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Authors: Annabel Joseph

Trust Me (Rough Love #3) (19 page)

BOOK: Trust Me (Rough Love #3)
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*

Was I crazy
to go back to him? Maybe. Andrew thought so, but in my heart, I wanted re-training. I wanted peace. I wanted my brain to go silent, and Price was great at making that happen. From the moment we got home, he was in Master mode, giving me no choice but to surrender.

He put on my collar as soon as we got home, and put me through my paces in the dungeon, doling out pain on the spanking bench, the rack, the sawhorse—though not the painful, pussy-torturing side of the sawhorse. He lectured me about submission as he carried out various torments, but he wasn’t angry and rough the way he sometimes was when I’d pissed him off. He was…thoughtful. Andrew had pretty much accused him of abusing me, and maybe that factored into this careful, deliberate form of training. Once he’d broken down my body, he turned my attention to his needs and desires as my Master.
Kneel. Kiss. Back straight. Open your mouth. Suck me.

I didn’t get any pleasure or orgasms myself, but I hadn’t expected to. When it was time for bed, he got out the chastity belt, plugged me and strapped me in for the night. The lesson was obvious, even without his punctilious reminders: All my lust and attention was to be centered on him.

After that, he locked me into the manacles, and used rope to secure my wrists to his headboard so I couldn’t so much as turn over without him knowing it.

“Neither one of us is going to work for the rest of this week,” he informed me as he slid into bed beside me and took me in his arms. “You’re going to spend the next few days naked and on your knees. Do you understand why?”

“Yes, Sir,” I whispered, leaning my head on his shoulder. “Thank you. I want to belong to you.” I wasn’t just babbling what I thought he wanted to hear. I was babbling my real, true feelings, because the bitter truth was that I found security in being his slave. Anger, frustration, and panic bled away when I handed him the control, and the next couple days felt a lot like the first few days I’d spent in his home: strenuous but deeply rewarding.

In the beginning it had been hard to find the slavey side of myself, but now it was easier, like relaxing into a familiar bed after a long and trying day. I still felt guilty about Simon’s death, but I could process that later, when I could get some distance and perspective. The funeral was Thursday afternoon, near the end of this re-training odyssey, and maybe that would be the best time to deal with my pent-up feelings. If Simon’s funeral didn’t bring me peace, it would at least deliver some closure on that chapter of my life.

God, I hoped so, because Price was my future, and Simon needed to become my past for that to work. I understood all of this, even as Price went on and on about forward progress and self-respect during sessions over the spanking bench.
You’re not that woman any more. You weren’t happy then. Your life was tied up in regrets and shame. I want you to let go of your past mistakes and reach your true potential. I want you to be happy.

Of course, he said this while he applied horribly painful clamps to my nipples, and whipped me, and sodomized me three times a day with miserly amounts of lube so it wouldn’t feel too good.

Re-training. Punishment. In the end, they were pretty much the same thing.

At least there was poetry. He wrote me some poetry the next day, and then set me to reading some of his favorite poets while he called in to work meetings. Byron, Eliot, Whitman, Browning, Neruda in both English and Spanish. I didn’t do any work for those days, aside from serving him, but design ideas flowed as I stroked over every line, slope, and plane of my Master’s body. I came up with concepts for new pieces, now that my mind was clearer and free of damned emotional clutter.

I belonged to Price. He loved me. It was so simple and safe and warm. He was concerned about me and wanted me to reach my true potential. I wanted to be happy because I knew that would make him happy, and nothing made me happier than my Master’s pleased smile.

I was tired by mid-week, and a little sore, but it all seemed worth it because things felt normal again, and there wasn’t a bunch of anger and tension standing between us. Then Thursday came, and I brought up Simon’s funeral.

Of course, it had crossed my mind that he might not want me to attend, but I figured I’d explain about rituals and closure, and he’d come to acknowledge my need to say goodbye. I imagined he might even insist on attending with me, so he could stand beside me and hold my hand through the most difficult parts, perhaps even brush away my tears.

