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Hotel California Part 4: One Step Forward and Two Steps Back

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The next morning I'm awakened by Julia, told to shower, shave (all of me), and get dressed. She then disappears, returning when I'm in my room trying to select clothes for the day. I'm having trouble, as I have no idea what her plans are.

She comes up behind me, her arms going around my waist, her hands sliding down my belly to my naked pubic area. "Good job," she praises, "nice and smooth." Turning me around, she fastens my cock harness on me. "Jeans, a T-shirt, and a flannel shirt will be fine. Shoes and socks as well." She rubs my testes between her fingers. "No underwear."

Swallowing hard, I nod, and get dressed.

A few minutes later, we are in Julia's SUV on the way to somewhere. She's outlining our day to me. "Patrick's gone until Sunday night. His lover picked him up early this morning, so we'll have the place mostly to ourselves. Some people may drop by to use the playroom, but I don't have any clients. After your appointment, we'll hit the grocery, then have a session this afternoon. Somewhere in there we'll get something to eat."

I stopped really listening after her first statement. "My appointment?"

Smiling at me, she puts a hand on my thigh. "Doctor's appointment. I told you I was going to get you in as soon as possible."

A knot forms in my stomach. What will the physician think of the still pink stripes crossing my ass?

Julia squeezes my leg. "There's nothing to worry about. The Hotel's doctor is member of my bondage group. He's a doctor who loves to play doctor." She grins, but I don't feel any less nervous.

All too soon, she's pulling into a parking lot outside a building marked "Medical Clinic." There's a single car parked in front. "The clinic is normally closed on the weekends. Butch is opening up just for us."

Butch? Okay.... She turns the car off and we get out. I follow her up to the door, where a tall, burly man in a white lab coat over a studded chest harness and black leather pants lets us in. He gives Julia a hug and kisses her cheek.

"Good to see you again, Julia."

"Same here, Butch. We've missed you out at the Hotel. I have a whole medical setup now. You ought to come out some weekend and break it in."

He laughs. "I might just do that." He runs his gaze over me. "So this is the new slave? Nice." His hand goes to my crotch and squeezes. I bite my lip but stay silent. "Very nice." Letting go, he starts toward a door. "Come on back, and we'll get started."

Julia removes my leash from the large bag she's brought with her and clips it to my collar. We follow Butch past the receptionist's desk and into a treatment room.

It's like any other doctor's office I've been in, except the exam table has gynecology stirrups, and a variety of straps and buckles hanging from it. "Mistress..." I whisper, my stomach knotting.

She rubs my shoulder. "You'll be fine, pet. I'll be right here."

Butch says, "Get him undressed and get a urine sample from him. You remember where the restroom is, right?"

She nods and he leaves. When I don't immediately start to undress, she swats my ass. "Strip, slave."

I do so hastily, then she's leading me across the hall into a small bathroom. Picking up a specimen container from the counter, she writes my name on the label, then hands it to me. I'm slightly confused at first, but get the picture when her fingers wrap around my penis.

"Pee in the cup, slave," she orders, and after a few seconds I manage to comply. She seals the cup when I'm through, and opens a cabinet on the wall, placing it on the shelf. There's a door on the opposite side, and I figure it must lead to the clinic's lab. Julia cleans up, then leads me back into the hallway, where Dr. Butch is waiting by a scale, clipboard in hand.

Again, he looks me over, his eyes lingering on the marks on my ass. "I revise my first opinion. He's not just nice, he's gorgeous." His finger traces one of my welts as I shiver. "But not very obedient?"

Julia shrugs. "I had to impress upon him the importance of using his safe word."

Butch nods sagely and says, "Up on the scale."

I obey, and my weight and height are written down. Then it's back to the exam room where he looks me over thoroughly. He consults his chart.

"That old gunshot wound giving you any trouble?"

I shake my head, and Julia tells me to speak up, her expression tense. "No, sir."

"Good. Up on the table."

Julia unhooks my leash, as well as my cock harness, and I take a seat. He takes a blood sample first, and I keep my eyes on my Mistress. I hate the sight of blood, especially my own. Once that's done, and the vials labeled, he examines my eyes, ears and throat with a light, then feels the lymph nodes on my neck. Nodding, he palpates the nodes under my arms, then unwraps the stethoscope around his neck and puts the ends in his ears. He listens to my heart, then moves on to my lungs, asking me to breath deep, hold and exhale. As he moves the stethoscope around to my back, he asks, "Any shortness of breath, tightness when you breathe? Any bronchitis or pneumonia after that drowning incident six months ago?"

"Drowning? Gunshot? Blair, what in the hell have you been into?" Julia's voice is full of shocked concern.

I wince, fighting back tears. I'm uncomfortable enough; I don't want to rehash the fountain right now. I shake my head. "No, no trouble breathing," I manage. Julia takes a step toward me, but I wave her off. I just want to get this over with.

Butch continues his exam, feeling along my spine and my ribs, then asks me to lie down. He kneads my stomach, and my kidneys, then the lymph nodes in my groin. "Any pain?"

"No, sir," I answer.

"Good. Scoot down and put your feet in the stirrups." He walks over to the sink and begins to wash his hands.

I look over at my Mistress. At first her expression is stern, but she sees the fear in my eyes and her face softens. "Go ahead, precious. I'm right here. I'm not going to let anything happen to you." She moves to the side of the table, lifting my legs into position, then strapping them in. She starts to fasten one of the straps hanging from the edge of the table around my wrist, then hesitates. "Can you lie still for Dr. Butch? If you can, I won't strap you down."

"I can, Mistress," I say, though I'm very, very nervous.

"You'd better, or I'll have to punish you." Leaning over, Julia kisses my forehead, and begins lightly rubbing my chest, trying to relax me.

Dr. Butch returns with what I recognize as a disposable enema bag hanging on a steel I.V. pole. He positions it by my feet, places a surgical drape over my legs, then moves to the end of the table. All I can see is his head and shoulders. I hear the snap of surgical gloves being pulled on, then feel the cold slickness of lube being applied to my anus.

"Mistress..." I breathe.

"It's okay, precious. I'm right here." She turns her head toward the doctor. "Butch, he's really sensitive to enemas. He gets very bad cramps. Is there any way to make it more pleasant for him? Because I'd love to be able to give him one, and then spend some quality play time together, but he's usually just wiped."

Butch slowly inserts his finger in me as he answers. "There's a lot of different things that can cause cramps. Water temperature, solution contents...what are you using for the enema?"

"I used mild soap, but that seemed to tear him up." She strokes my stomach slowly as he removes his finger and replaces it with the enema nozzle.

"Hmm, could be he's sensitive to the soap. I'm using a standard saline solution; we'll see how he reacts to it. A really relaxing enema is chamomile tea. You might try that." He opens the valve on the solution.

Warm water gushes into me with more force than when Julia had given me one. The nozzle he's using has to be twice as big. I squeeze my eyes shut, feeling tears leak out the corners. It doesn't hurt, not yet, but for the first time since I came to Julia, I feel like a thing, not a person, not even a slave. Then I feel her lips against my cheek.

"Hey, precious, it's okay, I'm right here." Her hands are gently kneading my belly, massaging away any twinge of a cramp. "Concentrate on me, on my touch." She continues to talk, telling me how good I'm being, and I just let the sound surround me, let it and her hands take me away from the here and now, separating me from the ache in my gut. Finally, she says, "All done, pet. That wasn't so bad, was it?"

Opening my eyes, I shake my head.

Butch removes the nozzle from me, then slides a bedpan under my hips. Once I'm empty, I can feel him cleaning me up, then applying more lubrication. His fingers enter me, and he examines both my bladder and my prostate, while I grip Julia's hand. Amazing how something that turns me on incredibly when she does it, now makes me tense and anxious.

"Very good, no enlargement at all, not that I really expected it in someone his age, but..." His fingers are removed, and I sigh in relief, thinking that my ordeal is almost over. I'm wrong. Something cold and slick is inserted into me as he says, "Just want to take a quick look, make sure there's no tearing. You did say he hasn't been used in a while?"

