SoulMates Part Fifteen: Turnabout and Deeper Learning

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Chapter 43: Introspection

I spent the weekend trying to find things that would keep my mind off what was happening in a hotel suite in Crystal City. Catching up on the yard work at my place did not help much. I went back to my place with the idea of puttering around the house and yard, doing chores that had gone undone of late. Unfortunately, there is not much gardening you can do in Northern Virginia in late October. During this time of the year, grass does not grow very fast, if at all. Leaves don't fall much before Thanksgiving around here, and pre-winter fertilizing does not take very long when you have a townhouse. Other house maintenance did not take long either, since I tend to fix things as they break.

All of which left me, at noon on Saturday, with very little to occupy my time or my mind, other than what I was trying to forget. The fifth time I caught myself reaching for the phone to call Sondra's room, I knew I had to do something that got me away from the phone. Neither of them would appreciate the interruption. I had to get out of the house. I grabbed my jacket, car keys and headed for the car.

After about an hour of aimless wandering, I found myself at the National Park at Great Falls, on the Maryland side of the Potomac River. Located along the canal built around the Potomac River Rapids in the late 1700's by a group including George Washington, the park includes miles of trails along the Potomac itself and the canal basin. If you want to, you can go all the way down to Georgetown from the parking area outside the beltway. The park was fairly deserted this cool, grey fall day and that suited my mood perfectly. After parking in the small lot near the visitor center, I headed for the canal mule trail. I mentally flipped a coin and headed down river along the path.

Normally, I took these walks listening to music or to audio books, but not today. Today, I needed to think. As so many times before in the past months, I needed to review and assess where I stood with Monique, particularly in the light of new data.

One of the things I had been clinging to, whether consciously or not, was the thought (perhaps the hope), that once I "passed" Monique's testing of my resolve and commitment, things would get "better". Now I realized that in my mind, "things getting better" had meant that she would back off, at least with regards to much of the more stringent testing and training. Rightly or wrongly, I had been approaching this whole experience as I had dealt with Plebe Summer, or with the three weeks of Marine Corps Basic Training we went through during Second Class Summer Cruise at the Naval Academy. In other words, something to endure, to get through and then to get behind me, not something that I should expect and be prepared to face regularly over the course of our entire life together.

Certainly, I had taken the tack with Monique that I would pay the price, if that was the price, to be with her. The question was "Had I really believed that was the price?". Should I expect to face her strap and whip on my sixtieth or seventieth birthday? More to the point, was I really willing to do that?

The new data that provoked this latest reevaluation was Monique's attitude this morning when she had left me to face her session with her Mistress. There was absolutely no doubt in my mind that Monique lusted after what Sondra planned for her. More than that, Monique needed what Sondra had planned for her. The converse of that realization was that the scening she had been doing with me was just as important to her. Monique was going to be hurting after Sondra got through with her, hurting enough that Sondra made provision for her to recover for more than twenty four hours afterwards. Admittedly, the worst of my experiences were ones that experienced dominants had told me (and Monique) had gone too far, but that was not the point. The point was that I did not know if I wanted her enough to face, or even if I could face regularly scheduled twenty four hour recoveries for the rest of my life.

Round and round my head spun as I trudged further and further down the trail, like some kind of mental tail chase. It was like being caught in the mental equivalent of an infinite computer do-loop, and was just about as productive. A glance at my watch brought me up short. I had been walking for over two hours. I would not get back to the parking lot until after dark at this rate and the park supposedly closed at dusk. "Way to go, Evans." I told myself disgustedly, as I turned back and started trotting back, trying to make up the time before the park closed.

The return trip took a little longer than it might have, just under an hour. I would have made it back more quickly but I could not maintain a steady jog pace over the sometimes rocky path. Spending the night out there in the cold, nursing a sprained or broken ankle would have been the final indignity. In the end, I was just in time, in more ways than one.

About a quarter mile from where my car was parked, I had to slow back to a walk, my way blocked by a large family group, also making their way back to the parking lot. There was about twenty of them, ranging in age from toddlers to a pair of elderly folks. The grandma and granddad, I thought. I watched as the family kept their pace to one that the pair could match, keeping the two of them nestled safely in the middle of the 'herd'. Twice along the remainder of the walk, one of the youngsters would run up to share some discovery or treasure with the grandfolks. Obviously, they were loved, those two. Just as obviously, they were devoted to each other. They touched each other, smiled at each other over the kids' heads when presented with the treasures, and steadfastly held onto one another's hand the entire time I was following them.

They were parked in the larger lot on the other side of the park entrance, so they continued on after I reached my Blazer. I started the engine and drove to the park exit. I called to the Park Ranger at the gate to let her know that I was not the last to leave, and she smiled at me. "I know. They are regulars. I wouldn't dream of dropping the gate till they left, but thanks for telling me."

My curiosity peaked, I tried to continue the conversation with the bubbly young woman. "Regulars, are they? They are here often?"

The girl's face lit up into a bigger smile. "Yes, at least once or twice a month. The old folks love it here and the kids love it, too. They have several family outings here each year, and usually go on the scheduled nature walks. Watching them makes me believe in love and forever. I want what they have."

Love and forever. I smiled at her exuberance and at the wish I shared with her. "I think you are right, Ranger. Take care." I drove off as two vans pulled up to the gate. In my mirror, I watched the Ranger waving enthusiastically to the occupants. She was definitely right. And I wanted what they had, too.