All of this was so far removed from the reality of what happened, it might have been poetry in his leather-bound books.

“Do you really think it’s a good idea to go?” he asked, looking down at me. I was the supplicant, posed on my knees as he lounged on the couch.

“I think I have to go,” I said, as respectfully as I could.

“Oh, you
have
to go.” His arched brow and curt intonation told me this conversation was about to go awry. “I’m surprised you’d say that, after everything we’ve talked about this week.”

“I know, Sir. I know it’s my past, but that’s exactly why I need to go. I need to move on. I need closure.”

“Yes, you do need closure.” He reached to stroke my hair, a gentle gesture that belied the storm brewing in his eyes. “But I don’t think a PR-designed art world funeral is the place to find it.”

“Where then?”

“How about inside you? How about letting this go? How about forgiving yourself for this crime you never committed? If you go to that funeral, I know what you’re going to do.” He yanked up my chin when I tried to look away. “I know you, Chere. You’re going to whip yourself bloody, enumerating your many faults until every crying poser and art freak there is a victim of your negligence. Or mine. It’ll be my fault, right? The whole thing. The whole funeral,” he said, waving his hand. “My fault for not letting you help poor Simon face his self-inflicted demons.”

“This has nothing to do with you,” I said, and that was my fatal mistake, but I barged on anyway. “This is between me and a person I had a relationship with. If I feel guilt—If I wished I’d helped—”

“It wouldn’t have changed anything!”

“I could have done it though, even without your permission. And if I want to feel guilty about that, and go pay my last respects, I don’t see why you won’t let me do it. Why does it matter to you?”

“Your last respects,” he said in a biting tone. “The funeral’s going to be a joke, some last ditch effort to sanitize his legacy. It’s going to be a lot of people wanting to be seen, wanting to rub shoulders with the art world players.”

“So what if it is?”

“And everyone there will be culpable for the train wreck that was Simon Baldwin, not just you. There’s no honor in that, no respect. It’ll be a pack of fucking users pretending they cared for a waste of a person.”

“A waste of a person?” I choked on the harsh phrase. “Simon touched a lot of lives. His art made a lot of people happy. It’s in homes and museums all over the world. A hundred years from now—”

“Don’t.” His voice was steel, hard, a cold threat as we faced off against each other. “Don’t tell me he’s wonderful. Don’t tell me Simon is some shining beacon of humanity that we must remember.”

“I want to remember him. Just me, for personal reasons.” God, I didn’t even know anymore what those personal reasons were, or why it was so important for me to go. I just needed Price to allow me to make this decision. Otherwise I had no personal power at all. “Let me do this, please. Give me this last chance. What does it matter to you?” I said again, stupidly blundering into my own destruction.

“Jesus Christ,” he said, pulling me up from the floor. “I thought I’d explained why it mattered. I thought we’d been over this enough times.”

But we weren’t over it. I wanted to go to Simon’s funeral, and the man in front of me wasn’t going to let me go, and I was a prisoner here, naked, vulnerable, powerless, and I didn’t want to be a slave anymore, and
fuck, fuck,
fuck,
he was dragging me toward the dungeon, and I couldn’t stop him even though I fought with every ounce of my strength.

“Let me go,” I pleaded, and I didn’t know if I meant
Let me go to the funeral
or simply
Let go of my arm.

Either way, he wasn’t listening, and I wasn’t strong enough to break free of his control.

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

Suffocation

I
’d told her
she wouldn’t always like being under my control, that she wouldn’t always be happy, and she wasn’t happy now.

Bang.

She was in the cage, and she was trying to get out of it.

Bang.

She’d been trying for a couple of hours.

Bang. Bang. BANG.

“Shut the fuck up,” I yelled. “I’ve had enough of the fucking noise.”