Julia nods. "Five years. I've been taking it slow, using increasingly wider plugs to open him up."

"Good, good. You are always very careful with your slaves, Julia. That's what I like about you."

He does something, and suddenly there's pain as my anus feels like it's being stretched wide. I gasp, and try to move away from the hurt, but I can't. Julia holds my hips still, telling me to relax. Butch's head disappears below the drape, and there are several more minutes of the intense pressure before he reappears and releases the tension on whatever he put in me. I can feel it exiting me as he says, "Looks good, Julia, no tearing or abrasions, though the tissues are pink and a little swollen, which is normal if he's just getting used to it again. Keep up the good work."

The drape is removed, but the doctor isn't finished with me yet. He examines my testicles, kneading them individually, looking for lumps, then does pretty much the same to my limp penis. In spite of myself, I get hard.

Julia praises me. "Good boy, precious. Let Butch give you your reward for being so good."

The doctor works my cock, his hand pumping me expertly, efficiently, and I climax quickly. I'm so detached from the whole situation I barely feel my come spurt across my stomach and chest. All I want is to get out of there.

Julia cleans me up and unstraps me as Butch washes his hands once again, then makes notations on my chart. Once Julia's taken a seat in the chair, with me kneeling in front of her, the doctor looks up.

"Well, everything looks good, Julia. You appear to have a very healthy slave on your hands. Once I get the lab results back on the blood tests, I'll give you a call." He closes the folder and moves to stand in front of me.

I feel my Mistress' hand in my hair, and her grip tightening on my leash. "We're all done here, pet, except for payment."

Payment? I have the feeling I'm not going to like this. I close my eyes.

The sound of Dr. Butch's zipper releasing is incredibly loud in the still of the office. Julia flicks my cheek with her fingernail. "Use that talented tongue of yours on his balls, slave."

I open my eyes to find a monstrous cock only inches from my face, pre-cum already glistening on the tip. Whimpering in my throat, I do as my Mistress commands, running my tongue over Butch's hairy testes. I begin to appreciate Julia's desire to keep her slaves hairless. Not satisfied with my efforts, Julia pushes my face closer; Butch's scent, a mixture of leather, sweat and hormones, is almost overwhelming.

"Lick his cock now, pet. Start at the base and work up."

I follow orders, running my tongue up the underside of his thick, veined member in a firm stroke. I swirl it over the huge head, trying to ignore the pungent taste of his fluid. I continue working my tongue up and down and around his cock, as I hear him groan, and say, "God, Julia, he's hot!"

Julia's hand lets go of my leash and moves to rest on my throat. "Take him in your mouth, slave, suck him until he comes."

Closing my eyes, I open wide, taking as much of his length as I can, trying desperately not to gag. Julia tilts my head slightly, giving a better angle, and massages my throat. With a grunt, he slides all the way in, and I find my face pressed into his wiry pubic hair.

I can't breathe. I'm going to suffocate before I get the hang of this again. He pulls back, and I inhale through my nose, managing to swallow quickly before he's thrusting in again. His fingers lock in my hair, holding me still as he fucks my mouth. I give up on any kind of tongue action, and settle for breathing with each out stroke. Tears burn against my eyelids, and I try to think of anything, imagine myself anyplace but here.

Grunting and groaning like a pig, Butch picks that moment to climax, pulling his cock out of my mouth and jerkily pumping his shaft, his hot come spraying across my face. I rear back against Julia's legs, but Butch's fist in my hair holds me fast until he's finished. Tears are spilling down my cheeks, mingling with his bodily fluid.

Julia bends over me in concern, a baby wipe in her hand. "You all right, pet?"

I nod as she cleans my face, unable to speak at the moment. I feel...dirty. I remind myself that I wanted this, that I came to Julia for punishment, for humiliation, and today, I've gotten what I asked for in spades. I just never imagined it would make my heart, my soul, hurt so badly.

She tugs at my chain, and I stand, feeling her fasten my harness around my cock once again. She leads me back over to the exam table, and I start to shake. Now what?

"Easy, easy," she tells me, her hand lightly rubbing the small of my back. "Butch is gone, pet." I look around and realize he's left the room. "I just want you to lean over the table, okay?"

"Yes, Mistress," I mumble, resting my forearms on the bench and bending at the waist.

Her hands run down my back and over my hips slowly, cupping and squeezing my ass cheeks before I feel her gloved fingers pressing lightly against my sore opening. Lubrication is applied gently, and she slips a single digit inside me as she says, "This has a numbing agent in it. It won't take away all the pain, but it'll at least take the edge off." A second finger joins the first, and I whimper. She kisses my shoulders, telling me to relax. Her left hand strokes my chest, teasing my nipples until they're tight and aching. Her fingers withdraw from me then, only to be replaced by the familiar feel of a plug. She twists and turns it, playing with me until I finally rest my head on my folded arms and moan.

"That's my pet. Feels good, doesn't it?"

"Y--yesss," I'm forced to admit. Her hand moves from my chest to my genitals, stroking and squeezing my balls, then closing gently around my erection for a moment.

Letting go, she says, "Come on, precious. Let's get you dressed and get out of here." She hands me my jeans and I slip them on, tugging them carefully over my hips. As I go to zip up, her hand is there, tucking my semi-hard cock inside my pants and pulling the zipper up slowly, then fastening the button. She looks at me then, and I see raw desire in her eyes. It thrills me and scares me at the same time, and I shiver.

"Cold, pet? Let's get your shirt on." She pulls my T-shirt over my head and I put my arms through the sleeves, but she doesn't tug it down, just leaves it bunched above my pecs.

"Wha--?" Her mouth on mine interrupts my question. Julia kisses me deeply, pushing me back against the wall as her hands stroke heavily over my stomach and chest. She dips her head, running her tongue over my nipple then blowing on it. I nearly put my fist through the wall. She nips at it, then massages away the ache with her tongue again.

Putting her knee between my legs, she rubs up against me, her mouth meeting mine, her teeth playing with my lower lip. Her hand cups my erection through my jeans, just holding me. I thrust tentatively into her palm, and feel her move against my thigh in response. In seconds, we have a rhythm going, as she kisses my face and neck. She's marking me high on my throat, high enough that my clothes won't hide it, and a shudder runs through me. Everyone who sees us today will know the purple bruise is her doing, that I'm hers. She's grinding her jeans-clad crotch against me now, her teeth sinking into my skin, muffling her cry of pleasure as she comes.

I hold on to her, and climax as well. The sensation feels like it's coming from the soles of my feet and out through my cock, though my previous climax keeps me from staining my jeans. I barely manage to remain standing by hanging onto Julia. She's moaning and kissing my jaw, one arm around my waist, the other still pressed against my crotch.

A few moments later, she steps back, and I finally tuck my T-shirt in, then slip my flannel one on over it. She adjusts it, making sure it hides my slave collar, but exposes the love bite she just gave me. I bend over to tie my shoes, and her hand goes right to my ass, pressing the plug inside me, making me moan.

"God, you are so hot," she whispers when I straighten up, hugging me from behind. "Do you know how much I want to fuck you?"

"A lot, Mistress?" I venture.

Laughing, she ruffles my hair. "Yes, a very lot. Come on, let's go."

Leaving the clinic, we get into her truck, but instead of starting the engine, Julia just sits there, staring out the windshield. Finally she says, "Well, that was pretty much a disaster, in spite of the pleasant note I tried to end it on. I'm sorry, Blair. I didn't think that would be as difficult for you as it was. I thought you would enjoy it." She looks at me. "I'm not sure this is working. I'm supposed to be helping you, not hurting you. I seem to be making all the wrong choices. Look, I know a couple really good therapists, I could make some calls, get you in with one of them."

I'm stunned, sent reeling by her words. I can't talk about my life, my problems with anyone else, let alone I doubt they would understand my need for penance. The idea behind most counseling is to get the patients to quit punishing themselves, not to encourage it. "No. Permission to speak freely, Mistress?" She nods, and I continue. "Please do not ever let Dr. Butch touch me again."