And there was only one person I could see, walking up the mule path with me in twenty five years, and that was Monique. Whether I made that walk with a spanked butt or not, it was still Monique who completed the picture, whose hand was steadfastly holding mine. Briefly, I wondered if the old woman ever spanked her mate. Shaking my head and surprised that I could smile at the thought, I drove off feeling more certain than I had when I had arrived.

Arriving home, I packed a hanging bag with a suit for Monday, tossed some fresh toiletries in my shaving kit and headed back to Great Falls. Back to Monique's house. Back to our home.

Chapter 44: Scene Aftermaths

I slept in Monique's bed. It felt damned strange to be there without her, but comforting, too. I got up at about 8 am, made coffee and read the Sunday Post. After cleaning up the bedroom, the bathroom and the kitchen, I took the opportunity to explore the house more fully. I was still awed by the size of the place. The third floor was not even in use, although it was tastefully decorated like the rest of the place. Two of the bedrooms on the second floor (there were five) were decorated with children in mind. Monique's doing? I wondered, and shivered at the thought of Monique nurturing our child.

I found the control center for the dungeon rooms, next to the door that led down to the basement play area. It was like the main security office at our headquarters. The main wall was dominated by six video monitors. When I turned on the power at the main console, they started scanning across the dozen or so rooms and bathrooms down in the basement. One of the cameras scanned the sitting room where I had been strapped. Something caught my eye, but the monitor moved to another room before I could figure out what it was.

I scanned the control console and figured out how to take manual control of the monitors and then paged through the cameras until I was viewing the elegant sitting room again. I sat there, looking. Something was wrong, but for the life of me, it escaped me. Finally, I gave up, powered the system back down and headed to the basement.

The room was the same as I remembered it from Roselie's tour of it. Soft lighting, comfortable furniture and hidden traps. I knew that Monique had never intended it for the use she had made of it with me. Before me, everyone who entered there did so freely, and of their own will. God, why did the opening line from Bram Stoker come to me, now? I moved around, trying to figure out what was wrong when it finally hit me. It was the fireplace.

It was a gas fire, but there was ash in the hearth. I moved to the hearth and stirred the pile of rubble under the gas jets. This was a fire hazard. Those jets had to be kept clear to burn safely. I had just begun to clear out the ashes, when a still solid object came clear of the ash. I picked up the charred piece of wood. I saw it, touched it, but I was not sure I believed what I held. It was the mahogany handle from the leather strap that Monique had shown me before my ordeal in this room. She must have burned it in the gas fire at some point after I was out of the room. Probably while Jennifer was examining me. Not only that, but judging by the amount of ash, I guessed she had burned more than just the strap. Perhaps the whip and the cane she had told Jennifer she had originally intended to use on me made up the rest of the remains I saw here. I cleaned up the mess and then went back up stairs. I had more to think about.

Monique's car pulled up at a little after four in the afternoon. She made her way slowly into the house, every step careful and deliberate. I recognized the signs of muscle distress in the large muscle groups in the backside in her movements from my own experiences. I met her at the door and hugged her. She returned my embrace, but weakly. One look at her and I knew she was exhausted. I considered carrying her, but thought better of it. She might be doing some female "macha" thing, proving herself to me. I did not want to get into an argument with her just then, so I got about as subtle as I am capable of being. I put an arm around her waist and pulled her close to me as we walked into the house, hip to hip. That let me bear much of her weight while letting her walk.

I took her straight to the bedroom and set about getting her settled for bed. She was dressed in the skirt she wore to work Friday and a too tight blouse I did not recognize. Probably Sondra's I thought. She wore no underwear, and that was not surprising. Bruises covered her buttocks and the backs of her thighs. Her nipples were swollen and erect, and colored an unusually dark shade of pink. I could only assume she had gotten a full measure of clamps and other pinching things on them. I was sure that panties or a bra would have been very uncomfortable for her. I got her one of the muscle relaxers that Jennifer had given her for me, and rubbed a heating salve into the worst of the bruising. By the time, I was finished, she was sound asleep, without having said more than "hi" to me.

I sat on the bed for a long time, simply staring at her bruised bottom as she slept on her tummy. Whatever it was that she had been looking forward to finding in that scene, she still had to come home like that. She still had to face days of sitting carefully, of steeling herself at work to give no sign of her discomfort. I still did not understand.

I loved her. I needed her. I would take whatever was necessary, I would do what ever was necessary to have her in my life, to be able to call her my wife. But I did not understand, and I wondered, if I ever would. I wondered if I ever could.

Chapter 45: Back to Work and A Surprising Scene

The alarm roused us both for work. Monique moved with quiet assurance through her morning rituals, as if showing any hint of the discomfort she had to be feeling was beneath her. After a quick breakfast, we were on our way to the office.

At work, she was efficient, but unusually quiet in her dealings with Roselie, with me or with any of people who came to meet with her. We got huge amounts of work done, but without any of the byplay and kibitzing that usually enlivened and enhanced the office. Toward the end of the day, I stood staring at the door that closed her back into her office after one of the stark, humorless and pointed exchanges that had been the modis operandi for this day.

Roselie saw my confused concern. "It is normal, Nate. She is always introspective and subdued like this after she submits to Sondra. She will be fine." I looked at her, disbelieving. "She probably had a great time. I was worried this weekend would be really rough for her, but this is about how she always is after Sondra tests her. Monique considers it her duty to continue to prove she is worthy to domme... she takes what she expects of others. Frankly, I don't know who she has to prove it too. Herself, I guess."

