NeedBy: Sherri Hayes
I want to say thank you to all those who read Slave and loved it. Stephan and Brianna hold a special place in my heart, and I’m so glad you are as captivated by them as I am.
Thank you to all of my Facebook and Twitter followers who I pester with random questions from time to time. You have no idea why I’m asking, but you still chime in anyway.
And a special thank you to AB who stayed up until three o’clock in the morning on Skype with me going over a critical chapter to make sure it was worded just right. You’re help was very much appreciated.
This book is dedicated to all the wonderful people I’ve met so far on this journey. Thank you for all your help and support, and your love of Stephan and Brianna.
I stood, looking at myself in the mirror, the events of last night running through my head. It wouldn’t stop. I couldn’t believe what he’d told me. For nearly a year, I had lived my life as a slave, as someone else’s property. Now I . . . wasn’t?
“I didn’t buy you to own you. Not like you think I did.”
“If . . . if you didn’t want to . . . own me, then why did you . . . why would you buy me?”
“There are people out there who enjoy what Ian does. Alex, for example, but if you weren’t that type of person . . . well, I couldn’t just not do something. I had the means to help you. I couldn’t just walk away, and leave you there, if that wasn’t what you wanted.”
His next words rang in my ears as if he were standing right beside me saying them again. “I was selfish, though. When I brought you into my home, I knew that I wanted to keep you. Not as my slave, Brianna.”
He’d gone on to tell me that he wanted me as his submissive. I’d heard that word before, with some of Ian’s friends, but I didn’t know how it was different from being a slave. He’d said he was different from Ian, but the same. I had so many questions, and yet no idea where to begin.
What did it all mean? Was I no longer his?
I fingered the metal collar still in place around my neck. As he’d held me, I still felt like I was his. There, in his arms, no one could hurt me. I felt safe. Maybe that was stupid, but it was true. The moment I sat down in his lap, his arms came around me, and I instantly felt better. All the uncertainty no longer mattered because he was there.
Nothing could come and take that feeling away. Not even me. He caressed me ever so softly over my arms and back. Every now and then, I’d felt his lips graze my hair or my temple, but he said nothing and neither did I.
From the moment he began explaining to me why he’d bought me from Ian, I knew that I should be asking him questions and demanding answers, but again, I couldn’t. I had thought I would spend the rest of my life owned by someone, to be used and abused as they saw fit. And now . . . I was . . . not.
I clung to his shirt with my right hand while my left lay close to my side. Nothing had felt right in my life for the last eleven months. Not until this.
We’d sat there for a long time, neither speaking, with the television playing in the background. Eventually, Ma . . . Ste . . . Mast . . . he moved to turn it off.
He arose fluidly from his chair with me in his arms, and carried me to my bedroom. It had only made me hold on tighter.
He sat me gently on the bed and began to move away. I wouldn’t let go.
He pried my small fingers from his shirt. “I’m just going to get you a change of clothes, Brianna. I’ll be right back.” I wanted to beg him to stay, but I let him walk away.
Just as he’d promised, he was only gone for a minute. He returned with some clothes, but I didn’t pay much attention to what they were. Gently, he began undressing me.
His movements were unhurried. Never once did he try to do anything. He never had. I’d been in his home for more than a month, and yet he’d never had sex with me.
He scooped me up again in his warm arms and laid me down in my bed. My eyes found his as he hovered over me. They were filled with concern.
He brushed the hair away from my face. “I’ll just be in my room. If you need me or want to talk, come wake me.”
I didn’t respond to his request. He watched me for several more minutes before standing once again to his full height and turning to leave. Again, I wanted to ask him to stay, but I didn’t. Instead, I watched him leave.
I’d lain in bed for hours just thinking until I’d finally drifted off into a fitful sleep. I woke several times during the night. Once, I thought I’d seen him standing in the doorway, but I couldn’t be sure.
Light was streaming in through my bedroom windows, leaking into the bathroom through the open doorway as I continued to look in the mirror. It was after eight; I’d glanced at the clock before getting up. He would have already left for work by now. I had no idea what I was waiting for. The mirror held no answers.