No Refunds, part 1
Previous - this entry written on February 20, 2008 at 7:19 am - Next
"No woman likes to see another taking her place."
It was a Tuesday when I told Sarah that I was leaving. I had already packed what few possessions I could lay claim to - three pairs of pants, six shirts, a leather belt, a pair of well-worn sneakers, nine socks, a plain navy blue tie, my old leather jacket, all of it stuffed in a backpack that had been put up in the attic and forgotten about for nearly three years. That, and what I was wearing, and the journals that I had so carefully hidden, was the entirety of my worldly goods.
I told her calmly, my voice level, careful to keep every trace of fear out of my tone. I met her eyes; that alone took so much effort that I thought at times I was going to faint, but I did it, my gaze never left hers. I told her that I was done, that I couldn't bear to stay even a moment more, that I never wanted to see her again.
I took off the slender strip of leather that for three years had been around my throat, and I handed it to her. When I'd imagined the moment, I had dreamed of throwing it to the ground, dropping it where I stood perhaps, or tossing it carelessly over my shoulder, but I realized as I stripped myself of its protection that I could not treat it so casually. Instead I held it out, my hand trembling slightly, suddenly afraid that she would refuse to take it. I didn't know what I would do if she did... but she reached out as well, took the collar, and for several minutes she sat there, turning it over in her hands, not saying anything.
"Is there anything you need? Bus fare, a hotel room, use of the car, perhaps," she asked, the words quiet enough that I had to strain to hear them. I had half-expected this and shook my head.
"No, m- no. I've got a ride, and somewhere to stay, and I start my new job on Monday. I'll be fine." There was another long pause, then she asked the question I'd been waiting for.
"...because I'm not a slave. I can't be any more. It hurts too much, it's too hard, I just... I can't belong to you, to anyone. I need to be free. I need a life of my own."
"So you're not just leaving me for another woman?" There was laughter in her voice now, faint, but clear enough to me, accustomed to paying close attention to even the tiniest shift in tone that might indicate a sudden mood change or a new whim.
"Of course not. I'm going to stay with Kieran, he's got that spare room and he's willing to let me stay for free until I start getting my paychecks, then he's just asking a small amount in rent. I'm used to sleeping on the floor so the sofa in there will be more than fine for a bed."
Kieran Tsinju was someone that I'd come to consider a friend over the last two years. I hadn't really known him, despite seeing him around fairly often; we hung out in many of the same places, but somehow never quite got around to talking. That changed after I moved in with Sarah.
She had told me when I first came to her House that the only place I would have there was a pet, a well-trained animal there for her amusement. I had thought, when I'd thought about it at all, that she meant I was supposed to be obedient and act the part of a cute housepet at times to entertain her, that it was just a game. I got my first taste of just how seriously she intended it the first time she had to leave town for a few days. She wasn't going far, traveling down to the coast to spend some time visiting old friends, and at first I had expected to go with her. When she told me she would be leaving me at home I'd looked forward to that, already eager to have a break from the submission she demanded.
Just two hours before she was to leave, there was a knock on the door. One of my tasks was to play footman, so I hurried to the door, hopping quickly into the pair of tight jeans that were kept folded on the small table beside it, the only clothing I was allowed to wear in the house. I had barely got them zipped up when there was a second round of knocking and I cursed, not keeping it quiet as I knew she was unlikely to hear me from the room she was in. Swearing was on the list of things that were likely to leave me without dinner or with a sore ass, and already I'd gotten used to biting my tongue whenever I suspected she might overhear.
I took a deep breath, brushed the hair out of my eyes, and opened the door. I'm not sure who I was expecting, perhaps Kate, her blonde and buxom ride to the coast, showing up early, but what greeted me was wavy red hair, a smiling mouth of white teeth, a faded and scuffed pair of leather combat boots, no breasts whatsoever, and an open-palmed slap.
"I know Sarah'd have your hide if she heard you cussing, boy. No swearing, no yelling, no eye contact, proper speech... she's letting you wear clothing when you answer the door at least, you must have been well-behaved recently... and I can see that you've been all dolled up too. How flattering." His voice was warm but firm, and I started to look up at him, wanting to get a better look at his face, his eyes, wondering if he was joking with me. Just in time, I remembered the still-stinging handprint on my cheek. He may have sounded friendly but clearly he knew Sarah's rules and knew as well that I was a slave.
I'd only gotten as far along that chain of thoughts as the realization that he had noticed the trace of eyeshadow and lipstick Sarah had insisted I wear when his voice cut in again, snapping me back to the present with a single word, a command that so far I had only heard from my Mistress's lips.
I blushed bright red, unable to keep from glaring at him now, my hands rather protectively covering the button and zipper of my jeans. It had taken me a solid week to earn the right to wear them, and I wasn't about to take them off in front of another man without a direct order from Sarah. I nearly hissed my next words.
"I'll let m'Lady know you are here. Who shall I tell her is calling?"
He laughed outright, stepping past me and walking down the hall leading to the library while he answered, "Kieran Tsinju, as I'm quite sure you know, and I'll tell her myself. I'm sure she'll be interested to know how her property is behaving."
I followed, suddenly wary. Something in his tone finally registered and I was now fairly sure I was going to be in a lot of trouble if he told Sarah that I'd disobeyed an order. I couldn't bring myself to say anything; this was still very early in my training, and my pride kept me from speaking. Fortunately, my survival instinct overruled it enough to let a whimper squeak out. Kieran glanced back over his shoulder, saw the pleading expression on my face, turned, and took the few steps back to where I was standing.
"You're still new, so I'll cut you some slack. She'll be happier with both of us if she thinks you've been behaving, it'll make her proud. So, I'll ask you once more... strip." He was nearly whispering, quiet enough that I was certain she couldn't have overheard, and this time I fought down my nervousness and fumbled with my jeans. A moment later they were off, a few seconds after that saw them folded and placed back beside the door, and barely 30 seconds after the order had been given, I was kneeling, naked, head bowed, murmuring my thanks for his kindness. Kieran ruffled my hair and gestured for me to rise.
"Don't worry, kid. Just keep it up for a couple hours more, then you can relax. Now come on, you can lead the way." With those last whispered words, he gestured toward the far end of the hall where the door to the library stood half-open, waiting. I started to climb to my feet, then remembered another rule she had given recently - when I was on my knees, I was not to rise until given permission - and instead dropped to all fours, scrambling down the hall as quick as I could, struggling to keep ahead of him as he walked quickly toward the library.
* * *
Yes, there's more, and my next entry will contain at least part of it, but right now I finally think I can get some sleep and I'm gonna go try. Wish me luck!
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