I shook my head. "But you should have seen her, Roselie. Her bottom..."

"Is probably in technicolor and is probably giving her a constant reminder of what Sondra did to her this weekend. Haven't you noticed how deliberately she moves? Or that she is wearing flats instead of her power heels in the office? Less stress on those bruised glutes that way, Nathan. But, she is all right. I was afraid that Sondra was going to take her to hell for what she..." Roselie hesitated, then pushed on. "For what we did to you. Evidently, Sondra is too much the Prima Domme to do that in a scene. Or perhaps, both of them took you at your word. In any case, she is no worse off than she was the last time Sondra was here." She giggled. "Truth to tell, I think she likes it... Subbing that is, at least every once in a while. Now, get to work. She will need that report. She always gets two or three days work done in a day when she is like this."

And we did get a phenomenal amount of work done that day, even though we took a long lunch hour to see Sondra off at Washington National Airport. Monique cried softly as she hugged Sondra outside the metal detectors in the terminal. Sondra was misty eyed as well. I marveled at the bond between these two women.

I was a bit surprised when Sondra hugged me fiercely. "You are very good for her, young man. She needs someone who cares so much for her. She does not yet know how badly she needs that, but she is coming to understand. Be strong, Nathan. I want to dance at your wedding." I was speechless. After the confrontation in the office, and my adamant refusal to submit to her, this unqualified support came as a complete surprise. I hugged her back and mumbled something incoherently affirmative.

Monique was even more subdued the remainder of the day. I tried to keep a close, inconspicuous watch on her. If she needed me, I wanted to be there.

It was after seven when Monique and I made our way back to her car for the ride home. Monique drove and headed us toward her Great Falls home. She sighed audibly as we pulled onto Interstate 66. "Nathan. You can stop watching me like a hawk. I am all right."

I had not been as covert as I had thought. "Sorry." It was all I could think of to say.

"Look, Nate. I know you have a hard time imagining it, and I accept blame for much of that problem, but I really did want to go to Sondra. She is a marvelous domme and it was a very rewarding experience for me." She was showing more emotion than I had seen from her since she left on Saturday for her appointment with Sondra.

I leaned back into the cushioned seats and closed my eyes. "Yes, I know. To tell you the truth, that is what is bothering me so much - the fact that you did want to go, and the fact that you did enjoy your session."

Her eyebrows rose into the loose curl of hair that had escaped her twist. "That is bothering you? That I wanted and enjoyed what Sondra and I did?"

"I didn't mean it that way," I hastened to assure her. "I don't begrudge you any pleasure, Monique. I hope you know that. No, what bothered me is that you could and did want it; that you could and did enjoy it. Especially when I am not sure I ever will be able to do either." I told her about the long walk at Great Falls on Saturday, and about the older couple who were still so in love. "I can't imagine anyone but you there, Monique. But, for all my intentions and determination to give you what you need, if you what you need is my whole hearted acceptance of these games of yours - if you define that as my looking forward to them and taking pleasure in them ... Well, that may well be the one gift I can never give you."

She looked at me out of the corner of her eye. "We are still talking about your submission, no, your bottoming, being the price to be paid, aren't we, Nathan. Something that must be done, not for the joy of it, in and of itself, but for other reasons, other goals." She grimaced. "For payment." She made the word sour and ugly.

Weary beyond words now, I nodded, then remembered she could not see me in the dark as she drove us home. "Yes, Monique. The painful, blunt truth is that if you said you never wanted to play a dominance and submission game ever again, I would probably cheer at this point in my life. But I know that you won't do that, and I also know that I don't stand much chance of being in your life if I leave that part of you unsatisfied."

We drove on in silence for several miles, the air dark and heavy between us. "Nate?" She broke the silence. "I have been very clumsy with you. You should know that. Sondra was right about that. It is just that I want so much from you, so much for you. In the end, I pushed too hard and listened too little. Every time you started to open to me, I took you too far, too fast. I pressed beyond limits I knew or should have known were there. Whether we stated them explicitly as limits or not is irrelevant - we did not negotiate my right to do them to you, yet I did them anyway. I could have done this differently, should have done this differently." She did not stop at the turnoff to her house, instead kept on driving down the dark, winding road.

"I am not quitting, Monique. I love you. That is not going to change."

"And I love you, too, Nathan Evans. Enough to make a deal with you."

"What kind of deal, Monique?"

"Simply this. We are at the end of October. Give me two more months, Nathan. Two more months to show you what D&S can bring to a relationship. Two months to be the domme I was taught to be with the man I love. If at the end of those two months, you still feel this way, if I have not found that gift I talked about that begins to match yours to me, then I will stop trying to play with you this way."

"What happens then, Monique? If I can't find value in this gift, do we part ways? That is not much of a deal."

She laughed quietly. "Silly man. You are not ever getting away from me. I told you that I would stop with you. You are the only man I will ever love. However, I do love Roselie and Sondra, and they will provide the outlet for my darker fantasies and needs."

"You think that is enough, Monique? You won't resent me for not providing you that spark? I will tell you, that right now, I can't imagine any other result from that bargain." She turned into a small market parking lot to turn around and head back towards her home.

"Then, so be it. And on my own head, as well, Nathan. I love you, too, and I can't imagine anyone else at my side at Great Falls, either. Do we have a deal?"

I thought about it. My own plan, formulated that weekend, was much more open ended. At least now, she seemed to be making a commitment to my enjoyment, as much or more than her own. "All right, Monique. You have your two months." What else could I say?