Julia shakes her head. "How is a scene with him any different than last night, with Patrick?"

"It's different because even though you were there, you weren't in control of the experience, he was. You're my Mistress, Julia. I trust you. I know you care about me. I know you won't hurt me. He made me feel...lower than a dog. At least when a dog goes to the vet, the doctor pets him and talks to him. The only time he said anything to me was when he needed an answer to a question about my medical history. I can't do that. I can't be a thing, an object to be poked and prodded and used then discarded. And that's what I was to him, a couple of holes to be used." I close my eyes, feeling the tears threatening again.

When I open them, Julia is visibly upset. "Oh, god, Blair, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry. That's just the way Butch is, has always been, with slaves, even his own. I didn't stop to think how that might affect you."

I bite my lip and look away. "It hurt. You're always talking to me, explaining things, asking how I am, asking what I'm feeling. He didn't give a shit about that, about me. And maybe he shouldn't. He's not my master, you are."

Julia's hand comes to rest on my shoulder. "You're right. I should have at least told you what to expect. I'm sorry."

Pressing my cheek against her fingers, I plead, "Please, Mistress, don't send me away. I can't trust anyone else with...with my secrets."

She kisses the top of my head tenderly. "I won't. We'll keep working at it." Her hand lifts my head so I'm looking at her. "Speaking of secrets, what in the hell have you been through in the past five years? Kidnapped by a serial killer, shot, drowned..." She shakes her head. "Have you seen anyone at all after these incidents?"

I look away from her gaze. "Yes. Remember when I told you I had lied in counseling sessions in the past? Well, that was when."

"Blair, for god's sake why? You had to have been traumatized by just the serial killer thing alone. You should have had months of therapy. That's how you ended up here, isn't it? You never really healed anything, and it's finally taking its toll on you, everything you've been through all pushing at your emotional defenses, and the dissertation was the thing that finally shattered them. You are one tough son of a bitch, Blair. I don't know anyone else who could have gone through that and still be sane."

My laugh is bitter. "I'm not so sure I am sane. Sometimes I wonder if I ever was. I mean, really, what kind of sane person wants to be beaten and abused so they can feel better about something that happened years ago? I mean, anyone would think I was sick, right? Jim would think I was sick." My voice breaks on those words and I'm suddenly sobbing, terrified that I will be this strange, broken man forever.

Julia's arms go around me then, and she's pulling me across the bench seat, practically into her lap. "Hey, hey, it's okay, precious. You are not insane. You are not sick. You're just confused, and hurting, and uncertain right now, and those are very normal things. You've been through what sounds like a hell of a lot of physical and emotional trauma in a relatively short amount of time. You've lost what you'd worked toward for almost 15 years, and you're unsure which way to go now without that goal. Cut yourself some slack, Blair. It's okay to be scared, and to feel like you're going to be sick to your stomach at any moment. And it's okay to want structure in your life, and to want someone else to make your decisions for you, even for a little while. But if you're not okay with the pain thing, with the bondage, and the sex, then we don't have to do that. This is not a trade-off. I'll help you without you being my slave in return. Just tell me what you want, and if you change your mind in the future, that's okay too."

I'm hanging on to her, my face pressed against her shoulder, hiding from the world. And yet, in the midst of my fear, I understand what she's saying, and know it's the truth. I can't let what other people think influence the way I feel, because then my feelings aren't my own anymore. "I...I...need to be your slave, Mistress. I need penance. I need to be punished. And...and I need this. I need you to hold me, to make me feel like a person, like I matter. Because punishment without that would be like being Dr. Butch's slave, like being a thing to be used up and thrown away."

She kisses my forehead, and whispers against my skin, "Then you have me, Blair. For as long as you need me."

An hour and a half later we arrive back at the Hotel, lunch eaten, grocery shopping done. Julia was pretty quiet for most of the time, and I can tell she has something on her mind. I'm afraid to ask what it is, so I keep silent. Once the groceries are put away, Julia brings out my leash, and clips it to my collar. She leads me out of the kitchen and back to the bedrooms. She enters the one where my gear is stashed, and lets go of the leash. "Get undressed, pet."

She leans her back against the doorjamb as I do, watching. I put my clothes in the hamper when I'm done, and get on my knees. Julia walks over to the bed and takes a seat, gesturing for me to join her. When I do, she says, "I've thought a great deal about what happened this morning, and about what we talked about in the car." She pats the mattress. "This is where you'll be sleeping from now on."

My stomach twists into an icy knot. As much as I dislike the dog bed, it means I am close to my Mistress, that I am in her favor, that she wants me close to her. Now she's sending me away, and I'm suddenly feeling confused, alone and frightened. "No, Mistress, please. I want to be with you. I need to be with you."

One eyebrow hikes up in surprise. "I thought you'd be pleased, pet. You've moved up from slave to low level sub. You get your own bed, your own room. It's your due for the progress you made today."

I shake my head, tears threatening to fall. "It feels like a punishment, Mistress, like you don't want me any more. I'm sorry about this morning. I'm sorry about what I said. If you want Dr. Butch to play with me again, I'll let him. Please, Mistress, please don't kick me out of your room."

Julia's hand darts out and takes hold of my collar. She yanks me forward, across her knees, and I have barely time to realize what's happening before her hand comes down on my still sore ass. It's not a hard smack, but it stings twice as badly because of my slowly fading welts. I manage to gasp out "One" despite the pain.

She slaps my other cheek, and I squeak out "Two". She says, "A new bed is not punishment, slave. This is punishment. And do you know what you're being punished for?" She strikes me again.

"Three! No, I don't know!" I cry. "Four!"

"You're being punished for questioning my decision. That was our agreement, wasn't it, Blair?" Slap!

"Five!" I'm squirming now, and she throws her leg across mine, pinning me between both of hers.

"You agreed that you would accept what I thought was fit punishment for you. I thought it was clear that you would also accept when I felt you didn't merit punishment." Smack!

"Six...I...I...I'm sorry, Mistress. I didn't understand. I thought you changed your mind. I thought you were angry with me." She hits the underside of my left buttock and I sob out "seven!"

"Well, I'm angry now, angry that you would think I would let Butch touch you again after you asked me not to." The last three strikes are quick and hard, and I'm gasping by the time she's through. Her grip on me loosens, her hand now gentle on my back, softly stroking my ass. She kisses me between the shoulder blades, telling me it's okay now, it's over. "Just feel it, precious, feel how your ass burns, feel how red it is."

I groan low in my throat, the pain slowly becoming pleasure under her skillful touch. She reaches underneath me, teasing my leaking erection. Then she lets me go, pushing me back so that I'm kneeling in front of her. She takes my face in her hands, kissing my forehead.

"We okay now?" she asks. "You understand that having your own bed is not a punishment?"

I nod.

"Do you understand why I'm moving you from slave to sub?"

I hesitate. "I'm not sure, Mistress."

"When you came to me four days ago, you thought of yourself as a slave. To quote you from earlier, you were two holes to be used. If I'd taken you to see Butch then, what would your reaction have been?"

I think back. It seems so very long ago. "I--I would have deserved it, Mistress. I wanted to be used then. I wanted to be hurt; I didn't care how."

When I don't continue, she prods me. "And now?"

Chewing my lip, I blink back tears, then whisper, "I don't hate myself so much anymore....I don't like feeling the way I felt when Butch touched me."

"Good. And that shift in you is why you are no longer a slave. Think you can listen to the rest of what I have to say without jumping to conclusions?"

"Yes, Mistress."

She runs her fingers through my curls, massaging my scalp. "Your change in status has also gained you a chance to renegotiate your contract with me. We'll go over it, and add or remove anything you don't feel comfortable with now. " Her hand moves to lightly scratch my chest. "And tomorrow you'll get a reward for your progress." She rubs her forefingers over my nipples, making them harden. "I'm going to pierce your nipples. We'll save the Prince Albert for a really big bit of progress."

I close my eyes, remembering the first time she pierced me. If it's anything like that was...I shiver in anticipation.

