded the upper city, hiding the trenches of Lower Davlova from sight. The taverns and their keepers. The shop owners and fish vendors. The booksellers and whores, all conveniently concealed. The wall eclipsed the dark buildings lit only by lanterns and candles, and the alleys between, which I knew as intimately as any lover. Everybody I’d ever known lived on the other side of that white stone barricade, scraping a living, some legally and some not. In the shadows beyond that wall, I’d been born, raised, trained.
From this spot on the hill, I could almost believe none of it existed.
“Like the view?” he asked.
“It can be yours, you know. Not right now. Not yet. But eventually, if you please me, you could live on this side of the wall for the rest of your life.”
“Or until you replace me.”
He laughed. It was a cruel, dark sound. “Yes. There’s always that possibility.” He grabbed my arm and dragged me backward. “Why don’t you ponder those options while I take what’s mine.” He bent me over the table, pulling at my skirts. I watched the city as he penetrated me. I grabbed handfuls of the thick white tablecloth and gritted my teeth and reminded myself that this was a job. He fucked me hard, pumping into me, calling me a whore with each and every thrust. His fingers dug into my hips. He fucked me until I feared the table would break, and finally he tensed and emptied himself into me. When he was done, he pulled me upright. He wrapped an arm around my neck.
“Can you feel my seed running down your thighs?”
“Tell me how it feels.”
“Sticky and hot. Arousing.”
“Do you like it?”
“I love it, sir.” I took his hand and guided it to my drug-induced erection, thanking the wonders of modern pharmaceutical, and the smugglers who supplied the ildenaaf, as I did. “I want you to fuck me again.”
I didn’t think I sounded very convincing, but he grunted in approval. He gripped my cock and squeezed. “Don’t worry, little whore. I will.”
He pushed me roughly into my chair. He snapped his fingers, and the wait staff came around from behind the screen.
I felt the blood rise to my cheeks. They’d been there the entire time, waiting calmly with bread and butter and glasses of wine, biding their time while he took me on their pristine table. They didn’t look at me as they put the food in front of us. My skirt was still hiked up awkwardly underneath me. I felt dirty and cheap. I bit my lip to fight back my humiliation.
I could leave. I could get up and walk out. Granted, I’d probably never find my way back to the trenches, but I didn’t have to put up with this.
Then I looked up at him. He was watching me, looking smug and pleased. Despite my nerves, I’d pleased him. I could see that now. I reached for my wine glass and my hand shook. I had to use both hands to bring it to my lips, and he smiled with satisfaction as I did. I downed the entire glass. I untwisted my skirts while the waiter poured me a second. I smiled over at Donato, who was practically beating his chest. He radiated arrogance and pride.
Pride in me.
I may have been a possession, but I could almost believe I was the thing he wanted most in the world.
“Thank you, sir,” I said, and I knew immediately I’d said the right thing.
He snapped his fingers again, and we were served.
He watched me closely during dinner, although he talked very little. “Tell me where you came from,” he said once.
I debated, sipping my wine. I knew better than to mention the trenches. “Imported directly from Deliphine,” I said, repeating his words back to him. “Just as you said. I came here of my own free will, hoping only for a chance to please you.”
He didn’t believe me, but it didn’t matter. He laughed. “Excellent answer. You really are a fast learner.”
“You were born here, though,” I said, hoping to prompt him into sharing something. “Have you always lived here?”
His eyes hardened a little bit. “I’m feeling indulgent this evening, whore. Don’t spoil it by nosing into things that aren’t your business.”
I ducked my head contritely. “I’m sorry, sir. I was only trying to make conversation.”
“If I want conversation, I’ll let you know. Until I give you an order, I expect you to sit there and look gorgeous. Nothing more.”
If nothing else, the food was delectable. There were courses and courses of it, unlike anything I’d ever eaten in my life. Things nobody in the trenches had access to. There was beef and partridge, melon and chocolate. Pungent cheese, and light, flaky pastries. It was a decadence I’d never dared dream of, and although he wasn’t inclined to conversation, he laughed with obvious delight at my amazement, urging me to try everything, pouring wine for me until my head spun. La Fontaine was practically empty by the time we left. I was giddy as he helped me back into the carriage. I felt triumphant. I had nobody left to meet. Nobody I had to impress. I knew I’d passed his test, and I couldn’t seem to stop smiling.
“No more curtsies,” he said when we were in the privacy of his carriage. “Be a man for me now.”
I pulled up the fabric to show him my erection.
He whistled through his teeth. “You’re the prettiest man I’ve ever met.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“Did you have fun?” he asked.
I laughed. I had no idea how to answer. Fun? Not exactly. But I felt amazing—strong and brave and erotic and sexy as hell.
“You were perfect,” he said. “Ravishing. Did you see the way they watched you? I was the envy of every man there.”
“I doubt that’s true.”
“Close enough. Do you want to be my whore?”
“More than anything.” An exaggeration, but only a small one.
He smiled. He reached down and undid his pants. “Come over here and show me how much.”
This time, I didn’t have to fake anything. I didn’t even have to take one of Tawny’s pills. I hiked up my skirts, straddled his lap, and sank down onto his cock. It felt good. For the first time with him, I moaned and shuddered in earnest at the way he filled me, at the carnal glint in his eyes, at the strength of his hands as he gripped my thighs.