Chapter 46: The New Deal

I more or less moved in full time at Monique's home. I had my own room, but did not use it much more than I used my own house. For all intents and purposes, we lived as man and wife. We arrived home from work together, went to work together and did the myriad things that newlywed couples do. We took walks together, quite forgetting the existence of any other human being. We cooked meals together, cleaned up together, slept together. We even started making plans for a wedding and for our life together.

We also worked harder on Monique's deal. True to her word, the games were different now. Even her approach to the games was different. For one thing, she started calling me a 'bottom'. Actually, it was rather humorous, afterwards, because the first time she had used that term with me, I had gotten rather upset. Was she calling me an ass?

She'd asked what had happened to upset what she thought was a smoothly flowing and exciting session. When I told her what had set me off, she carefully explained that "bottom" was different from a "submissive". A bottom took the submissive role in play, but that is all it really was - a role for play, and not the real orientation of that person. "I am going to work at calling you that, Nate, so that I always remind myself who I am dealing with."

It became our habit to play, in at least some small way, every night. Over the next few weeks, Monique slowly built up her catalog of what games turned me on, what games turned me completely off, and which ones were in between. For example, Monique in any kind of sexy attire, be it leather, latex, satin, silk, whatever, turns me on. Wearing leather for me is neutral, wearing rubber for me is a turnoff. Dressing up as Natalia, in general, remains neutral, however, making love to Monique while we both wore silky lingerie was surprisingly exciting. Slow building, sexy hand spankings, turned out to be arousing for me, particularly when I am draped over Monique's stocking covered lap. But if she goes too far, or too fast, I quickly grow limp and probably angry. Bondage is okay, up to a point. Combined with teasing and titillation and I am hard as a rock. Too long a session or too stringent a position and I become bored, disinterested or both. Orally loving Monique is always a turn on. Since I know that Monique is always clean and fresh when we play, it does not much matter to me where I stick my tongue as long as Monique likes it. If she is aroused, I am not far behind her. Nipple tormenters like clamps are okay, but mostly neutral.

"Cock and Ball Torture", or CBT as Monique refers to those games, are an iffy thing for me. Frankly, it is nothing like it sounds, and in most cases, very arousing, but I cannot seem to bring myself to completely trust those toys of hers with their weights and locks and teeth. In the end, her CBT toys stay in the toybag, but they are not be a regular adjunct to our games. I have promised to consider playing those games, but she has to ask first, prior to the session, and she has promised to abide by my wishes in each of those instances.

Some things just did not work at all, and in some cases, for either of us. She tried some "play piercings" using surgical lancelets in my nipples and my ears. I just went rigid, and I don't mean my cock. I bleed pretty freely when cut, and a little blood goes a long way. I looked a mess by the time those things had been consigned permanently to the trash.

Other than those specific instances, life together was actually moving along quite well. Everyday, I became more confident that I could do it, that we could be what the other needed. One Saturday, two or three weeks after Monique had gone to Sondra, I even consented to a fairly strict corporal session. I also consented to having Roselie participate, assisting Monique as a domina.

It was an all day affair, with both women lording it over me, and having a fine time of it. Roselie "met" Natalia again, and pronounced herself impressed. "How come you did not bring Natalia to the office Halloween party, Monique?" She asked as I served her a glass of wine.

Monique smiled her wicked, happy smile. "Maybe next year, darling. She is not fully trained yet." And I just knew she would try it, too. I wondered what inducement she would try to achieve that goal. It would have to be huge.

I spent the day, pampering both women, waiting on them hand and foot. Every little "indiscretion" or 'failure to give proper service' was met with some sexy, sometimes silly little punishment. The women were treated to a veritable smorgasbord of sexual delights, orgasming often throughout the day. My fingers and tongue were kept very busy by my two insatiable Ladies of the House. A couple of times, they got it on together while I watched, bound in a chair or to a hassock. At no time during the day was I allowed to orgasm. In fact, my old friend, the chastity made a reappearance early in the afternoon. The damn thing still fit, too.

The culmination of the day took place in the cellar dungeon, in the room with the colonial stocks and pillory. My feet were trapped in ankle stocks so that I was standing with me feet spread about two feet apart on the floor. My hands and head were locked in another set of stocks that made me bend at the waist to lay my head into the opening. Basically, my back was parallel to the floor and my legs made a perfect right angle to my back. My ass was presented perfectly.

I was to be strapped - two dozen strokes. Monique "warmed me up" with one of the gently escalating spankings that we had learned arouse me, before she proceeded with the main event. In spite of my trepidation, I was rampently erect by the time she stopped the spanking and picked up her (new) spanking strap. Fool that I am, I had bought the damned thing as a present for her, knowing she would use it on me. It would be really dumb except for the smile of sheer joyous pleasure it brought to her face.

The first blow struck with a loud >thud<, but with none of the pain that had followed the strokes those long weeks ago. A second blow followed, causing tingles this time, but still, no real pain. "Roselie!" Monique was in her "Mistress voice" now. "Get over here. His balls are hanging precariously near where I want to work." Roselie, wearing nothing but heels and a smile, strutted to where I was restrained. Grinning mischievously, she planted a sexy kiss on my mouth and then slipped out of sight, moving underneath me and behind the shoulder stocks. Surprisingly cool fingers gently caressed, then circled my scrotum above my balls and pulled them forward, out of the "line of fire". Her silky hair tickled my stomach and my thighs. Her breath whispered across the hard length of my erection. Just knowing she was that close made me even harder.