"You like that idea, hmm?" She kisses my cheek. "Go take a shower, and then come to my office. We'll go over your contract, and then we'll have a talk about the things you've been through over the past few years."

"Yes, Mistress," I reply, then head for the bathroom.

When I show up at Julia's office twenty minutes later, she's seated behind her desk, working at her computer. Noticing me, she gives me a smile. "Your contract is on the table by the couch. Look it over and mark any changes you want to make, then we'll go over it together. I'd also like you to make another list for me, this time of all the violent and/or traumatic events you've been through the past few years. I'm assuming that kidnapping by a serial killer, getting shot, and drowning aren't everything, are they?"

Shaking my head, I sit down on the sofa. "No, Mistress," I answer softly.

She sighs. "I didn't think so. List them in any order, but assign a value to them, with 1 being the least traumatic and 10 being the most traumatic. I would think your encounter with David Lash would rate a 10, or close to it."

I nod. She's right there. Lash and dying are the worst things I can think of. But first, the contract. I read it over, and only make a few changes. I change my ranking on sensory deprivation from extreme to mild, and I add a sentence at the bottom stating that in any scenes with other people, Julia will always be in control of the scene, and no one else will be my master.

Picking up the pad of paper, I start work on my list. It's more difficult than I thought it would be. Some of the things are easy to list. Drowning, once, getting shot, once, drug overdose, once. Others events are more difficult to categorize. Like, is being held hostage the same as being kidnapped? And is there a difference between kidnapping and abduction? Because technically, no one ever asked for any ransom for me...I shake my head and make held hostage and kidnapping (abductions) separate categories. It's still a long fucking list. Just looking at it makes my heart pound. All this shit happened to me....

Julia chooses that moment to sit down next to me. "All done? The changes you made to your contract are fine. I don't have any problems with them."

Taking the list from me, she stretches out on the sofa, patting the space next to her. I lie down on my side, sandwiched between her and the back cushions, my head resting on her shoulder, her arm curled around me. I close my eyes while she reads, enjoying the closeness. Her shirt is soft against my cheek, and the scent of herbal shampoo and laundry detergent fills my nostrils. Her hand is slowly rubbing my back, and I feel safe and secure, and a little sleepy. This morning's ordeal is rapidly becoming a distant memory.

The soft thud of my list hitting the floor wakes me from a light doze. I open my eyes to see that her face is flushed, her eyes flashing. "Mistress?"

Slipping out from under me, she rises and begins to pace. She's nearly vibrating with anger. "How could could those people treat you so badly? How could the doctors who treated you not see that you were still in trouble?" She comes to a halt in front of me. "I'm so sorry, precious. I didn't know. If I had, I would have never accepted you back as my slave. As a friend, I would have helped you, but this..." Her hands go to my collar, working the buckle.

I pull away. "No! Mistress, please, please. This is what I need. I knew that the moment I put my collar back on. I felt safe. For the first time, in a long time, I'm not looking over my shoulder. I'm not scared to enter my own home."

Julia reaches for me again, but this time her fingers gently comb through my hair. "Blair, I can't punish you when you've already been hurt so much. God, if I'd known you leaving here would set all that in motion, I would have chained you up and never let you go." She looks surprised at her own words.

"You would have?" I think back to the end of that long summer as Julia's slave. When I'd told her I'd been offered a chance to go with Eli Stoddard to South America for a year, she'd been happy for me, had urged me to go. She'd told me she'd miss me, but she'd never said she wanted me to stay...just like Jim had never said he didn't really want me to go to Borneo.... "Mistress...Julia, I know I've been a--difficult, and maybe I should have told you about the things I went through up front, but honestly, I didn't know they'd be a problem. I didn't know I would start remembering, reliving things."

Her hand reaches out to stroke my cheek. "You're remembering because the walls you kept them behind are all gone now."

"See, then this is what I need. I need you to help me deal with it, to help me deal without the walls. And that's what being a sub, being a slave is all about, isn't it? It's about being completely, totally open, and trusting my Mistress to help me through it, be it physical or emotional pain. Please, Julia. I feel comfortable the way things are. I don't think I could do this without the collar. And maybe that's why I couldn't do it before, with all those other therapists. The level of trust wasn't there. And they didn't know about the sentinel stuff."

"And why didn't they? Doctor/patient confidentiality applies to them as much as to me. They would have kept your secret." Resuming her seat, she raises an eyebrow at me.

"I..." Why didn't I tell them? Why did I let myself get to this point? "...Jim. I felt like I would have been betraying Jim's trust if I'd told them. Or more likely, Jim would have felt I'd betrayed him if he'd ever found out."

"Like he felt you betrayed him over the dissertation being leaked?"

I nod. "And like I betrayed him with Alex."

She looks puzzled for a moment, then bends over to pick up my list from the floor. She skims it, then says, "Alex is the person who drowned you?"

I study my hands intently. "Yes. She was another sentinel."

"Really? I think I'd better hear this." She leans back against the arm of the sofa and holds out her hand.

I take it hesitantly, asking, "We're okay?"

"For the moment. We'll see how things go once we start your punishment tomorrow." Tugging me in front of her, she wraps her arms around me. "Tell me about this Alex. How did you meet? And why would she want to drown you?"

Leaning back against her, I take a deep breath, and release it slowly. This is gonna be hard. I haven't talked about Alex, or dying, with anyone. "I--I met Alex at the police station. She'd been in a car accident. She wasn't hurt, but she'd been complaining the lights were too bright, and her clothes hurt her skin. Megan, Inspector Connor, had brought her in for a drug test, which turned out negative. I overheard her talking to Alex, and it sounded to me like she was experiencing heightened senses, sentinel senses. So I went over and talked to her, told her I could help her, and she said she'd think about it." I pause, uncertain as to how to proceed from there.

Julia nuzzles my hair. "So where was Jim while you were meeting Alex? He wasn't at the station?"

I shake my head. "He was home on medical leave. He'd gotten shot in a convenience store robbery and was driving me nuts, so I was doing schoolwork at the station. When I came home that night, Jim met me at the door with a gun. I never did find out what that was all about. I tried to tell him about meeting Alex, but he damn near bit my head off, so I didn't say anything."

"Jim met you at the door with a gun? Like pointed at you?"

"Yeah. I mean, he should have known it was me, by the sound of my footsteps, my scent, anything. But he'd been acting weird since he'd been shot, and wouldn't talk to me about it."

"So I'm assuming Alex came to see you. Were you able to help her?" Her hands move to my shoulders, and she starts massaging my neck.

Leaning forward slightly to give her a better angle, I answer, "Yeah, and it was--cool."

"Cool how?"

"It was different than it was when I met Jim. I mean, I knew what I was doing this time. I knew what Alex was going through, and knew how to help her get control of her senses, how to make them work for her. And she was different than Jim, too. She wanted to know everything, all about sentinels and what she could do with her heightened senses. Jim just wanted me to make them go away."

"How did that make you feel, that she wanted to learn from you?" Her hands move down my back.

I chew my lip, turning that over in my mind. "It--it made me feel great, that I could help her, and that she appreciated it...but I also felt...uneasy. I shouldn't have been helping her."

"Why?" Julia's tone is genuinely puzzled.

"Because I was Jim's guide--his...Incacha made me his shaman, so to speak. It was my job to watch his back, to look out for him. And Alex was a thief, she stole nerve gas from the university, and later killed her partner."

Sensing my uneasiness, Julia wraps her arms around me again. "But you didn't know that at the time. Do you think she was playing you? That she knew about your sentinel studies, and knew you could help her, so she set up the whole meeting with you in the first place?"

I shake my head.

"As far as you knew then, she was telling you the truth. If you'd known she had a criminal past, would you have said no?"

That's a question I've wrestled with ever since I'd learned the truth about Alex Barnes. "I don't know...I was Jim's partner not hers."

"But you also said shaman," she points out gently. "And shaman are the teachers, the healers of a tribe. Does a doctor have only one patient, or a teacher only one student? You had knowledge that could help Alex, could help a lot of people, Blair. Sharing that knowledge isn't wrong. Helping others is what gives us our humanity."