I’d put a gag on her, but she took it off. She screamed and swore, demanding that I let her go. After our peaceful, productive week of training, all hell had broken loose because I wouldn’t let her go to that goddamn funeral. Fuck. All I’d wanted was to spend a quiet afternoon with my slave at my feet.

“Let me out,” she screamed.

I stood beside the cage watching her, not just for safety’s sake, but because I’d never seen her lose her shit to this degree. And it was over
Simon
. Fuck, she made me so furious. Didn’t she understand? This damn funeral would just cause more pointless emotional trauma.

“Let me out. I want out!”

The metallic sound of the bars rattled my nerves every time she flung herself against them. In between flailing, she kicked,
bang, bang, bang.

“Give me a safe word,” she pleaded. “I need a safe word. I’m missing the funeral, damn you. It started at three o’clock.”

“You’re not going. That’s why you’re in the cage. I told you that you weren’t allowed to go.”


Let me ouuuttt
!”

“And the fact that you’re still in there kicking and screaming—”

She went nuts again, banging her feet so hard against the bars that the metal strained. It wouldn’t break. I’d studied engineering along with architecture. I knew the cage would hold. I also knew that we were engaged in the battle of all battles, and that she needed to calm down.

“I want out,” she cried, looking up at me. “This isn’t a game. I’m not playing anymore.”

“It was never a game,” I said tightly. “Is that what you thought? That we were just ‘playing?’ That you weren’t really my slave?”

“I don’t want to be your slave anymore.” She buried her face in her hands. Her hair was a tangled mess.

I crouched down beside the cage, just out of hitting and scratching reach. “You want Simon, is that it?”

“Yes!”

I sighed and prayed for calm, and somehow refrained from pointing out, again, that her fucking ex-boyfriend was fucking dead, and that she needed to get over it. I understood about mourning and regret, but they hadn’t been together in years now, and he represented everything ugly in her past existence.

“I don’t want this anymore,” she said. “I don’t want your control anymore.”

“Is that true? Or is that only how you feel in this moment, because I’m not letting you do what you want?”

She made a sound like she’d kill me if she had the chance. “I want you to give me some space, Price. This once, just this once, let me have my way.”

“No.”

“Oh God. I hate you,” she screamed, rattling the bars again. “I’m safewording.”

“You don’t have a safe word.”

“I want you to let me go. I want you to stop being my Master.” She said something else that was eclipsed by sobs. I tugged a lock of her hair through the bars.

“I’m not keeping you in this cage as your Master. I’m doing it as a friend. As someone who cares about you. Simon—”

“Stop talking about Simon. Don’t you dare fucking talk to me about Simon ever again. I trusted you. I returned to you and went through this fucking re-training bullshit. I sucked your dick four times yesterday. Let me out!”

God, the screaming. I thought she’d calm down after a while and listen to reason. I thought she’d remember that she belonged to me, and see the wisdom in staying with me instead of going to some shitshow funeral.

“Let me out of here, damn it! I’m not kidding. I’m finished, Price. I want out. I want out! Please, I’ll lose my mind if you don’t let me out.”

“Out of the cage, or out of our relationship?”

She kicked the bars again, brutal anger and frustration. “What do you fucking think?”

“I think you need to pull your fucking shit together. When this is over—”

“It’s never going to be over.” She rolled over and crouched on her knees, and glared out at me. “Don’t you see? You’re always going to be this way. A selfish, jealous, insecure, abusive prick. You’re holding me prisoner against my will.” With each word, she shook the bars. On the last three, she rattled them hard, snapping my nerves. “Against my will. Do you understand that? I don’t want to be here. This is not consensual.”

She’d taken her collar off a long time ago, before I gagged her, before she took the gag off too, in blatant disregard for the rules. The rules didn’t matter now, though. She was rejecting our relationship, rejecting everything about it. Rejecting me.

BOOK: Trust Me (Rough Love #3)
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