The third blow came, this one harder, and bit sharply into my ass. In spite of my determination to take it without flinching, I arched my back, instinctively trying to escape the bite of the next blow. I regained control and moved back, trying to present for Monique, and for Monique's pleasure. The fourth blow was even sharper, this one hurting and I again flinched. This time, my arching forward thrust away from Monique's strap was met by a hot, wet, sucking embrace on my cock. It was so unexpected, so sexy that my eyes nearly crossed at the intensity of the sensation.

The combination of my highly aroused state and Roselie's incredible art had me thrusting into her mouth, trying to increase the sensation. And every outstroke was met by the strike of the strap on my humping ass. Each blow was harder. I knew that I must be bruising, but it no longer seemed to matter. All that mattered was the mouth that was driving me insane.

Suddenly, the strap was gone. Strong hands gripped my hot buttocks and spread them. Something hard and very slick slid between my cheeks and straight into my anus. Monique's training paid off, because whatever it was slipped in without discomfort. Womanly thighs brushed against the back of my own, and firm, round breasts laid against my back. Monique was making anal love to me with one of her strap on dildos as Roselie tried to suck my soul out of me. Monique's arms hugged me and her hands began teasing at my nipples as she kept up the steady thrusting in time to Roselie's sucking.

I went berserk. I am surprised that I did not break something, either a bone or one of the stocks. I have never orgasmed like that in my life. I passed out from the intensity of it.

When I came to, I was lying on the floor, released from the stocks. Both women were petting me and cooing over me. They helped me to my feet and took me upstairs where they both helped clean me in Monique's indecently large shower. It is an indication of how wiped out I really was that being in the shower with two soapy slick, gorgeous women did not rouse me from my fugue. I slept cuddled between Roselie and Monique that night.

The next morning, my bottom was a little tender and somewhat bruised, but nothing that I could not deal with. And the combination of oral sex with the strapping had made the actual scene intensely sexy. Monique was over the moon over the success of her scene, and I was happy for her. "Now, all we have to do was ensure that all corporal scenes include Roselie." I told her with a smirk.

"Oh yeah? Well, don't get too used to it, Mr. Evans. That cock is mine! Roselie only gets to have it when I say so and only when you have both been very good!" She retorted saucily.

What could I do? I scooped her up and carried her off back to the bedroom, where I demonstrated just how good I could be.

Chapter 47: A New Scene, and A First Topping

It was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. So far, Monique's deal had worked out pretty well for both of us. I had dealt with her scenes and had even learned to enjoy some of them, and Monique had been able to introduce some fairly rough play without stepping over the invisible line we had drawn together.

I arrived at work, prepared for the recommenced Wednesday mini-scenes. Since today was a mini-scene day, Monique had me spend the night at my house so that we could both prepare our respective "surprises" for the other. My offering today was actually not a panty at all, but rather a satin and silk loin cloth. It was as close as I could come to a "Thanksgiving theme" without having turkeys or Pilgrim hats on them. Sadly, the Pilgrims were not much into the sensual side of things and there was not much you could do with them that was sexy. I smiled, thinking whether Monique accepted the offering or not, there would be two bare pussies all day today in the office since the loin cloth did not cover those essentials. One change that had occurred since Roselie had played with us was that now I bought both women a pair of the panties I wore to work. Monique had decided that if she had to come to work bare bottomed, so would her secretary-sub.

I laid out my gift wrapped boxes on my desk, and set about starting the work day. Roselie arrived and shortly stuck her head in my office. "Nate, do you know where Monique is? She is not in her office and she did not leave me a message about a meeting."

I looked up, somewhat surprised. "No, Rosie, as a matter of fact. I have not heard her arrive yet today." I checked my voice mail, but there was nothing on it from Monique. "Call her home. I will call my place and see if she tried to reach me and missed me."

I called my answering machine. >you have .... one .... message< the electronic device said in its toneless, staccato voice.

"Nathan, Oswald just called me." Jacob Oswald was the Chief Financial Officer at Corporate Headquarters, and one of the three officers above Monique in the office hierarchy. Along with the Chief Operating Officer, James Farquare, Oswald worked for Albert Pendleton, the office Chief Executive Officer. He wielded a great deal of power as the budgetary officer of the company and had a notorious reputation for holding grudges. "I have to meet with him at seven am. I won't be in the office until whatever he wants is complete. Please stick to the office in case I need something quickly. Love you, Nate." A kissing sound tickled my ear. "See you as soon as I can, love."

I called Roselie into the office and filled her in, then set about making sure that nothing hot was languishing on Monique's desk, either.

It was almost lunchtime when Monique stormed past my office door and slammed hers behind her. I stepped out of my office to see an alarmed Roselie looking at the still vibrating door. "Any indication what set her off?" I asked. She shook her head slowly, still staring at the door. "Well, better not let it fester." I headed into my office and picked up the bright parcels and opened my door into her office.

What greeted me was Monique stalking about her office, swearing and cursing a blue streak. Her coat was half on/half off the large couch in her office, her purse was upside down in her desk chair and her brief case was on the floor in the far corner away from the door to the main reception area. She saw me and rounded on me, fury etched on every feature. "Damn the man! Damn his black paternalistic, good old boy soul!"

I kept quiet. I had nothing to add to this conversation.

"The bastard insisted on treating me like a 'nice girl'" the word came out with the force of gutter curse words, "He all but patted me on the head and told me to go play with my dollies. Said I should consult you to straighten up my budget submissions if I was having trouble with the finer points."