"But...Jim blamed me. He said I betrayed his trust..." My voice trails off, my chest aching with the remembered hurt. Another memory forces its way to the surface, of the expression on Alex's face when I showed up at her apartment with Jim, when I'd made it clear without saying a word that I was with him. That I believed him without ever asking Alex for her side of the story. She must have felt what I did when Jim turned on me. My eyes prickle with the sting of tears.

God, Blair, why in the hell are you feeling sorry for her? She killed you! She trusted you...and you betrayed her. No wonder she killed you. It's amazing Jim hasn't done the same thing...I can still hear him, when I told him about Alex...What the hell did you do? What the hell did you do?

"Precious, you okay?" Julia's worried about me. She holds me tighter, rocking me, and the vivid memories slowly fade.

Finally, I whisper, "I hurt her, the same way Jim hurt me. I wanted so badly to get back into Jim's good graces that I didn't give her the benefit of the doubt. I turned on her the way he had on me. I didn't even ask her if she was the person we were looking for, give her a chance to explain. I just stood there, silent, letting Jim accuse her. She trusted me the same way Jim did, and I betrayed them both..."

Julia's lips press against the top of my head, and she's silent for a moment. Finally she asks, "If you could go back to that moment at the police station when you first laid eyes on Alex, would you still help her, knowing that it would piss Jim off?"

I think about my answer for a long time, about the fight with Jim, and getting kicked out of the loft, about him shutting me out. I weigh those against what I knew Alex had been feeling at that moment, the pain of spiking senses, the fear that she was hearing voices, seeing visions, going insane. "Yes," I answer, "I had to help her. I don't think I could have lived with myself if I didn't."

"But your actions hurt your friend. He told you he felt betrayed. Why would you do the same thing again?"

I've had enough psychoanalysis to know Julia's pushing me toward something, but it takes me a moment before I see it. "Because not helping someone in need isn't who I am...and Jim was wrong. Just because I'm his friend, his guide, doesn't make me his exclusive property. I didn't betray him. I didn't stop helping him; he stopped talking to me. I can't fix what I don't know about." I've raised my voice now, the anger I was too hurt to express then coming to the surface. "Do you know he dreamed he killed me? He didn't tell me until after the whole thing with Alex was over. If he'd told me that, I would have had some warning, some idea that something bad was going to happen to me."

Julia's rubbing my arms, trying to calm me. "Jim's dreams are precognitive?"

"When he dreams about the jungle, it's usually the primitive sentinel in him trying to tell him something. In all the time I've known him, he's never listened to it." I sit up straight, freeing myself from her embrace. "God! Why does he have to make everything so hard? He claims he wants my help, expects me to fix things at the drop of a hat, but he never tells me there's anything wrong until the problem has become a crisis!"

"And that makes you angry?"

I stare at her, breathing hard. "It pisses the hell out of me! I'm supposed to have given him every detail about Alex, despite him blowing me off about her, despite me knowing nothing about what she was up to, and he can't tell me he dreamt he killed me?"

She's smiling at me, like my mini-explosion amuses her, then she runs a finger down my arm. "Can you tell me what his dream had to do with Alex drowning you?"

My anger disappears in a rush, but it's several moments before I answer her. "Jim and I fought. He told me I'd betrayed him, that my helping Alex was a breach of trust. He told me he didn't need me, and that I should write my diss about someone else. He kicked me out of his life the same way he'd kicked me out of the loft. If he hadn't done that, I wouldn't have been at my office alone, I would have been with him. He made it possible for Alex to abduct me at gun point, walk me out of the building, and drown me in the fountain."

"What happened then?" Julia asks. "How did you get out of the fountain?"

"Jim, Simon...everyone from Major Crime showed up. They tried to revive me, but they told me even the paramedics gave up. Pronounced me dead..." I shiver, and Julia puts her arms around me again, pulling me close. "While I was...gone, I had an out of body experience. I was a wolf, in the jungle. Everything was so crisp, so clean and clear. The smells were incredible. There was this light and I was running toward it. But something made me look back. And I saw Jim's spirit guide, the black panther. Instead of continuing toward the light, I turned and went toward him. The panther and the wolf collided in midair, and there was this really bright light...When I opened my eyes again, I was lying on the ground, coughing up water." I shift in Julia's arms not sure how to continue.

She's silent for a moment, and I'm almost afraid she doesn't believe me. Then she says, "So what did Jim have to say about what happened? Did he even know what caused you to come back?"

"Yeah, he knew. He came to see me in the hospital, and we discovered we'd had the same vision, but he didn't want to talk about it." I close my eyes, remembering.

Jim's joking about me meeting nurses, and then he gets serious, asks how I am, and I tell him about my vision. He looks shocked, then says softly, "The same image. I saw the same image."

"You had the same vision?" I'm stunned, and excited at the same time. Jim and I shared a vision!

"Yeah. It was Incacha who guided me how to bring you back."

Incacha? Damn...maybe there is something to the shaman thing. Laughing, delirious to be alive, and to be reconnected with Jim, I say, "I can't believe this. Einstein said the greatest experiences we can have are the ones with the mysterious. We are definitely there, my brother. Come on in, man. The water's nice."

Jim shakes his head. "Chief, I don't know if I'm ready to take that trip with you."

And my elation turns once again to despair. Everything, and nothing, has changed.

Julia brushes the back of her fingers along my cheek. "Hey, you still here?"

I nod, leaning my forehead against her shoulder. "Yeah, just got caught up in memories, that's all."

Her hand squeezes the back of my neck gently. "Of when Jim didn't want to talk about your vision? How did that make you feel, when he said that?"

I torture my lower lip with my teeth. This is another one of those things I pushed away and never dealt with. "I--I was hurt. I mean, I know the vision thing to him is old hat, but this was the first one I'd ever had...the only one I ever had."

"So it was important to you?"

I nod slowly. "Yeah. It was important. I--it made me feel like I was really part of the equation, you know? I finally was on the inside of the sentinel thing, not trying to figure everything out from the outside. But Jim didn't want to talk about it. He ran off to Sierra Verde after Alex, and left me behind. And when I followed him there, he deserted me again in the jungle, went to face Alex alone. He still didn't think I was good enough."

"Did he tell you that? That you weren't good enough to go with him?"

Shrugging, I answer, "That's what it felt like to me. He didn't even tell me he was leaving Cascade to go after Alex. I was still in the hospital when he left. I had to find out from Megan Connor that he was gone. And things got worse once I got to Sierra Verde..."

When I don't continue, she tugs gently at a lock of my hair. "Worse how, pet?"

"We had to...had to hide out in a church one night. In the middle of the night, he got up and went to meet Alex at the beach."

"Went to meet her? I thought you were hunting her, that she was a criminal."

Julia's confused, and I don't blame her. Jim and Alex confused the hell out of me too. "She is...she was. It was like she was this magnet, and he was drawn to her. I followed him, found them together. They were kissing, undressing each other...He was going to fuck her, right there on the sand. She killed me and he was going to screw her like none of that happened! And when she saw me, she grabbed his gun, pointed it at me. She was going to kill me again, and for what felt like an eternity, Jim did nothing. Finally he took the gun from her and she ran off."

"Jesus, Blair. That must have been awful." She gives me a comforting squeeze.

"It was. I just...I was in shock. To come back to life and all of a sudden be staring death in the face again...death by the same hand...I thought I was going to break into pieces...I couldn't believe it was happening again...." I stop, shaken, trying to shove the suddenly fresh emotions back in the closet.

Julia won't let me. She pulls my upper body across her lap, wrapping her arms around me from behind. I grip her hands, still struggling with my feelings. "Don't fight it, precious. Let it out. If you have to scream, scream."

I'm not going to scream. I'm not. But I can't keep the low growl in my chest from turning into a ferocious roar. "Damn you, Jim! God damn you! How could you just stand there and do nothing? How could you expect me to just blow it off and turn around and fix your fucking problem for you? How could you? How could you with HER?" Passing the point of coherent speech, I go limp, my angry sobs punctuated with swear words.