It was all clear. Oswald had sprung a budget review on her without warning, and had caught her cold. Hell, those budget numbers had been submitted two months ago for next year's operations. Not only that, but the silly fool had spoken condescendingly and disparagingly of her abilities in those areas. I walked over to her desk and sat down in my usual chair.

"What are you going to do? Those budget numbers are solid. There is not a bit of fat in them."

She moved slowly to her desk, and moved her purse from the chair. I watched her visibly fighting to harness her anger as she settled into the chair. "I ... am ... not ... sure." Her words came out raggedly, with deep breaths in between as she tried to calm her self. "As you say, the numbers are good and in line with the fiscal guidance. We can't do our job with less."

"Will Oswald back off?"

"He is not noted for it. Only person he listens to with any regularity, other than the CEO of course, is Jim Farquare."

I nodded. Everybody listened to the COO because it was an open secret that when Pendleton retired next year as CEO, Farquare would move into the top spot. Oswald was a toad, but he was too smart a toad to ignore someone who could fire him in a year. "Anything he can do for you? He likes your work." That was an understatement. Since the abortive briefing, I had learned that Farquare was Monique's "sea-daddy" as we called them in the Navy. Someone who mentored you and saw to the little things that made it easier for you to fit in and advance on board the ship. Farquare was definitely on Monique's Fan Club.

"I don't know, Nate. I really hate to ask for help. Dammit, this is not just business, it is personal, too."

I shook my head. "That is where you are wrong. If you take it personally, it is. Treat it as a problem with the company, something that needs to be dealt with. Use the budget as an in with Farquare. Show him the budget, show him the reasoning, and then discuss the substance of the meeting with him, not the personalities. Let him draw his own conclusions. Farquare is a straight shooter. Oswald will get the idea."

She looked at me, obviously not liking the idea, but not having any better ones to offer. I stood up, leaving the package on her desk and walked to the main door. I opened it and called to Roselie. "Rosie, see if you can get Monique in to see Mr. Farquare, please. It is important. She will need at least a half hour, more would be better." I closed the door after her acknowledgement and turned back to Monique. She held my offering in her hands, a sadly pensive look on her face.

"We can't play today, Nate. Or tonight either. I am too angry. I can't trust myself to domme safely in this kind of emotional state."

I thought about it. Maybe... "Okay, then, how about you let me run the show tonight?"

A wary look crossed her face. "You? Top me? Nate, I am not sure that is such a good idea. You have not been trained as a dominant."

"Nothing extreme, love. Just things you have already shown me you like, except I decide how fast we go and where. Anytime you say stop, we stop. Simple as that. No decisions, just me driving you crazy." I waggled my brows at her lecherously. She laughed for the first time that day.

She regarded me thoughtfully. She was definitely intrigued by the images her mind was conjuring up, this lady of mine. Finally, she nodded. "All right, under those conditions, I accept. And you better be good, Evans. Mistress Monique will be grading your efforts." I grinned and handed the box back to her.

"Put these on after you talk to Farquare, love." Her eyes went wide and then she giggled. She picked up the gift box and deposited it in her recovered briefcase. I sat back down and started sketching out the pitch she would need. "Okay, now we figure out the best way to deal with Farquare."

The meeting with Farquare was anticlimactic. It went perfectly. He even called Oswald with her still in his office and told him that Monique's budget was exactly in line with his (Farquare's) directions. After that, the budget had been approved over the phone with no more hassles. Better still, on her way out of his office Farquare had told Monique that he would see that she did not have to go through this again. She came into the office as elated as she had been furious that morning. She flew into my office, high on her success.

"It was just as you said, Nathan. He backed me, not Oswald. We won!"

"You are the one who won, Monique. It was your budget."

She gave me a cross look. "I said that we won, Mr. Evans. I would never have gone to Farquare, and even if I had, my approach would have been different and probably wrong. It was your idea and your strategy." She closed my door and then jumped into my lap, hugging me tightly and kissing me soundly. "I am going to make you feel so good tonight, lover!" She whispered in my ear.

I nipped her ear and whispered "Ah, but I am the one who is going to be doing the doing tonight, lover. Remember?" She jerked upright and stared surprised into my eyes. "Yes, I can see you do." I kissed her possessively on her mouth and then boosted her back up off my lap. "Now, get to work. I have a lot of plans for tonight, lady, and I would not want you to be late for any of them." She gave me a wicked smile, blew me a kiss and headed for door to her office.

She stopped in the open door and turned back to me. "Oh Nathan?" Her voice sing-songed the question. I looked up to see her holding her skirt up around her waist. The loin cloth fluttered enticingly about her hips and legs, a dark smudge of color through the fine cloth outlining her lovely puss. "You are right, by the way. I did remember, lover." She spun on her heels and then flipped the back of the loincloth into the air, giving me a view of her lovely bare ass just before the door went shut behind her.

I wasn't quite so confident about this spur of the moment plan when it came time to leave. What did I know about pulling off such scenes? Particularly one with a woman who had been so 'up' after that scene with Sondra. I had seen the aftermath of that scene on her buttocks and thighs. Well, this scene would be nothing like that, and if that was not good enough, then it would be one more thing that went into the "Not a turn on" list.

I had spent my time since telling her we would do this thinking through everything I had read, everything I had experienced since I had embarked on this journey with Monique. I had an idea or two of what to do.