She holds me, letting me rage until the last of my fury trickles down my face as tears. She stretches out with me on the sofa's soft cushions, holding me close long after my anger fades. Finally she touches my cheek, and I open my eyes. "I'd say that's enough for today. You ready for something to eat?"

I manage a smile. "Yeah, I could eat."

Dinner is...nice. With Patrick gone, it's just Julia and me and I pull out all the stops, making halibut with lemon grass sauce and lemon rice pilaf. As a result of my hard work today, I get to eat at the dining room table with Julia. I'm still naked, while she's fully clothed, but that doesn't matter. I'm actually beginning to believe I'm making progress; I know I have a better understanding of myself now than when I arrived.

I'm running water in the sink for washing dishes, when Julia enters the kitchen carrying our plates. She sets them down on the counter, then leans over to nuzzle my ear.

"How are you feeling, pet? Up for a little play?" Her teeth close lightly on my earlobe.

Just those few words and simple touch are enough to set my pulse racing. "You have to ask, Mistress?" I answer. "I am yours, always."

She kisses my cheek. "After all the mistakes I made today, I just wanted to be sure. Finish the dishes, then we'll go play."

I put the china and silverware into the soapy water and start to scrub. Julia, however, is impatient. She moves behind me, running her fingertips lightly across the top of my shoulders, then down my arms. She presses up against me, and brushes the ends of her hair over my skin. I suck in a breath, pausing in my task as a shiver runs through me.

Her palm connects sharply with my ass. "Keep washing."

Gasping, I do as she bids, intensely aware of the blood rushing to the affronted area. She rubs it, then slides her hand around to my stomach, and down to my genitals. I'm nearly hard and the sensation of her fingers unbuckling my cock harness brings me swiftly to full erection.

"That's my boy," she praises, pinching and kneading my balls between her fingers. Her other hand moves to my chest, and she rolls my left nipple between thumb and forefinger. "Just thinking about piercing you tomorrow is getting me excited. How does it make you feel?"

Setting the fork I'm washing carefully in the drainer, I brace my hands on the counter's edge and take a deep breath. "I...ungh...god, turns me on...when I think about it...." She pinches my right nipple hard, and I grunt, leaning back against her, trying to move away from the pain, but closer to her.

Julia kisses my neck, bringing her other hand up to torture my left nipple. "You like that, precious? I'm going to play with them a lot tonight, since after tomorrow you're going to be sore for awhile." She pulls on the tender nubs so hard I almost go to my knees.

"Oh god, oh god...Mistress..." I plead.

She lets go of me, trailing her fingers over my ribs and down my back. "Finish up here, then come to my bedroom. Don't take long." Purring, she grazes my shoulder with her teeth, then leaves the kitchen.

I lean against the counter, breathing hard, my chest burning. There's no doubt about it. I am a slut. I can't get enough of Julia, of what she does to me, be it pain or pleasure.

Dishes. Gotta finish the dishes. In spite of my need, I take my time, trying to regain my equilibrium, as well as not wanting to break anything. Finally everything is washed, dried and put away. The counters have been wiped down and any crumbs on the floor swept up. As I turn out the lights and head toward Julia's bedroom, I realize my erection hasn't lagged at all.

Again I wonder at the hold she has over my body, mind and soul. What am I going to do when my punishment is over? How will I ever leave, knowing I have nothing to go back to? For not the first time since I arrived, I consider staying permanently.

I haven't made a decision by the time I reach her bedroom. It's immediately clear that she intends to play here. The lights are out, but the room is filled with the glow from more than a dozen candles. The ethereal strains of Enigma fill the air, and she's covered the pristine bedclothes with a dark blue blanket, on which is coiled a length of red velvet rope. Julia's sitting on the edge of the bed, wearing a black bustier that cups her breasts but doesn't cover them, a silk thong, and nothing else.

Shuddering in anticipation, I drop to my knees and crawl to her, pressing my forehead to the floor when I reach her feet.

"That's my good pet," she praises, reaching down and hooking two fingers under my collar. She pulls me up gently, and pats the mattress. "Over my leg, pet."

I comply, bringing my hands together at the small of my back as I rest my shoulders on the bed. Quickly and efficiently, she removes my plug, not taking time to play with me, and I wonder just what exactly she has planned, if she's in such a hurry to get to it. Air rushes from my lungs as her fingers enter me in place of the plug.

"You're nice and soft and open, precious. All ready to be fucked." She bends down to kiss my neck. "Would you like that?"

My response is a squeaky "yes," as a violent shiver goes through me. I can barely wrap my mind around the thought. I get just so far and my body takes over, my ass and my cock aching as I thrust back against her fingers.

"Ah, you're a very eager boy. You're just going to have to wait until I decide the time is right." I can hear the devilish smile in her voice. Her fingers withdraw from me, and the palm of her hand strokes my ass cheek. "This is for me, pet. You don't need to count. I want your ass to be nice and red and hot while we play." Drawing her hand back, she slaps my right cheek, then my left. I groan and try not to squirm as she continues to spank me, stopping at some signal known only to her. She rubs my warm flesh as I breathe hard, trying not to hump her leg to relieve the pressure in my cock.

"You need some help, precious?" she asks. At my nod, she makes me straighten up. Hands still held behind my back, I quiver as she wraps a strip of leather around the base of my cock and balls tightly and fastens it. "That better?"

I nod again. I still have this burning need to come, but at least now I can give in to it with the knowledge I won't climax until she lets me.

"All right, back over my thigh." I do as she says, closing my eyes, trying to relax my muscles for the blow I know is coming. She spanks me again, only this time it's not her hand she uses, but the back of a heavy wooden hairbrush. I press my face into the blanket, breathing through the pain, holding back the tears.

I cry out when she stops; the hurt is always worse when it's over as nerves numbed by the blows come back to life. She bends over me, hugging me, praising me. "It's all right, pet, all right. Come on up on the bed."

Crawling onto the mattress, I curl into a ball against my Mistress, waiting for the pain to pass. She's kissing my ear, the side of my face, her breasts brushing against my back, my shoulder. "So hot, baby, you are so hot...." She turns my head toward her, pressing her lips against mine, her teeth lightly scoring my lower lip, her warm tongue then soothing the slight injury. Her mouth moves down my throat, her tongue washing across the mark she gave me this morning, at Butch's office. I shudder and clutch at her arms.

Her kisses move to my forehead, one hand brushing my hair back from my face. "It's all right, precious. It's okay. I want you to experience everything tonight. But if you feel like I'm taking you some place you don't want to go, you tell me, okay? You use your safe word."

"Okay," I whisper.

She lifts me to a sitting position, leaning me against her. Picking up the velvet rope from the bed, she says, "Give me your hands, pet." I hold them out, wrists together. She wraps the soft cord around them in a figure eight, tying it securely. "Up against the headboard and hands over your head." Again I do as I'm told, and she adjusts my position until I'm reclining comfortably against several pillows. She fastens the rope to the top of the headboard in a familiar quick release knot. Spreading my legs, she then ties my ankles to the foot of the bed. "Comfy, pet?" she asks.

"Yes, Mistress," I respond. She picks up a black scarf that's been covering the nightstand. I see a gleam of metal, and the shine of glass before she moves to block my view.

Carefully folding the scarf, she holds it up. "Will you be okay with being blindfolded? If not, you must keep your eyes shut until I command otherwise."

"I'll be okay, Mistress. And if I'm not, I know how to use my safe word."

"Very good." She positions the cloth over my eyes and ties it behind my head. "That okay, precious?"

"Yes, Mistress, I'm okay."

"Wonderful. I'll finish getting ready and let you anticipate what's to come."

I sink my teeth into my lower lip and try to calm the shivers racing through me. I don't do waiting well. My imagination runs wild. What will she do to me? She said she was going to play with my nipples...A tremor goes from my head to my toes as I remember the clamps she used my second night here. Can I handle a whole night of that kind of intensity?