We picked up deli sandwiches on the way home. Monique rode the entire way with her skirt up around her hips, sitting with a cheek of her fanny in each hand. Every once in a while I would tell her to give those cheeks a squeeze.

I ushered her into the house, with her fanny still gripped firmly in her hands. God, but I love her ass. Some men look at breasts and go crazy, me, I go for a firm, round butt, and Monique has one of the best I have ever seen. I put the sandwiches in the microwave and turned to my lady. "Dear? Please, take off your jacket and your skirt for me."

Monique's eyebrows rose in surprise. "My skirt and jacket, Nathan?" I nodded. "Yes sir." In moments, she stood before me in her white blouse, garter belt, stockings and heels. And the loin cloth which I quickly divested her of. The front of her blouse fell just above the tiny 'v' of her mons veneris, while the tails fluttered suggestively about the top of the crease of her ass. I pulled her into my arms and getting a firm grip on her buttocks, ravaged her mouth with a kiss that I did not know I was capable of. Her eyes were half lidded when I released her, breathing heavily myself.

"Another kiss like that, and we won't do anything other than spend the night on the kitchen floor making love."

A very female, very satisfied smile flitted across her lips. "I can think of worse fates, Nathan." She exuded pure sexual allure and promise. I was two heartbeats from doing exactly that when the >>ding<< of the microwave brought me back.

I kissed her again, hard and quick, then spun her around toward the microwave. "Get the sandwiches, woman, and bring them and something to drink into the den. I am hungry." I beat a hasty retreat from the kitchen to get myself under control. A soft, feminine chuckle behind me told me she saw my ploy for the strategic retreat that it was.

She brought the sandwiches and drinks in on a tray. We ate in companionable silence, trading little glances at each other. Finally, she cleared her throat, and I looked up, meeting her eyes. "Ummm, Nathan, I thought you were going to top me tonight."

I nodded. "That's the plan, sweetheart."

Her confusion showed in her eyes. "Well, we have been home now for over an hour. You haven't even told me what to call you. Are we going to play or not?" She sounded just a tad testy.

Grinning, I reached over to her and lifted her chin gently. "Darling, are you, or are you not, sitting here, with your sweet feminine charms on display for my masculine enjoyment?" My hand that had been holding her chin trailed slowly down her body to gently comb her pubic hair with my finger tips. She flushed, then nodded. "As to what you call me, I am rather fond of 'Nathan', dear."

"Now, why don't you lead the way up to your bedroom, dear? I think the time has come for your test." That got her attention. 'Test' in Monique's terminology usually means a corporal session of some type. I could tell she really wanted to question me, but one of her ground rules is that I never question her about a scene ahead of time, that I take it as it comes. In this case, her own restrictions restrained her and she did not like it. "All you have, Monique, is my promise that nothing will happen you have not personally shown me you like. With a few twists, of course." I grinned at her little dilemma. "Now get going. I want to watch that lovely bottom of yours swaying as you go up the stairs ahead of me."

She wrinkled her nose pertly at me, and then moved off toward the stairs. She gave a whole new meaning to the word "slink". By the time we reached the bedroom, I was painfully hard. This was going to be really hard to pull off, and not because I had any qualms about what I had planned. Rather, because I was going to be hard pressed not to end it too quickly by fucking the hell out her.

I followed her into her very feminine bedroom. "Stand over by the wall mirrors, facing the bed, darling." Those mirrors were set up like the mirrors at clothing stores - three mirrors on angled walls so that you could see every side of the person standing before them. With Monique facing me, I could simultaneously enjoy every bit of her luscious body without her having to change her position.

The room was dark, lit only by dimmed track lighting. "Present yourself to me, darling. Show me every feminine inch of you. Make me so wild for you that I will forget my little test for you tonight." She started to move toward me. I held up a hand. "Ah-ah. Only rule is you cannot touch me. You have to make me want you with your purely feminine wiles."

A single eyebrow rose as she accepted the challenge. Her mouth turned up into a grin of utterly feminine power. She laughed, a low, throaty laugh that was everything sexy and confident in a woman. "You don't stand a chance, Nathan." I swallowed hard thinking that she just might be right.

Languidly, she turned her back to me, and lifted her hands to her hair. Slowly, she slid hairpins from her working hairdo, letting one dark auburn lock after another bounce down from her back. The contrast of white silk and dark fire made my throat dry. I loved her hair and she knew it. She impudently tossed the last pin over her shoulder at me and then sensuously finger combed the silken mass of hair until it hung, shimmering in the dim light, to the small of her back. My fingers itched to sink themselves into the fiery mass.

She shook that crimson mane so that it fell over her face and breasts like a shimmering cloak of red silk. Her hands disappeared under the concealment of her hair to her white silk blouse. In the shadowed image of the mirror, I watched as the blouse parted, all the buttons freed, but all I saw was her belly. Everything above remained veiled. The silk whispered against her arms as the blouse fell from her arms to pool behind her black office pumps. The garter belt followed, as she undid each clasp on her smoke colored stockings before letting the bit of white satin fall. A front clasping lace brassiere seemed to appear by magic from beneath her 'hair shirt' and likewise, fluttered to the floor.

With great care, she bent over, presenting her lovely ass to me, but still hiding her breasts, while she slowly rolled each of the stockings down her legs in turn. She slipped off each shoe, only to put it back on after that leg's hose joined the growing pile of feminine dainties on the floor about her feet.