Fortunately for me, Julia starts slowly. The mattress shifts as she moves to straddle my waist, and I sense her leaning over me. Lips press tenderly against my forehead. Then...nothing. Or so I assume. She's so close the heat of her body radiates against my naked skin, though she's not touching me. Then I feel it, the faint susurration of her breath on my cheek. I shudder, and lose the sensation of warm air. Oh, god, this is so hard. In order to experience it, I have to remain absolutely still, at a time when all my body wants to do is move, is connect with hers in any way that will give me release.

My fingers clench the length of rope going from my wrists to the headboard, and my body rocks against the pillows, then I still. I almost have to hold my breath to keep from moving, but it works. I can once again feel the slight stirring of air over my skin. She's simply exhaling against me, not blowing air. Julia's moving slowly downwards, past my neck to my chest. She pauses at my nipples, breathing first on one, then the other. A whimper escapes me as they slowly contract into tight points, one cell at a time. She continues on, across the tense muscles of my stomach to the rock hard cock rising from my shaved pubic mound, still giving me nothing more than the slow whisper of her breathing.

She breaks her silence then, her words teasing puffs of warmth on my tight balls. "You should see yourself, pet. I've barely started, and you're damn near purple with need. Can you feel how much you're leaking? How wet you are?"

"Please...Mistress..." I can't seem to form anything more coherent.

"Shhh, precious, shhh. All in good time." She moves up over me again, her head dipping, her lips capturing mine, her tongue plundering my mouth. Before I can even return the kiss, she's gone again, and I cry out, my body straining against my bonds.

Julia's fingertips touch my palms, and I quiet in anticipation. I don't have long to wait. Julia runs her fingernails up and down my arms, gently scratching. It's not enough to break the skin, or leave a mark, but it sensitizes my nerve endings, driving me wild. Over my shoulders and across my chest she goes, both hands moving back and forth in short intense strokes, circling my nipples, but not touching them. She presses harder, making blood rush to the slightly damaged tissue, heating it. My back arches of its own volition, and she drags her nails down the taut curve of my stomach. Lightly, lightly over my groin, then one fingernail claws insistently underneath my balls at my perineum.

Too much, too much, too much! Something akin to a shriek erupts from my throat, and my hips thrust blindly into the air as I feel the contractions of orgasm rush through me. But the tight leather cockring around my erection prevents the release I crave. Gasping, I flop back onto the mattress, slowly registering the scrape of Julia's nails along the back of my thigh, behind my knees. I try to calm myself, but it's impossible. I'm hot and raw and quivering uncontrollably. She ends my torture at the soles of my feet, scratching turning to a massage-like rubbing. Then her hands leave me.

", please...don't stop...don't stop...." I gasp hoarsely.

Lips descend on mine, and I taste the cool sweetness of water, making me realize how thirsty I am. She separates from me for a moment, then returns. This time I understand, drinking the water she offers me.

Some of it trickles down my chin, and she gently wipes it away. "Better, precious?"

I nod, swallowing.

"Speak up if you need a drink, pet. We're going to play long and hard, and I don't want you getting dehydrated. You want some more?"

"Yes, please, Mistress." Again the liquid passes from her mouth to mine, and this time I kiss her after I swallow, a shiver running down my spine as her tongue slides over mine.

She breaks away. "Rest for a minute, Blair, while I prepare the next phase of your journey into ecstasy." She's laughing softly as she says the words, and I feel a smile curve my lips as I breathe deeply, trying to relax. It's a difficult thing to do, when my body is on full alert in expectation of whatever she has planned.

Julia paces things exactly. At the moment I finally relax my anticipatory tension, she runs something soft and tickling down my chest. Yelping, I twist away from the fluttering touch.

She just laughs and continues to tease me, brushing her instrument of torment across my skin. After several seconds, I realize it's a feather. She uses it sparingly, and only on the most sensitive areas, the inside of my arms and thighs, the back of my knees, and the soft skin over my pubic bone. Once again, she ignores my painful, straining cock, instead barely stroking the feather against my tight balls. I'm shivering damn near continuously now, all control gone. I'm sobbing and begging. " Please, please Mistress...I need to come so bad...please..."

Her lips press against the point of my hip. "All in good time, my pet, all in good time." The feather disappears, and I hear the clink of something being picked up. "I think having something other than your cock to focus on will help you out." She places her hand on my breast, her fingers rolling my right nipple into a point. Then comes pain, slight at first, slowly increasing. Clamps...she hasn't forgotten her promise to play hard.

I squeeze my eyes shut behind the blindfold, my breath hissing from between pursed lips. She means business. These are the good clamps, the ones with little teeth that mesh together, crushing my tender flesh in between. A second clamp is applied to my left nipple, and I can't help it, I whimper.

"You like that, pet? You look fantastic, all tight and tense, all your muscles quivering, breathing hard, hot and wet...and all mine..." she purrs, her fingers running lightly down my belly as she kisses my chest, just above my tortured nipples. She plays with me, kissing and licking my chest, my face, my stomach, flicking her tongue in and out of my navel, keeping my senses busy.

At the precise point when I can no longer feel the pain of the clamps, simply the pressure, she releases the right one. Latching onto my nipple with her mouth, she sucks hard, forcing blood back into it in a burning rush, sending a lightning bolt of sensation straight to my cock. I scream, bucking and twisting, whacking my head against the headboard.

Immediately, Julia's holding me down, her fingers combing through my hair in search of bruises. "Sorry, sorry. You okay, precious?"

Catching my breath, I nod. "...fine, Mistress...I'm fine."

"You sure?"

"I'm sure, Mistress. Other parts of me hurt far worse than my head does," I hint, hoping for relief.

She kisses my mouth, then says, "Well, I'll have to do something about that, won't I?" Removing the clamp from my left nipple, she slowly licks it, instead of sucking, and the feeling is intense, but pleasurable. "That better, pet?"


She laughs. "I'll take that as a yes." Again she applies the clamps, slowly tightening them until I'm moaning softly. "That's it. That's my good boy."

She leans over me, and I feel the brush of her breast against my cheek. She rubs the soft skin of her nipple over my lips. "Suck on it, sweetheart," she commands, "very gently."

I close my lips over the delicate nub and suckle, stroking her with my tongue.

"Oh, yeah, baby. Just like that. You have such a sweet, wonderful mouth..." She rests her cheek against the top of my head, sighing.

After a few minutes, she moves away, and I whine. She's doing incredible things to me and I want to give her pleasure back, even if it's just a little.

"It's okay, pet," she reassures me. "You're doing great. This one just wants some attention." Her other breast is pressed to my mouth, and moaning, I eagerly suck at the tip. "Oh that's good, baby. You're making me so hot for you, precious. So hot..." Her hands hold my head gently, stroking my hair, and I work harder, feeling her shudder against me. Finally she pulls back, and my lips reluctantly release her breast.

She moves, the mattress shifting as she straddles my stomach. She kisses my cheek, her mouth nibbling along my jaw, then she's biting and sucking at my lips as I writhe underneath her, my swollen cock seeking relief. "Ah, ah, ah," she chides, raising her hips higher and scooting back to sit on my thighs. Her fingers undo the clamps pinching me, and I squeeze my eyes shut behind my blindfold, waiting for the pain I know is coming.

Heat rushes through my chest, turning my nipples into twin points of flame. I grab for the headboard, my shoulders coming off the pillows as I cry out. My cry becomes a scream as hot fire turns freezing cold. Ice! Oh god, oh god!

She holds the ice in place until I collapse back on the bed. Immediately her lips close over my right nipple, sucking gently as her tongue presses against it. After a few seconds, she does the same to my left nipple. When she finally straightens up, I'm gasping, completely limp, save for my rigid cock.

Her fingertips lightly massage my chest as she asks, "How are you doing, precious? Are you thirsty? Is anything too tight?"

"Cock...Mistress..." I whisper.

She runs a finger down my hard member. "Hmm, you're right. That is awfully hot. Maybe I should cool it off."