She rose and turned to face me, her eyes, lips and nipples peeking out at me among the silky strands of her hair. Putting her fists to her hips, she tossed her head, fling her hair back from her face and breasts into a wild, sensuous disarray of glistening heat. Her face took on a cast of uniquely feminine arrogance, a smile of total victory played teasingly on her lips. There was no doubt in her mind that she had won, and that the next move on my part would be to ravish her.

And that was the only thing that stopped me. In this sensuous battle of the sexes, I would not be the loser. If all went well, maybe we both would win, but I was not going to lose that easily. So I sat there, enjoying the vision of womanly beauty and feminine power that was Monique Sanderson, the woman I loved. Many times she had done this to me, during a scene, just watched me, looked at me, making me feel like she saw every fault, every imperfection inside and out. It never failed to make me cringe, at least a little, and I wondered how Monique would react to the treatment. I grinned slowly at the thought of it.

That got a reaction! Her chin rose a few degrees higher, her smile became a little less confident, but she would be damned if she would give in to what she had to recognize as one of her own games. My grin broadened, and her spine stiffened. If she was a male, her reaction would be pure macho. What was it in a woman? I would have to ask her later. Much later.

I stood and walked over to my love. As I approached, I saw that she was breathing heavily, that her nipples were erect and hard, that her skin was dewy with her perspiration. I was not the only one affected by our interplay, but I was the only one dressed. It was not much, but it was an advantage and I took full advantage of it. I scooped her up into my arms, one under her shoulders, one under her knees, and kissed her deeply. Her arms came around my neck as she pulled my head down to intensify the kiss. I carried her to the bed, and set her gently down to lie on the bed.

Trying to emulate her own care and deliberation of a few minutes before, I undid the knot on my necktie and slipped it off. I knelt one knee onto the bed beside her and slipped the tie through the ornate metal working of the bedstead. Bending over her, I kissed her again while taking each of her wrists in one of my hands. Continuing the kiss, I lifted her hands above her head to where the ends of my tie rested on her pillow. I slipped each end into one of her hands. Kissing her one more time I moved back to look into her arousal glazed eyes. "Test time, sweetheart, but a very easy one. All you have to do, is orgasm. When I tell you too, of course, and by my touch." Her eyes were wide as she listened. "If you let go of my tie, I will stop what I am doing until you get a grip again. And if you should bring yourself to orgasm, then you fail my little test." I bent down to suck lightly on her lower lip. "Oh... if you can't take it, just use our safe word, love, and you can cum as soon and as much as you want to."

Still dressed, I slid down the bed, and pulled off her pumps. Getting kicked with those stilettos was not on my agenda. I pulled my bag of tools out from under the bed where I had collected them while Monique had been finishing the dinner preparations. Oil glistened on my hands as I massaged her calves and feet, working out the kinks I knew followed a long day in her power shoes. "Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Nathan, that feels marveloussss.." she hissed in spite of herself.

I changed to a different preparation as I worked above her knees - this oil was safe to ingest and I planned to do a lot of ingesting this evening. The liquid was cool to the touch and her skin was getting hotter by the second as her arousal grew. Every erogenous zone, every little hot button discovered over the months of learning to please this woman was teased, massaged and fondled. Except for the ones in the six by six inch square at the apex of her lovely thighs. I kissed the hollow of her throat, licked at the little indentations behind her ears, nibbled at her aureoles and nuzzled her belly. I ran my fingernails along her ribs, grazed her thighs with my knuckles and gently mauled her heaving breasts with loving firmness.

And I kissed her every way I could think of. Deep, ravaging explorations of her mouth to teasing nipping tastes of her lips. It was during one of the teasing kisses, that she broke first, wrapping her arms around me and trying to pull me down to her for more in depth kisses. I do not know how, but I did stop. When her lips locked on my suddenly unresponsive mouth, her eyes went wide in astonishment. I simply held my position and she realized what had happened. It was almost funny how frantically she grabbed for the tie.

I moved to her pussy, and lavished every bit of love I felt for her there. She was soaking. "God, Monique, you are delicious. So very sweet and spicy hot at the same time." I forced myself to simply taste, to savor and not to glut myself on her. Not yet.

Every muscle in her was contracting and relaxing spasmodically. She was breathing in jerky breaths. Her thighs were trying to clutch at my head and hold me where she longed to have me. Several times, I felt the subtle little contractions that signaled Monique's imminent completion, and each time, I backed off.

The last time, she wailed, "Damn you, Nathan, please, let me cum!" She was thrashing, but doing her level best to hold onto the tie. I wondered, fleetingly, if she could be made to code word from frustration and need alone, but just as quickly, decided that I did not want to know.

"Cum for me, Monique. Give me you pleasure. Give it to me!" I yelled as I dove back to her pussy. She was wild now, completely out of control. Her hips surged to meet me. I had never, in all our time together, seen her like this. She was consummately, sumptuously female, at once needing and demanding, giving and accepting.

I took her clitoris with my lips while beating it with the tip of my tongue. Her orgasmic surge lifted me off her momentarily. I followed her down and gripped her hips with my hands to hold on as she bucked and screamed her completion.

Hands gripped my hair and pulled me up to the head of the bed. She wrapped herself around me every way she could, twining arms and legs about my still clothed body. Her kiss was as demanding as any I had given her, but when it was over, she sort of collapsed around me, clinging to me. "Nathan, that was wonderful." Her words were slurred, drowsy. "And... as soon as I recover a little.. I.... will........take ....of..."

I waited for her to finish her sentence. She never did. I did not know a woman could purr and snore at the same time.

Part Sixteen: Deeper Play
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