There's a soft chink, and I feel the cool smoothness of an ice cube being rubbed slowly up and down my erection. "That any better, pet?"

I can only moan and shiver in response. The ice at least is taking the edge off my need, and I feel some of my tension leave me. In a little while, she stops, her finger brushing over the tip of my cock. "Looks like I've made a Blairsicle. Maybe I should have a taste."

Before I fully comprehend her intentions, her soft lips close over the head of my cock, her tongue bathing it in warmth. I moan and whimper. " good, Mistress..."

She teases me for awhile, erasing any calm the ice had provided. She lets the head slip out of her mouth with a quiet pop. "I think I know something else you'd like, pet." Julia kisses my stomach, her hands stroking down my taut thighs. "Think you can hold on some more, or do I need to end this and let you climax?"

I swallow convulsively, and Julia's right there, holding my head up, pressing a cup to my lips. I take a drink, pondering my situation. There's no doubt I hurt. My chest is throbbing, and the pressure in my balls and cock is a steady, unrelenting ache. But it's not so bad that I can't take more. And I need more. I crave Julia's kiss, her touch, her praise, all the pain and pleasure. I want everything she can give me. When she pulls the cup away, I answer, "More, Mistress. Please...more."

She kisses my forehead, then says, "All right, precious, I'll give you more." I feel her moving around, hear her shifting items on the nightstand. "Let's start with a little cold..." Ice is applied to my right nipple. She holds it there until I feel my skin start to numb, saying, "You are so gorgeous, Blair. Your tits are red and swollen, your cock and balls a beautiful magenta. I love hearing you moan, watching you move...I'm going to make you feel so good, baby."

I groan.

"Just like that, precious. First a little ice--" she takes the ice cube away, "--then a little fire."

Heat spatters against my frozen skin and I scream, yanking at the ropes holding me. More hot liquid drips onto my nipple, coating it. It quickly cools, and I realize it's wax from one of the many candles burning in the room. She alternates the ice and the wax on my chest until I'm sobbing and begging her to stop.

"All right, pet, I'll leave your chest alone for a while." She moves down the bed and deliberately mounts my thighs, pinning my hips in place. I go motionless, knowing what's coming, but I can't hold back the howl as she drizzles wax down the shaft of my cock. I buck underneath her, trying to throw her off, but I can't. Her fingers wrap around my erection squeezing tightly. "If you don't hold still, I'll end this right now, and you'll be hard the rest of the night."

The steel in her voice sends a shiver down my spine. For a moment, I forgot my place. Julia is my Mistress, and she is in control here. I cease my struggle.

"That's my good boy," she praises. Her hand still holding me firmly, she begins to slowly drip wax onto my shaved pubic area. Each drop is a burst of intense heat, and she layers the drips until the warmth covers almost the whole of my groin. By that time, I'm used to it, and am rolling my hips, trying to fuck her hand. She reminds me again that she's in control by dropping wax onto my balls. Yelping, I quiver, then try again to hold still. She switches from wax to ice, rubbing it across the tip of my erection, making it nice and cold, and I'm wondering if she's going to take me in her mouth like she did before---

I scream as molten wax hits the sensitive head of my cock, sending me into a convulsive orgasm. Once again the cockring keeps me from ejaculating, making the feeling even more intense. When I finally stop shaking, I feel her untying the ropes around my ankles. "Mistress?"

"Just a little position change, precious, so I can give you what you need. Raise your hips, pet."

I do as I'm told, and she slides a pillow under them, tilting my hips up. I begin to shudder. Rope is wrapped around my thighs, just above my knees, and then she bends my legs toward my chest, spreading them wide, tying the ends of the rope to the headboard. I'm bound securely, unable to move, my ass and genitals presented to her between my open thighs. A whimper escapes my lips.

She runs a hand down the back of my thigh and over my ass. "We've played a long time, pet. All that nice color I gave you has faded. Guess I'll have to bring it back." She slaps my buttocks with her open hand, alternating from side to side until I feel my skin beginning to heat up. She stops and rubs my ass as I sigh. She laughs. "Feels good when it stops, doesn't it?" She runs her hand up my cock. "But spanking sure perks this guy right up."

A moan is my only answer.

"It's okay, precious. I know just what you need, baby, and I'm going to give it to you." Her hands leave me, and I shiver, waiting for their return. I'm not disappointed.

Her latex gloved fingers stroke down the crack of my ass as she rubs a generous amount of lubrication into my anus. If I could move, I would hit the ceiling. A single finger slips inside me, and I sob. "You're still nice and open, baby. I'm not hurting you at all, am I?"

", Mistress..."

I can hear the smile in her voice as she answers. "More? I can do more." A second finger joins the first. She works them in and out, opening and closing them, but never coming near the place I desperately want her to touch. I growl in frustration, unable to move, to thrust against her hand. As if to punish my outburst, her fingers withdraw.

"Nooo..." I whine.

She swats my ass lightly. "Greedy little slut. I think you need to be fucked. What do you think?" Her teeth nip at the back of my thigh.

Any dignity I have left is gone. "Please, Mistress. I need to come, Mistress. Please, please fuck me, please let me come..."

Something solid is pressed against my anus and I tense, suddenly afraid of what I've just begged for. Julia's hands stroke my ass cheeks, spreading them apart as she pushes the thick object into me. I feel myself being stretched almost to the point of pain, and I cry out, then the largest part of it is inside me, and my body clamps down around it.

Julia leans over me, her now bare hands touching my face as she kisses me. Pulling the blindfold away from my eyes, she says, "Look up, precious. See how beautiful you are."

I gaze into her warm eyes for a long moment, then I look past her at the mirrored ceiling. Arms stretched above my head, bent legs spread wide, I'm bathed in the warm yellow candlelight, my skin wet with sweat, my chest coated with dried wax, my engorged cock glistening with my own fluids. Julia kneels between my legs, her hands resting lightly on the back of my thighs, the head of the large dildo she's wearing buried inside me. Gasping, I nearly come at the sight.

She rubs my legs, then leans forward between them, putting her hands on either side of my shoulders. Tilting her head down, she nibbles at my lips, whispering, "Relax for me, precious. Just breathe and relax."

I do as she says, my breath shuddering in and out of my chest. Gravity does the rest, sinking her slowly onto me, into me, until her hips touch mine. So full....oh wonderfully full...I want to tell her how good it feels, but all that comes out is a moan. She smiles and says, "I know, precious, I know." And then her body's moving, a little, then more, and more until I'm being pounded against the headboard of the bed, screaming "Fuck me!"or "Harder!" or maybe it's her name or maybe it's not words at all as she frees my cock. My orgasm hits me like a freight train and everything goes sparkly around the edges, fading away to black....

When consciousness finds me again, Julia is bending over me, untying my hands. My legs are already free, and she's rubbing at the marks the rope left on my wrists. Seeing my eyes open, she asks, "How you doing, precious?"

I open my mouth to answer her, and no sound comes out. Swallowing, I try again. "Okay, Mistress," I croak.

She smiles at me, scraping dried wax off my skin with her fingernails and dropping it in a bowl on the night stand. "Just okay?"

"Blown away, Mistress..."

"Good. That's more of what I had in mind." She kisses my lips softly, then runs a warm washcloth over me, wiping away any remaining wax and bodily fluids. I'm so spent I don't even twitch as she cleans my genitals. I don't resist as she rolls me back and forth to work the blanket she'd covered the sheets with out from under me.

Pulling the covers down, she slips in beside me and tucks the blankets around both of us. I'm a little confused. What was the point of giving me a bed of my own if she's letting me sleep here? "Mistress?"

She curls up next to me, her arm winding around my waist. "Mistress' prerogative, pet." She kisses my cheek, then nuzzles my ear. "Close your eyes and go to sleep. You'll need your strength for tomorrow."

I do as she says, closing my eyes, feeling her spoon up behind me, resting her cheek against the back of my neck. It's a nice, cozy feeling, being held by her. It makes me feel safe and warm and...peaceful. That's something I haven't felt in ages--peace. I like it.

Snuggled up against her, I drift off to sleep.